Eric Abramson is a senior at The George Washington University studying economics and sustainability. Eric heard of Planet Forward’s Storyfest 2016 contest during a presentation during his class by Taylor Cook, the outreach coordinator for Planet Forward. For his submission, Eric created a story map about urban rooftop farming.
We asked him a few questions to learn more about his entry.
Q: Describe rooftop farming.
A: Rooftop farming is exactly what it sounds like, it is using roof space as a farm to grow food that sustains people!
Q: What was the process behind creating your submission? Why did you choose to communicate your innovation through this “story map” format?
A: The process behind my submission was trying to figure out a way that concisely conveyed what rooftop farming is, how it works and the benefits of it. I wanted to present this material in a somewhat unique way, which led me to the story map. ESRI Story Map is a wonderful application that is intended to show an interactive map on the "Main Stage" and supplemental text. (While) I didn't have time to build a map... I still thought that using the application with pictures would provide an interactive and educational experience presented in a unique manner.
Q: Why is this innovation so important to you? Why do you think it is one of the most essential methods to help sustainable cities?
A: Rooftop farming is an important innovation to me for many different reasons. For starters, it is an extremely equitable innovation that has the ability to provide healthy nutritious food to people (who) aren't fortunate enough to be born near a supermarket. While achieving this noble feat, it still manages to reduce water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while making money for rooftop farmers. Some would call this the "triple bottom line," but rooftop farming also represents so much more than that. Rooftop farming has the ability to make urbanites rethink their food systems and their relationship with the environment, which I think has the ability to cause a radical shift in how people operate. The overall goal of sustainability is to be in a closed-loop system, and I think rooftop farming not only represents that but also has the ability, through food, to make people really adjust how they think/behave and reverse the damage caused to the environment.
(Editor's note: Answers edited for grammar and spelling.)