B.O.B. Chefs Plant Food in Downtown Grand Rapids, on Vertical Garden
May 30th, 2014|
Remember the “Back to Eden” 2013 ArtPrize entry (which finished in the top 25)? That wall, or rather LiveWall®, has been transformed into an immense vertical urban farm, where 1000s of herbs and vegetables are growing for use at the restaurants within The B.O.B. (Big Old Building).
“During ArtPrize, I used about 1,500 plants, mostly annuals, as I wanted lots of color,” stated Dave MacKenzie, horticulturalist and inventor of the LiveWall system. After a few hard frosts last fall, the annuals were replaced with perennials for winter. Half of those, the ones on the shady side of the building, will remain until ArtPrize this year as MacKenzie is planning another ArtPrize entry. Those others, on the sunny side, have been removed and replaced with herbs and vegetables.
“I’m excited about this,” added Greg Gilmore, partner in The B.O.B. “We expect the LiveWall to produce an ounce of herbs per square foot per week (there are about 500 square feet of herbs), and a whole lot of peppers and tomatoes. We will also have some leafy greens and some carrots, which is pretty amazing. The face of the wall is about 700 square feet total, and we’re expecting a bumper crop that our chefs will use for making seasonings, dressings, salad, and garnishes. It’s going to be interesting, and it’s possible that we’ll produce more than we can use. If that’s the case, we have some charitable organizations in mind for sharing of any extra produce.”
The B.O.B.’s chefs are excited as well. And, they were happy to help with the planting. Head chef Jared Miller is no stranger to gardening, and has been exposed to it at some of the Gilmore Collections’ other restaurants.
“This is the first time we’re growing produce on a wall, and the first time we’re doing it in an urban setting. We use a lot of herbs, a whole lot of peppers and tomatoes, and we always have to watch our budget and look after flavor and freshness. This wall planting takes into account all of that, and at the same time adds greenery and artistry to the facility and to downtown. We’re all very excited about this.”
The B.O.B. will begin using the herbs right away, and the peppers and tomatoes and some of the other vegetable items will come later in the growing season. The LiveWall is located on the north side of the B.O.B., and is easily accessible. To learn more visit The Gilmore Collection.