Step up on Vine, a Platinum LEED-certified, 34-room permanent housing facility for the homeless featuring an expansive Future Growing® rooftop aeroponic farm, is the result of a $12 million renovation of an abandoned hotel in Hollywood.
I firmly believe that the homeless should have access to the same quality nutrition and food that everyone else has access to, and this ground-breaking new facility does just that. For 25 years, the Step Up on Second organization has provided psychosocial rehabilitation and support, including permanent supportive housing, to people affected by severe and persistent mental illness in the Los Angeles area.
The Step Up Foundation, led by president and CEO Tod Lipka, decided to support the city’s homeless even further by adding a Future Growing® rooftop farm, which provides a year-round supply of fresh, chemical-free lettuce, fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the rooftop. You cannot get fresh, sustainable produce that is more local than produce that was picked a few feet from your apartment! Importantly, the farm is also providing vocational training and horticultural therapy for the homeless.
The vertical aeroponic Tower Garden® farm allows for a huge amount of produce to be grown in a small footprint, while still providing room for a peaceful and healing sanctuary for the building’s tenants in the middle of a busy metropolitan environment. The rooftop farm significantly reduces the carbon footprint of food and contributes to the building’s LEED points by using up to 95% less water, 90% less space, and safe food-grade growing materials.
As a member of the Clinton Global Initiative Call to Action, we are excited to share that the Clinton Global Initiative, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation, Step Up Foundation, and many other contributors have taken this multi-year project to reality. A special thanks to Aileen Getty and the Getty Foundation for her vision and passion for extraordinary health, which made this opportunity possible. I would also like to thank Tod Lipka and the entire team at the Step Up Foundation for their tireless efforts paving new territory in developing a local food program for their homeless housing.
After former President Bill Clinton visited the rootop Tower Garden® farm during Step up On Vine’s grand opening, he said, “It’s just a blessing to me that my friends…wanted this to be a LEED certified building. And when I was going through it, Rick Fedrizzi, the head of the National Green Building Council, looked at me and said, it’s not just LEED, its ‘Platinum’ LEED. That’s the highest rating you can gain. It’s good for the Los Angeles economy and it is good for lowering your long-term energy burden.”
In addition, President Clinton was very impressed with the Future Growing vertical aeroponic farming technology. “I went up on the roof and saw the garden. I was eating out of the garden, sort of like a rabbit. It’s the way it is—you grow up in the country, you’re used to eating out of the ground, and you do it when you can! It’s really wonderful,” he said.
Future Growing® is honored to be a part of this magnificent project that not only impacts the lives as the homeless in Los Angeles, but all those who visit and work at Step Up on Vine. To support this great organization, visit http://www.stepuponsecond.org/index.html.
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC