Christina, Katy, and I recently took a trip out to The Sustainable Warehouse to price materials and budget for our rooftop garden. The trip was definitely worthwhile. We not only found many materials we could use for our project, but also learned about what is being done in the community to help make building practices more sustainable. Director of The Sustainable Warehouse, Rebecca, and her team deconstruct old buildings, salvaging materials that can be reused for other projects. Their goal is to relieve the burdens on the landfills. The Sustainable Warehouse is where anybody from a contractor to a student like us can go and “upcycle” materials instead of using additional natural resources for new materials.
Rebecca was very helpful in finding materials to use for our rooftop garden. She has a lot of “garden-grade” wood available that she recommended we use for our raised beds. Right now, this same wood is being upcycled and used in the Chicora Community Garden in North Charleston. We also found several old shelves that might be useful in creating vertical gardens on rooftops such as Liberty Residence Hall. Although not realistic for this particular pilot project, I think something similar to these old shelves would be useful to College of Charleston urban agriculture initiatives in the future. They are built very similar to the vertical wall panels commonly found online, but are by nature much more conducive to our mission of sustainability.