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Roof of Auto Mart USA tranformed into veggie garden

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Tufts of salad greens will soon be sprouting from a Kakaako rooftop garden in what supporters hope will launch a wave of urban farming in Honolulu.

The rooftop vegetable patch unveiled today on the 38,000-square-foot roof of Auto Mart USA at 604 Ala Moana Blvd. will eventually supply the community, retailers and local chefs with an assortment of kale, arugula and mustard greens.

But more than that, the project’s supporters hope the concept will spread throughout urban Honolulu and help Hawaii take another step toward food self sufficiency.

Waimanalo based FarmRoof, founded by local entrepreneur Alan Joaquin, will operate the certified organic garden using proprietary technology developed by the company. FarmRoof is subleasing the rooftop space from Auto Mart USA. Kamehameha Schools, which owns the Kakaako parcel, brokered the deal.

The first crop is expected to be ready for harvest in about a month. The public can sign up to receive a delivery of the greens at www.farmroof.com.

“Today we are planting the seeds of a new Hawaii,” Joaquin said at a dedication ceremony for the garden.

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