Wheat from Studio Gang’s Rooftop Prairie Harvested in Chicago

Photo: Hannah Hoggatt Photography

August 8, 2016

The Studio’s living roof, a project with Omni Ecosystems, features a variety of native species including wildflowers, shrubs, grasses, and trees. Winter wheat was used as a cover crop to help the prairie propagate, and it flourished into a vast rooftop wheat field.

In collaboration with Omni and its sister entity the Roof Crop, along with Urban Habitat Chicago and Baker Miller, the wheat was harvested by hand, threshed, and milled into more than sixty pounds of high-grade pastry flour—demonstrating that green roofs can support more than just vegetables; they can sustain one of the most important staple foods in the world.

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“With nearly fifty species planted on top of a historic building, our mini prairie functions more as a thriving ecosystem than a green roof, creating food and habitat for birds, butterflies, insects, fungi, and now people.” 

—Jeanne Gang

Photo: Hannah Hoggatt Photography

Photo: Hannah Hoggatt Photography

“For 10,000 years, civilization has been growing wheat, but we’re taking it to new heights; it’s an important advancement in addressing food security issues in urban areas.” 

—Michael Repkin, Ecological Designer for Omni Ecosystems

The wheat was hand-harvested with scissors by Omni Ecosystems and its sister entity the Roof Crop, before it was threshed and winnowed by local after-school program Urban Habitat Chicago, providing a hands-on learning experience for more than 25 students. Photo: Hannah Hoggatt Photography.

Photo: Hannah Hoggatt Photography

Photo: Hannah Hoggatt Photography

Baker Miller ground the grain into high-grade flour used for breads, cookies, and pastries. Photo: Hannah Hoggatt Photography.

Photo: Hannah Hoggatt Photography

About Omni Ecosystems
Omni Ecosystems creates living infrastructure, reconnecting cities with nature and restoring balance within the built environment. We are a turnkey operation designing, manufacturing, installing, and maintaining green roofs and walls that elevate the social, environmental, and financial bottom lines.

About the Roof Crop
The Roof Crop is an Urban Farm with a clear directive: we grow food. On roofs. Using the comprehensive green roof system developed by Omni Ecosystems, the Roof Crop grows clean, responsibly grown produce, and delivers it with minimal environmental impact.

About Baker Miller
Baker Miller is a James Beard Award-nominated bakery and stone mill, turning freshly milled whole grains into creative comfort foods. Find them in Lincoln Park and Ravenswood.

About Urban Habitat Chicago
UHC enables citizens to make direct environmental and social change. We provide hands-on training in environmental issues and urban agriculture through school programs, youth and adult workshops, internships, volunteer days, and presentations at our teaching farm and other sites.