By Patty Wetli
LINCOLN SQUARE — When it comes to sustainability, Studio Gang, the architecture firm founded by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, practices what it preaches, sometimes with unexpected results.
When the firm moved into new digs in Noble Square, occupying a landmarked building that once housed the Polish National Alliance, renovation plans called for a rooftop garden.
What Studio Gang wound up with was an accidental farm.
The original garden design specified a wildflower meadow, teeming with natives like black-eyed susan, milkweed, butterfly weed and other plants that attract and nourish pollinators, according to Schuyler Smith, Studio Gang shop co-leader.
Hired to install the garden, Omni Ecosystems seeded the wildflower mix in fall 2015 — a late start for sowing, said Molly Meyer, Omni's founder and CEO.
"We knew it would be a mixed bag for establishment, so we threw down this annual that would get us through the winter," Meyer said.
That afterthought annual was a hardy winter wheat, a fast grower capable of putting down roots and holding Omni's proprietary soil substitute in place until spring.
"As it turned out, the wheat did really well," Meyer said.
"We were a little bit surprised at how beautiful it was and how abundant it was," Smith said.
Rather than let the accidental wheat crop go to waste, Omni turned to its sister company, The Roof Crop, to harvest the grain.
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