For the past eleven years, Fordham’s Jesuit community has been at the forefront of the urban gardening movement. The community has a sizable and flourishing garden on the rooftop of their Rose Hill residence. Each year, under the supervision of Father Nicholas Lombardi, S.J., Ph.D., the community enjoys an array of fresh produce – tomatoes, Sicilian eggplant, peppers, romanesca, cucumbers, strawberries, melon and some petunias and colius.
Father Lombardi began gardening as a child in Queens, and today grows all of the fruits and vegetables from seed. He starts the plants in pots in early spring, and transfers the seedlings after the last frost.
Despite the Northeast blight on tomatoes and potatoes, Father Lombardi says the Jesuits’ community garden is doing well. By the end of growing season, he expects to have harvested close to 150 pounds of tomatoes.
“We ought to move to rooftop farming in all our cities,” says Father Lombardi (pictured above). “Otherwise it’s wasted space.”