Business

Rooftop farm sprouts in Innovation District

John Stoddard transported produce at Higher Ground Farm, on the roof of the Boston Design Center. The farm aims to supply neighborhood restaurants and markets such as Tavern Road.
John Stoddard transported produce at Higher Ground Farm, on the roof of the Boston Design Center. The farm aims to supply neighborhood restaurants and markets such as Tavern Road.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

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It’s more than an acre of prime real estate on the Boston waterfront, with sweeping city views and a nice, if sometimes strong, sea breeze. But instead of luxury condos, this development has 25 tons of dirt, sprouting tomatoes, basil, and arugula as the city’s first rooftop farm finally takes root.

After three years of planning, the Higher Ground Farm planted its first crop in July atop the Boston Design Center in the city’s shipping terminal in South Boston. For now, farmers Courtney Hennessey and John Stoddard are growing crops on a portion of the roof, using 1,400 milk crates as planters, until next spring, when they expect to have a more developed system that will resemble a long unbroken farm field.

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