Urban farms growing on Fort Lauderdale roofs

Fort Lauderdale Vegetable LLC operates 2 farms

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A former architect is turning plots of land on top of buildings and along city streets in Fort Lauderdale into farms.

Michael Madfis got into urban farming when a genetic disease began robbing him of his eyesight.

"Part of the progression of urban farming is eventually doing a roof," he said.

A growing trend, urban farming uses small plots of land to grow produce near the people who buy and eat it.

"All I need is a little hand shovel, a little pair of hand scissors, a little clipper, and I can do all the work I need," said Madfis.

Madfis' goal is to reach customers directly from his urban farm by picking vegetables that day without refrigerating them.

"Ninety-eight percent of the cost of food is pretty much handling, transportation, and storage," he said. "That means I can pay myself a little bit more money and I can sell the food at much more reasonable prices."

Madfis operates Fort Lauderdale Vegetables LLC and has two farms: one on North Andrews Avenue and another on top of the 110 Tower. He designed the farms to use less water with high crop yields.

"We just thought it was a wonderful thing to offer him the seventh floor patio space because we weren't utilizing it and what better way to utilize it then with this farm," said Dannean Malave with Transwestern Management Co.

Madfis grows kale, okra, collard greens, eggplants, peppers, and more.

"I know I get quality food that hasn't been sitting in a shipping crate for days on end and was picked too early," said Kathleen Dellafera, a customer.

"I usually eat half of it in the car before I get home because it does not even need to be cooked," added Teri Goldsmith.

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