Fresh roof-food from urban wastes

February 15, 2007 at 6:23 am 3 comments

Queensland’s future green roof businesses can expect to produce healthy fresh food from recycled organic wastes.

This is the aim of a unique and innovative urban organic waste management pilot project led by Central Queensland University (CQU). It starts this month and will continue over three years.

The pilot project will develop most strongly in the Brisbane-Ipswich urban corridor, and include up to two year’s research at Rockhampton. A $210,000 grant from the Commonwealth Government’s Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) provides the main source of funding.

The remainder will be from the university and from cash or in-kind contributions from companies with a business stake in the waste management and food production technology to be developed.

Research and demonstrations will be aimed at:

• Extracting plant nutrients from urban organic wastes via vermiculture for production of vegetables via organic hydroponics, some on rooftops, and sustaining aquaculture through the feeding of worms from the vermiculture.

• Using aquaponics technology in which fish wastes are subsequently used to complement rooftop organic hydroponics using worm liquor.

• Developing business models, plus training and operational manuals, for an urban rooftop microfarm concept that can be repeated for innovative waste management and employment in most shopping strips or shopping malls, isolated communities and mine-sites.

The initiative is believed to be the first globally-important project of its kind.
It is part of the expanding green roof movement now coming to Australia from Europe and North America.

But the pilot project is expected to provide leadership for Australia in “food from the roof” aspects of green roof technology.

Other community benefits of the project will include:

• Reduction of methane pollution from landfill as organic wastes are diverted into recycling into fresh food.
• Provision of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, fish and crustaceans around or above retail food stores, restaurants, cafes and food service facilities, and at rural schools and other isolated institutional organisations.
• Reduction of urban air pollution by diesel transport – because fresh food will be created where it is consumed…

The aim is to recycle organic wastes into healthy fresh food within half a kilometre of where such wastes are generated.

The CQU pilot project is the outcome from urban rooftop business development studies by the Brisbane’s Southside Chamber of Commerce in 1999, funded by a $20,000 grant by the Commonwealth Government.

CQU Scholarships are available for students to undertake post-graduate research on various aspects of the pilot project. Project leader is CQU’s Professor David Midmore, while project manager is Dr Brett Roe. Geoff Wilson, president of Green Roofs for Healthy Australian Cities, is the third member of the pilot project group.

The two-day Green Roofs for Australia event on February 22 and 23 at the Brisbane Technology Park, Miles Platting Road, Eight Mile Plains, will have a session of “Food from the roof” at which the CQU project and its green roof business opportunities will be outlined by the project group.

FURTHER INFORMATION ON SCHOLARSHIPS: Inquires should be directed to Professor David Midmore, Foundation Professor of Plant Sciences, School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton , Queensland 4702. Phone: 074930 9770; Email: Website::


Entry filed under: food from the roof, green roofs, Queensland, urban ag economy, urban food production.

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