Case Study: Kenya Restaurant Roof Area

This case study is an example of a system created for a restauranteur. As usual, I won’t provide all the information given to the client, but the above illustrates the general scheme for the design.

In this instance, I was approached by a restaurant owner in Mombasa Kenya who was interested in turning a disused area of the roof above his establishment into an area for food production.

The goal was to produce as much food for the restaurant as possible, with minimal outlay and the best possible returns (yields) on investment. For this equatorial city site, the best solution was to create a largely aquaponic system.

Aquaponics systems take a little more effort and outlay initially, but the yields can be high, water use low, and of course, the yield includes fish as well as edible plants. The system is largely a ‘Dutch bucket’ style system (making use of reclaimed food grade plastic buckets, common in the restaurant trade). Vertical pipe aquaponics towers, and wicking beds using traditional growing media above water reservoirs help expand the diversity of the crops that can be grown.

The initial space may not have seemed the most promising for food production, but I hope that this plan illustrates one way in which ‘awkward’ spaces above or behind restaurants might be used for this purpose.

Restaurants that want to boost resilience and become more sustainable should consider trying to grow at least some food on the premises. And it is important to bear in mind that a restaurant can provide interesting resources.

For example, food waste from multiple diners can be utilised in a composting system to reduce waste and return nutrients to growing systems. In this case study, I have suggested a vermicomposting system. This will provide worms for fish, and compost to replenish the wicking beds and non-hydroponic growing areas.

Restaurants also often have food containers that can be reused in a garden design. Using food packaging in garden creation can be another way to reduce waste and cut the costs of creating new food growing areas.

If you have a restaurant and would like to explore ways to grow food on your premises, please do get in touch.

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