DENVER — There’s a parking structure on Market and 14th streets that has cars on every floor except the sixth.
That’s saved for something much different: A rooftop garden project called “Larimer Uprooted”.
The City of Denver passed an ordinance about a year ago requiring new structures over 25,000 square feet to be built sustainably. There are several options to meet the standard, and one of them is to grow a rooftop garden.
“[This project] is a soil-based system,” Lilly Hancock said. She’s a plant and soil scientist and ecological designer for Bio-Logical Capital. “We are actually pulling CO2 from the atmosphere into the soil and helping to sequester some carbon.”
That’s just one benefit.
Hancock said rooftop gardens helps decrease temperatures, gives rainwater a place to go (instead of flooding the streets), and provides pollinators a new place to hang out. They can also bring people closer to what they eat.
“I’m from New York City and grew up very removed from my food system,” farm manager for Bio-Logical Capital Mike Spade said. “I think being able to bring these tangible connections in these dense urban areas is very important. Not only for today but for moving forward as a society.”
Building and maintaining a rooftop garden isn’t necessarily easy, especially on a structure like a parking garage that wasn’t meant to hold the weight of soil beds and trees.
It’s doing fine with 40 beds, filled with all sorts of vegetables and perennials.
McCargo is planning to build future structures in Larimer Square so they can sustain even more weight.
“These lessons learned will actually allow us to expand this so future roofs will be 100% covered with something growing.”
The City said that so far, they’ve issued 30 permits for developers, some for gardens, others for solar panels and green building designs. Fifty more projects are currently waiting for approval.
The Larimer Uprooted project is free and open to the public, and you can take tours until the end of October.
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