On the roof of an office building in the Athenian neighborhood Ampelokipoi, the architect Konstantinos Zarbis has maintained a fully functioning farm for over five years, that no city official or office in the building knew about.
His father developed the 16 story high building in the 70’s. Back then his father already used the cellar of the building to grow mushrooms, and sold them to local restaurants. Today his son is continuing this experiment, growing from the belief that nature and sustainable life deserve a place in the city. And that is happening at the rooftop, where 200 chickens, rabbits, guinea fowls, and goats live amongst vegetables, herbs and orchard with orange-, fig-, and olive trees.
A lot of Konstantinos’ attention is focused on the improvement of the circular city. The animals are fed with food waste from the next-door supermarket, the fifteenth floor is used to produce cheese, and he provides his surroundings with cheese, eggs, meat, and seasonal vegetables. Konstantinos makes sure that his products are free of pesticides and ultrafine particles by testing them on a regular basis. Even water circularity is taken into account: using rainwater for irrigation, and the construction of aquaponics for tilapia fish.
However producing food is not so much about saving money in the crisis-struck Athens. The family first and foremost sees their urban farm as an investment in a sustainable climate, and as an experiment for future development projects. A supernumerary secretary of the family concern was retrained as a cheese producer.