UDC Green Roof


Food-Producing Green Roof Inaugurated by the University of the District of Columbia

A ribbon-cutting for the green roof will be held on July 9

Welcome to our living laboratory. The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences is charged with fulfilling the University’s landgrant mission– teaching research based education to the community—but with an urban perspective. The University of the District of Columbia is the only exclusively urban landgrant in the nation, making our charge unique.

In 2015, the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences of the University of the District of Columbia inaugurated a 40,000 square foot green roof on top of Building 44 on the Van Ness campus. Green roofs promote energy efficiency, helping to cool buildings and reduce stormwater runoff. What makes our green roof unique is that it is food-producing, virtually a miniature version of the 143-acre UDC Research Farm in Beltsville, Maryland. As the world’s population increases and people continue to leave rural life for city life, it is of utmost importance to meet the needs of urban areas. Many of the urban food production techniques taught at the farm as part of our Sustainable Agriculture Certificate Program are replicated on the roof.

Also a showcase for green infrastructure, a stormwater harvesting system has been installed to collect rainwater in two 500-gallon cisterns. The system is designed to capture water which is then circulated through hoses embedded throughout the rooftop, embedded in the plant boxes and beds. Research will also be performed on the use of low-impact development technology and its energy and environmental impact on the University’s campus. In addition to the outside green space, the roof includes a greenhouse and classroom for research purposes.

Tours are available by appointment only. Contact Dr. Lorraine Weller Clarke, Project Specialist in Urban Agriculture, or Sandy Farber, Greenhouse/Green Roof Manager, DC Master Gardener Coordinator, for a tour of the green roof facility.