Kids Planting and Harvesting on the Breaking Ground Green Roof!

Kids’ planting day on the Breaking Ground green roof!

This past July, we invited a group of local children to be our “planting partners” on the Breaking Ground Contracting green roof in Jacksonville, FL. They came from as close as the areas of Springfield and Murray Hill, and as far away as Jax Beach.  Nine children joined us, along with Kevin Songer of Metro Verde, to plant some native wildflowers, pick some fruits and vegetables and learn how to grow beautiful native plants on a rooftop, where normally we only see asphalt shingles! The kids  were kind enough to let their parents and grandparents tag along for the event, and the adults got right in on the action helping the children harvest such items as okra, cherry tomatoes, beans, eggplant, flowers and even Hibiscus leaves for making a tea (see Isabel’s video on this blog for the recipe!). As you can see from the video, we all had a great time, and we are so excited that the Breaking Ground green roof was the first experience for all of the kids and adults who came for such a special day to see a lovely, lush and edible garden growing in the middle of an industrial area of Jacksonville, FL.

Parents and kids harvesting beans and flowers on the Breaking Ground green roof

One of the things the kids and adults found to be pretty interesting is the fact that these tall and luscious plants are growing in only about 3 inches of soil! Think about that! This roof has held up amazingly well in the midst of record heat and drought conditions here. We explained to the children that the rooftop plants are watered only through the extra water that comes in the form of condensation from the air conditioning units on the roof, and whatever Mother Nature dumps in the form of rain. This next generation of “sustainability natives” may be facing even more extreme weather conditions than we do currently, so imagine how powerful a message it is that if we plant things that grow naturally and without need for constant water, pesticides and fertilizers, we can protect our environment and natural resources without working so hard at it. These children learned that native grasses and wildflowers have a unique beauty of their own and that these plantings provide such a natural environment for the development of biodiversity even in industrial areas. The bees, dragonflies, Monarch butterfly, lizards and beetles that showed themselves during the kids’ visit were proof enough that if you plant it, they will come! Enjoy the video!

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