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And the award goes to...

Recover Green Roofs and Omni Ecosystems have proved a winning combination— literally. Our collaborative green roof project for Harvard Business School was awarded Waterproofing Project of the Year from renowned industrial supplier, Sika. 

The award-winning roof marks Omni's first installation on the East Coast. Big thanks to Recover Green Roofs—an Omni certified supplier—for installing our system so beautifully! 

Project description from Sika:

"Recently, some of the brightest minds in the country turned to the brightest minds in roofing. When Harvard Business School wanted to replace a small, existing green roof with an intensive system covering 11,000-square feet, they looked to Recover Green Roofs of Somerville, Mass., for the answer.

Recover connected with Omni Ecosystems to become the Northeast’s first certified installer of their comprehensive green roof system. After Sarnafil G 410 membrane was installed, Recover put down Omni's ultra-light soil blend that grows a diverse variety of native species, which mimic the natural cycle of a meadow and self-regenerate with each season. This project is a living example of what is possible in sustainable roofing in an urban environment."  

Check out other winners here: http://usa.sarnafil.sika.com/en/group/literature/what-new/project_of_the_year_winners/2016-project-of-the-year.html

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Molly Meyer joins Openlands Board of Directors

Omni Ecosystems CEO Molly Meyer recently joined the Board of Directors at Openlands, a municipal conservation organization serving northeastern Illinois.

Since its creation in 1963, Openlands has preserved more than 55,000 acres of natural and open space to ensure cleaner air and water and protect natural habitats and wildlife.

 

Read Molly's comments in the organization's publication, Openlander, below. 

"Nature is important to me as a place for getting centered, for reconnecting with who I am and with what I care about," says Molly. "In nature, I am able to quiet my mind, and yet I'm able to connect with other people. Those two sides of the experience are important: nature is where I can recharge alone or where we can commune together.
"I love experiencing nature in Chicago atop the green rooftops my company Omni Ecosystems creates. We create verdant ecosystems where you feel like you are walking through a meadow or a prairie, but really you are a few stories up (or many stories!) on a green roof. We also create agricultural roofs where you can pick and eat a tomato or a pepper or some kale. We even grew a wheat roof in Wicker Park then harvested and milled it into high-grade pastry flour. Access to nature is vital for all, and it's great when it's right upstairs. I also love to walk my dog along the Chicago River where there is green space and public access.
Asked about her favorite Openlands program, Molly doesn't hesitate: "TreeKeepers is so cool! Look at the impact it has, addressing both trees and the community for the long term. Progress compounds, which is so important because even small incremental change over a long period has an incredibly substantial impact. That is what a 54-year-old organization can do.
"I look forward to supporting and becoming more knowledgeable about the great work Openlands does. It is an honor to be able to contribute to furthering Chicagoans' access to nature." 

You can learn more about Openlands at https://openlands.org/

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Rooftop radishes served at Harvard Business School

Photo courtesy of Recover Green Roofs LLC. 

Photo courtesy of Recover Green Roofs LLC. 

Photo courtesy of Recover Green Roofs LLC. 

Photo courtesy of Recover Green Roofs LLC. 

A harvest of impressive radishes from our rooftop meadow at Harvard Business School was made into a delicious side dish. The daikons were served in a cucumber radish salad at the facility.

The meadow is an Omni Ecosystems // Recover Green Roofs LLC collaboration and is the first comprehensive green roof installed in New England. Learn more about the project by clicking here.

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Seven world-saving ag innovations, featuring Omni Ecosystems

Omni Ecosystems was named a world-changing agricultural innovator for our work in rooftop farming. 

At Omni, we're proud to be an island of already in a sea of not yet. Our lightweight, comprehensive green roofs support fully-operational farms, providing easy and immediate access to local, sustainable food. With our recent wheat harvest, we shattered the the boundaries of urban agriculture and became one of the first entities to successfully harvest and process rooftop grain.

We believe this kind of bold innovation is vital to bettering our communities. Thanks to Inhabitat for featuring Omni green roofs as one of "7 agricultural innovations that could save the world" Click here to read the full list and learn about other important work on this front. 

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Omni makes New England debut

A collaboration between Omni Ecosystems and Recover Green Roofs resulted in a stunning multi-tier meadow system on the Harvard Business School's McArthur/McCollum Hall. The installation marks New England's first comprehensive green roof. 


From our friends at Recover:

The roof was planted with a variety of native species desirable for pollinators and seeded with a mix of quick-to-germinate annuals and flowering herbaceous perennials. Many of the seed species are commonly used as cover crops to improve soil conditions, reduce soil erosion, and provide habitat for beneficial insects. Germination began 3 days after seeding, and within several weeks the roof developed into a lush meadow of flowering buckwheat, calendula, aster, milkweed, clover and ripe radishes.

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Welcome Michael Skowlund, Omni's first Director of Landscape Architecture

Omni Ecosystems is laying the foundation for a new, innovative design studio, known as The Omni Workshop, with the hiring of landscape architect Michael Skowlund, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP. 

Skowlund brings more than a decade of industry experience to his post as Director of Landscape Architecture, joining the Omni team after six years with Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects.

“Nationally, Omni is making bold moves, and there’s a great opportunity to develop a progressive landscape architecture studio here,” Skowlund said. “I look forward to applying everything I’ve learned and doing great work.”

Skowlund excels at large-scale, collaborative design, and has contributed to award-winning projects throughout the country. Most notably, the SandRidge Energy Commons project which transformed a blighted area of Oklahoma City into a model space for civic engagement.

Aligned with Omni’s ethos to democratize green infrastructure, Skowlund’s passion is in creating accessible, working landscapes that go beyond aesthetics and solve community problems.

“Michael is an outstanding leader in landscape architecture, with a wealth of experience and an eye for designing spaces that make a positive impact on communities,” said Molly Meyer, CEO and Founder of Omni Ecosystems.

“We are thrilled to have Michael join our diverse team of scientists, construction professionals, and ecosystem stewards. By creating the landscape architecture studio, Omni now provides the full suite of turnkey solutions for all living infrastructure. From designing landscapes to inventing, supplying, installing and maintaining ecosystems, we are lowering costs for clients and increasing accountability.” 

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Appearances in Modern Farmer & AgNet

Omni's grain harvest is still making news, recently featured in Modern Farmer and AgNet West. 

Click here for the full story story via AgNet West: "But one architectural firm in Chicago that has a 5-thousand-square foot rooftop garden took it a step further, you might say by accidentally harvesting a wheat crop."


Click here for the full story via Modern Farmer: "Wheat is an unconventional choice for rooftop gardens and farms, but if this experience is replicable, well, maybe it shouldn’t be."

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A look at Indy's unexpected rooftops

IndyStar compiled a list of impressive green roofs around Indianapolis, and Omni makes a few cameos.

Indianapolis is a city undergoing a transformation. New construction is moving away from historically inefficient design toward more ecologically-sound structures. Omni is proud to contribute to this growing sustainable movement within the city. 

Click here to check out the full list, which includes Omni's Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and WFYI green roofs. 

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Molly Meyer in Living Architecture Monitor

Omni's CEO Molly Meyer dished out advise and insights for the latest edition of Living Architecture Monitor (LAM). She was included on a panel of award-winning green roof designers that fielded questions from LAM. 

Read her response about what is most important in terms of green roof performance:

A green roof must engage and satisfy its users. It should be visually stunning, delighting people through a unique and visceral connection to nature. When a roof is not accessible, it should be agriculturally productive, should provide habitat and respite to birds, butterflies ad the many creatures that provide ecosystems services that we humans don’t even comprehend

For the full interview, click here and flip to page 4. 

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WCIU broadcasts LIVE from Omni's Rooftop farm

Jon Hansen of WCIU You & Me visited with Omni Ecosystems, The Roof Crop and student youth program participants for a live broadcast this morning. He chatted with Omni CEO Molly Meyer, farm manager Will Sauceda, and intern Darius Robinson.

Watch the broadcast below to learn more about Omni's work in urban ag (and see our rooftop farm for yourself!) 

Jon Hansen chats with Molly Meyer and Will Sauceda of Omni Ecosystems about growing plants and vegetables and grains on Chicago rooftops!

After visiting Omni, WCIU headed to Baker Miller to taste some of the locally-sourced goods the bakery made with wheat harvested from one of our rooftop farms. Read more about our wheat harvest here and check out the accompanying broadcast below. 

Jon Hansen brought harvested wheat from the Omni Ecosystems rooftop to Baker Miller where they used the locally sourced grains to bake cookies. Local and sustainable! Jon thought they tasted amazing!

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Omni takes wheat to new heights

Omni Ecosystems, Studio Gang Architects and The Roof Crop facilitate Chicago's first rooftop wheat harvest. 

Omni Ecosystems, Studio Gang Architects and The Roof Crop facilitate Chicago's first rooftop wheat harvest. 

Omni Ecosystems took part in a unique collaboration resulting in 60 pounds of red winter wheat harvested from the rooftop prairie of Studio Gang Architects.

The grain was threshed and winnowed by students enrolled in after-school programs, and then milled and baked into (delicious!) chocolate chip cookies by our friends at Baker Miller.  

We were proud to collaborate on this incredible project! 

Read the full story at DNAinfo Chicago.

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Mayor Emanuel visits Omni headquaters

Mayor Rahm Emanuel meets Omni's student interns. Photo Credit: Nathan Kirkman

Mayor Rahm Emanuel meets Omni's student interns. Photo Credit: Nathan Kirkman

Omni Ecosystems is doing its small part to help the youth of Chicago. We offer hands-on summer internships and jobs to local students, and share our headquarters with Empowerment through Education and Exposure, an impactful non-profit. 

EEE, Omni, The Roof Crop and all other participants of One Summer Chicago received recognition at a press conference given by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, hosted at Omni Ecosystems' headquarters. The mayor praised the work of EEE and other after-school programs, and condemned the violence targeted at Chicago youth. 

The mayor, his wife, his staff and media outlets were given a tour of the Omni space while students showcased some of their summer projects. 

We hope this inspires other Chicago-based businesses to follow Omni & TRC's lead. 

The visit made local headlines. Check out the coverage below: 

Abc7 Chicago, "Chicago Youth Celebrate Summer Accomplishments" 

Chicago Sun Times "Mayor suggests people to divided against city's violence" 

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Omni Comprehensive Green Roofs on the global stage

Omni Ecosystems CEO Molly Meyer was one of 30+ international speakers chosen for last year's Green Roofs and Walls Virtual Summit.

She lectured on Omni's Comprehensive Green Roof, and Omni's push to make green infrastructure more accessible, affordable and ecologically responsible. 

Click here to watch the entire lecture titled "Beyond Extensive and Intensive: Defining the Conmprehensive Green Roof" 

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Welcome Chris and Nick

After a few rounds of intense interviews, singing and miming exercises, Omni is happy to welcome our two newest team members: Chris Murphy and Nick Petty!

Chris has a background in Logistics and Operations Management and experience in small business graphic design and videography. He will assume the role of Office Manager to handle Omni’s back office operations and logistics.

 

 

Nick is an licensed landscape architect who has completed many interesting projects in the Chicago area. He will assume the role of Project Manager for the coming season to manage Omni’s design and installation projects.


 

 

We are very excited to have both Chris and Nick on board to head full-force into our 2016 installation season!

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Molly Meyer on the Green Space Radio program

Molly was recently interviewed by Robert Colangelo, the host of the nationally syndicated Green Sense Radio program.  "The program features entrepreneurs, innovators, academics and policy makers who are making the world a better place." 

Listen to the interview here.

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Omni featured in Landscape Architecture Magazine

Lauren Mandel, author of Eat Up; The Inside Scoop on Rooftop Agriculture, interviewed Molly Meyer for the July issue of LAM, the magazine of the American Society of Landscape Architects. They talked about the Roof Crop, rooftop ecosystems in a changing climate, and future projects.

You can find the full interview here.

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