Higher Ground Farm

idea by Higher Ground Farm

Applicant Name

First and Last Name:

John Stoddard




What inspired your idea?


We (founders, John & Courtney) are inspired by the urban agriculture movement that is growing across the country, and the pioneering rooftop farmers who have begun paving the path in this industry. As long-time food lovers and sustainable food proponents with shared experience as farmers, restaurant employees, and advocates, we know we have the knowledge and connections to make our vision a reality. We especially enjoy inspiring others with prospect of our roof farm! Growing food and building community in underutilized urban space, while providing multiple environmental benefits! Win, win, win

What’s your social impact business idea?


We aim to be the first commercial rooftop farm in Boston, MA. We will organically grow fruits & vegetables on a 55,000 square foot roof, offering edible and educational evidence that local food systems lead to healthy communities. We will provide produce to community members through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, to underserved populations through a non-profit partnership, and to Boston restaurants. As a green roof farm, we offer environmental benefits in addition to those of ground-level urban farms, including: lowering the building’s energy usage; absorbing atmospheric CO2; adding pervious surface area to absorb storm water; adding habitat; and reducing black (heat-absorbing) surface area, which mitigates the urban heat island effect.

What is your impact and how is it relevant to the business?


Our impact is the essence of our business. We increase access to fresh, healthy food for urban residents while also teaching them about urban and rooftop farming. We are planning tours and classes on farming, green roofs, cooking, and preserving food. Our farm also reduces the effects of many urban environmental problems. Our green roof farm lowers energy usage through its insulating and evapotranspirative properties, while absorbing atmospheric carbon. Our farm will also retain stormwater, reducing combined sewer overflows, and it adds green space, reducing the urban heat island effect. As our business and acreage grows we’ll have a greater impact, while also providing green jobs.

How will you establish sustainable impact in the locations you wish to serve?


We are stepping up to be a leader in urban and rooftop agriculture, helping the sector blossom locally through our produce distribution, educational programming, and a research partnership and information exchange with Tufts University. Our business model involves knitting ourselves into the community fabric, partnering with chefs, neighbors, and aspiring farmers looking to connect to the food system in meaningful ways. Over the next decade as we grow our business from 1 to 10 rooftop acres, improve our growing process, and establish lasting relationships, we'll directly impact local food security with our produce and trainings.

What does success look like, including measurements and reporting on the business and your impact?


We'll track multiple measures of success. First and foremost is economic viability. We project that cash from our activities will sustain operations and allow for expansion, following a business model we've developed with roof farmers and financial planners. A second, yet related, success measure is our customer's happiness, tracked and measured as repeat customers over time. Finally, we'll measure our community impact by engaging with Tufts researchers to determine the stormwater we absorb, the energy we save our building, and the pounds of food we're able to provide. Reporting will be continuous, through our social media accounts and website.

What would $50,000 mean for your business? And how will it help your company better reach its goals?


The installation of cutting-edge agricultural green roof technology constitutes our largest expense. As a farm with a small return on investment, we are first pursuing sources such as crowdfunding and this to build our financial foundation, instead of seeking only traditional business investors and lenders. This $50,000 represents about 1/5 of our start-up costs. Having this piece secured will help us to install the farm, set up relationships with vendors, and attract additional funders, lenders and investors who want to see a certain threshold of capital raised before they buy in.

1 Pink-talk-bubble-tail

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This is amazing! I think your farm is going to help increase demand for local food, in Boston where you're doing this and other cities. Good luck!

by Ali_Kruger
over 2 years ago | Reply

Circle-1-inactive Step1-title-idea-inactive

Submission Began
Monday, April 22

Submission Ended
Friday, May 17
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-2-inactive Step2-title-voting-inactive

Voting Began
Friday, May 31

Voting Ended
Friday, June 14
at 12:00 PM PDT

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, July 02

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