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Rooftop farmer Kathleen O’Keefe’s Washington D.C. Dream Day

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Kathleen O’Keefe co-founded Up Top Acres to bring rooftop farming to D.C. (Leah Beilhart/Lauren Beilhart)

Up Top Acres, which now has about 2 acres of farmland spread across 10 D.C.-area rooftops.


As a kid growing up in D.C., Kathleen O’Keefe didn’t know much about gardening. “My mom grew aloe and that was pretty much it,” she says. But when she saw her first rooftop farm in Brooklyn, during a 2013 trip to New York, something clicked. “I took a picture and put it on Instagram and tagged my friend Kris [Grina] and was like, ‘You want to do this?’” she recalls. Thus was born Up Top Acres, which now has about 2 acres of farmland spread across 10 D.C.-area rooftops.

The business’s produce never travels far — most is carried by hand or bike to its final destination: nearby restaurants and regular folks with farm-share subscriptions. It was a great feat of imagination for O’Keefe, 28, to picture having an entire day off from work — but once she got going on her dream day, she came up with plenty of ways to get off the farm.

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