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Friday 8 September 2023

Bluma Flower Farm

Do you ever walk through a city and think about just what you might see on the roof tops of apartment buildings if you were to look up? You'd likely see a lot of air conditioning units and other electrical equipment. Maybe a furnished roof deck for the tenants to enjoy. But what about a farm?

Ok, that last one sounds a little crazy, right? Well, as crazy as it might sound, there actually is an apartment complex in Berkeley with a farm on top of its roof!

During our recent visit back to California we had the pleasure of visiting Bluma Flower Farm. Usually visiting a farm of any sort requires heading out of the city, but this particular farm is located right in the heart of Downtown Berkeley. Located within easy walking distance of the UC Berkeley campus, Bluma Flower Farm can be found on the roof top of a student housing complex, six stories above the city streets.

It's such an ingenious use of space that would otherwise not be utilized. Let's take a look... 

Founded in 2014 by owner-operator Joanna Letz, Bluma Flower Farm grows a large array of flowers to be sold to local florists, supermarkets and directly to the public. The farm is spread over the various levels of the roof space of the apartment building that it calls home, with some areas more protected from the elements than others. This means that no matter the growing conditions a particular plant requires, there's a space for everything. The garden beds are all relatively shallow (less than a foot deep) but with the mild Berkeley weather and the expert care from Joanna and her team, the farm is thriving.

Tours (both guided and self guided) and u-pick opportunities are available for visitors. I would've loved to have picked some flowers during our visit, but because we were flying back to Colorado the following day we stuck with doing a self guided tour instead. 

My favorite thing about Bluma Flower Farm is the views over Berkeley and beyond that it affords. 
We had pretty similar views over Berkeley and the Bay from our old apartment building's roof deck, so visiting Bluma really felt like coming home - but with beautiful flowers everywhere. Views over the Bay are always wonderful, but the addition of flowers made them even more so. From Bluma we had views over the UC Berkeley campus and its famous Campanile tower, views over the Bay including San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, views over Downtown Berkeley and Oakland, and views of the Berkeley Hills behind us.

As well as spending time on the roof exploring the gardens, we also visited Joanna's studio in the building's basement. Here we got to see where she works on floral arrangements as well as take in the aromas of the flowers in the cool room. Seriously, it smelled so divine in there.

We visited Bluma with my friend Ana who happens to be an artist. Ana brought along her water colors and painted her way through the gardens. You can see some of Ana's quick water color works below. To see more of Ana's work, give her a follow on Instagram.

Bluma Flower Farm is located at 2201 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA.

To book a tour please email info@blumaflowerfarm.com

For workshops and u-pick dates, to place an order or for more information visit https://www.blumaflowerfarm.com/

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