On Mexico City’s flat roofs, tiny gardens help feed families, provide an urban respite
Mexico City has advantages. Residents can tend gardens 12 months out of the year, and a generous four-month rainy season lessens pressure on water resources.
By Tim Johnson
Oct 19, 2012
MEXICO CITY — Climb to a rooftop and scan the horizon of this metropolis, and you’re likely to see nearby rooftops or balconies with vegetable gardens.
Urban rooftop gardening is on the cusp of a boom here, sponsored by a City Hall that sees gardening as a way to alleviate poverty, provide residents with their own healthy food and add some green to one of the world’s most populous cities.
In a program begun five years ago, Mexico City’s municipal government has given grants to 3,080 families to build gardens on their rooftops, sometimes sheltered by simple greenhouses to protect from nightly mountain chill and occasional hail. Many more families have attended urban gardening classes and struck out on their own to grow tomatoes, lettuce, chilies, scallions, guava, passion fruit and other edibles.
“There wasn’t anything up here before,” Sergio Hernandez Rodriguez said from his rooftop in the Coyoacan district, where 2-foot-tall garden beds now display an array of corn, celery and chilies alongside aromatic herbs and lavender.