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food / travel

Urban Farms, Supersized. Largest Ever Rooftop Garden To Be Big As Football Field

A trio of German entrepreneurs is hoping to convert an old industrial building in Berlin into the world's largest rooftop farm. Plans for the self-sustaining organic spread, which should be up and running by 2013, include a fertilizing fish farm

Rooftop city farming is growing more and more popular
Rooftop city farming is growing more and more popular


BERLIN - If all goes as planned, a sprawling organic farm will soon be up and running a stone's throw away from a six-lane autobahn in Berlin's Südkreuz industrial zone.

By spring 2013, tons of lettuce, kohlrabi (a variety of cabbage), tomatoes and herbs are expected to be growing under protective glass roofing – on a city rooftop, some 7,000 square meters of it, an area as big as a soccer field. And in the building underneath, say the three 30-something Berliners behind the ambitious project, there will also be an aquaponic fish farm.

"The beauty of our plan is it's self-sufficient. Only fish food has to be brought in from the outside," says Nicolas Leschke, one of the three entrepreneurs. Water containing excretions from fish bred in large tubs will fertilize the produce, leaving clean water to flow through the closed water circuit back to the fish.

"Our intention is for this to be the biggest roof farm in the world," Leschke adds. He and his partners are part of a small but growing international urban farming movement. "It's ridiculous to continue growing produce only in the countryside that then has to be trucked to cities," says project partner Christian Echternacht.

"All the resources we need are available through renewable energy and rainwater collection," says third partner Karoline von Böckel, who is responsible for ensuring the project's optimum sustainability. Farm production will be sold on site and in stores in the immediate vicinity, she says.

In cooperation with the Berlin Institute of Technology, the three young Berliners are presently fine tuning their feasibility study. The project will cost 5 million euros, and investors are being sought. Even if they don't find any, says Leschke, "nobody's going to stop us. 2012 is the International Year of Sustainable Energy For All and there will be plenty of support programs for pioneers like us."

Read the full original article in German by Julia Becker

Photo - New Brunswick Tourisme | Tourisme Nouveau-Brunswick

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

photo of a kid running out of a church

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas, This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

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