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Berkeley sprouts creative housing, topped by a working farm

The rooftops at the Garden Village modular apartment complex on Dwight Way in Berkeley are under cultivation. Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle.

In all, one-third of an acre of “land” is available for farming.

By John King
San Francisco Chronicle
December 24, 2016
(Must see. Mike)


Two of the interior pods stop at three levels and are topped by communal terraces that get use throughout the day when studies and weather allow. One more level up, you encounter the startling contrast of panoramic views — and a dissected farm where you can touch the ground or snip off a sprig of parsley.

This time of year, between harvests, some pods show nothing but dirt. Others are softened by abundant mounds of green parsley and purple kale. One roof is dotted with red radishes waiting to be picked.

In all, one-third of an acre of “land” is available for farming. The lead gardener is Benjamin Fahrer of Top Leaf Farms, whose clients include such restaurants as Pizzaiolo in Oakland and Gather in Berkeley.

Saitowitz doesn’t take credit for the ongoing harvest, which is part of an overall sustainable design strategy that was part of the community benefits package. But it’s exhilarating — and because of the multitiered layout, it’s a part of the ongoing scene much more so than if it were out of sight and out of mind.

Read the complete article here.