Rooftop gardens would be beneficial in Concord

Given our limited options during the coronavirus pandemic, my family and I have focused on new routines and activities.

We don’t have the usual sports, entertainment venues and other social activities we’re accustomed to. So we’ve turned our attention back to the basics. In many respects, it’s provided an opportunity to focus on health, exercise and other positive aspects of life. Things that don’t always get the attention they deserve during our fast-paced days.

I know a lot of folks are turning to home gardening. Some are doing it because they experienced shortages in the produce department, some for the health reason of avoiding the grocery store as much as possible, some are picking up a new hobby and some are polishing their green thumbs.

My family is fortunate to have a couple garden beds. This year, they have produced the most robust vegetables we’ve ever had because my son Logan, daughter Nora and I were able to take extra time to amend the soil. If I’m being honest, I did most of the work while the kids stockpiled a small colony of worms they found. They got their hands dirty, helped as they could and undoubtedly created some good memories along the way.

I recently learned about a proposed project making its way through the Concord review process. The project would have a rooftop deck to accommodate a community garden, with vertical “grow towers” for residents to plant their own gardens. I haven’t reviewed the project merits, and I have no information or opinion on whether it confirms to our development code. However, I was thrilled to hear rooftop gardens may be coming to Concord.

I’m a big believer in rooftop vegetation as it helps insulate the building, which translates to lower energy consumption, improved stormwater management and other benefits. It’s even better when that roof can also provide local, organic produce.

Stress testing

Rooftop gardens would be beneficial in Concord
Rooftop garden in Singapore (Photo by Chuttersnap on

The pandemic is stress testing many aspects of society, from health care to the food supply chain. At times, I’ve been to the grocery store and found the produce section nearly empty – with little reassurance as to when I would see tomatoes or broccoli again.

Because of the garden, my family has been less dependent on the food supply chain this year. But if we lived downtown in a multi-family building or another dense urban environment, where bare land is scarce, what could we do? Aside from maybe a few potted plants, we wouldn’t have many options. However, if the building we lived in provided rooftop garden space, we’d be set.

We all search for slivers of sunshine during these times. But I’m hoping that one of the positive outcomes spurred by the pandemic is many more rooftop farms coming to our cities.

Jason Laub is Chief Operating Officer at RAD Urban and is a City of Concord Planning Commissioner. Email questions or comments to