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Uncommon Ground

Helen and Mike Cameron, the owners of Uncommon Ground at 1401 W. Devon Ave. in Chicago, have converted the roof of their Rogers Park restaurant into a 2,500-square-foot working farm, which includes five solar panels that heat up to 70% of the water used in the restaurant.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

The produce grown by the Camerons on their rooftop organic farm is used in the restaurant below and includes nardello peppers and black prince tomatoes. Here, they sample their purple-podded Blauschokker peas.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

The rooftop organic farm includes 28 raised-bed planter boxes that hold a total of 640 sqaure feet of soil'nearly six tons'and includes a drip irrigation system.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

In addition to produce, Uncommon Ground produces honey on site. Helen Cameron has taken on the role of resident beekeeper and tends to the rooftop hives.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

In 2008, the Camerons produced 40 pounds of honey. They hope to increase production to as much as 100 pounds in 2009, assuming weather conditions remain favorable for the bees throughout the year.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

A section of the roof is reserved for the four hives, each of which contain anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 bees.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

Mayor Richard M. Daley was on hand to dedicate the Uncommon Ground rooftop farm on July 11.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

The Midwest Organic Services Assn. designated the farm organic, making it the first certified rooftop farm in the United States.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

Helen Cameron speaks at the dedication of the rooftop organic farm at Uncommon Ground on July 11. The farm, which opened in July 2008 and took about six months to complete, is the first of its kind in the nation.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

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8 = Uncommon Ground - Photo Galleries - Crain's Chicago Business