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Look up - it's the urban farmers who are working the land on a city rooftop

DUBLIN's inner city is going green with its first urban rooftop farm.

Paddy O'Kearney (28) from Dun Laoghaire and Andrew Douglas (39) from Bray met for the first time around a year ago, and decided to join forces to realise a shared dream.

They have brought their ideas to fruition with the development of the city's first rooftop farm on the Chocolate Factory – the former Williams & Woods Building on Kings Inn Street.

Their efforts in getting the project up and running are featured in RTE's Local Heroes programme tonight, which is presented by Joe Duffy.

The series features individuals and groups from around the country who are doing something visionary to create jobs in their local communities.



Tonight's show will reveal the mammoth efforts that went into establishing the urban farm, including the delivery of about 15 tonnes of soil, and it reveals how a space can be converted into one that benefits the community.

Paddy told the Herald the rooftop space proved an ideal location for the urban farm. "It's about 400 square metres – it's a huge rooftop," he said.

Apart from a wide variety of potatoes, it also has chickens, and Paddy said they hoped to add bees at a later stage. They also grow a broad range of fruit, vegetables and herbs.



Paddy, whose background is in art and sculpture, said making the farm a success means he will be able to remain in Ireland.

"We've received help from volunteers, and there has been a core team of four or five of us working on it."

Meanwhile, getting local businesses, including restaurants, to buy from them is another ambition of the green-fingered duo. Another is providing workshops that teach responsible food production, observing organic and pesticide-free practices.

Joe Duffy said: "In the midst of all the doom and gloom, it's fantastic to see people showing real leadership in their communities."

The programme will be broadcast tonight at 8.30pm on RTE One.