ØsterGRO roof top farm {from the archives}

From an unassuming courtyard behind a former car auction house a slightly scary metal staircase on the side of the building leads five flights up to ØsterGRO, a 600m sq organic roof farm. The farm is the brainchild of three people, Kristian, Livia and Sofia, whose interest in urban farming and gardening led them to set up ØsterGRO. They took inspiration from their own experiences but also established roof farms such as Brooklyn Grange Farm, which all three have visited. Various raised beds, a green house, chicken coop and beehives make up the farm and when I visited last month the crops were already looking splendid.

The farm was set up with funding and is now looking to become self-sufficient. Kristian explained to me that whilst sustainability is important it must be economically viable to have a future. Many similar projects with terrific intentions don’t make it as they need money to sustain them not just volunteers.DSC00837There are currently 40 members who pay 3000kr for year to be able to enjoy the harvest from the farm and also an army of volunteers who help keep it going. Volunteering is still something of a new concept in Denmark but ØsterGRO has attracted a large number of volunteers from the local area.DSC00855Another way the farm is looking at being economically viable is by hosting a weekly restaurant in the greenhouse. After the success of a one off harvest meal, the greenhouse is now taken over by chef Flemming Schiøtt Hansen and his wife, Mette Helbæk, a food writer, for an informal restaurant, Stedsans på ØsterGRO. It is open Thursday to Sunday (from May until September) with two sittings (5.45pm and 8.15pm) and you can enjoy six courses of delicious simple and seasonal food served family style on the long trestle table in the greenhouse, many of the ingredients from the roof farm itself – probably some of the shortest food miles ever!DSC00832For more information about ØsterGRO and how to get involved click here and to book a place at Stedsans click here (be fast on this one as it books up quickly once new booking slots are available, it is currently fully booked for July and August so you may need to wait until next year.) This is a great review here (in Danish).DSC00853

{Originally posted July 2 2015}

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