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Vegetables: The New Way To Diversify Property Income

Dr Andrew Jenkins among the rooftop salads

Manchester's city centre rooftops could become a new market garden, a Belfast-based academic is claiming.

Experiments by Andrew Jenkins and Manchester developer Urban Splash have revealed that city centre buildings could be turned into a market garden producing up to 180 million packs of salad a year, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Crops could include lettuces, Swiss chard, chillies, courgettes and even strawberries.

Crops would be grown via aquaponics — using live fish to provide nutrients to help plants grow — and hydroponics, which relies on water alone.

A pilot project at Urban Splash's Irwell House, Blackfriars, Salford, demonstrated it could work. Now the team has looked at how to scale it up.

Jenkins calculated the total surface area of the city’s big buildings is 1,100 acres, of which 890 acres could be used for growing. If it was all used, that would produce millions of servings of vegetables.