America Farm to Table (out on October 7th) explores bucolic landscapes from Maine to Los Angeles and features a variety of farms and farmers growing some of the America’s best food. Images of rolling hills and sweet country breezes generally come to mind when imagining our nation’s foodsheds. But the ever-growing concept of urban and rooftop farming means that even as a city-dweller, you can find farm-fresh produce right in your backyard. Today we’re highlighting one borough that seems particularly dedicated to growing seasonal produce in an urban environment. Here’s a look at some Brooklyn’s best urban farms.
Brooklyn Grange It’s hard to believe that the world’s largest rooftop farm is here in NYC. Located on two separate rooftop locations—one in Queens and the other on top of a building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard—the total rooftop farming area is 2.5 acres. (Some food for thought: just the one-acre in Queens is made up of roughly 1.2 million pounds of soil!) Brooklyn Grange grows a wide variety of produce each season from peppers to kale, carrots, beans, radishes and more, with tomatoes being one of their biggest crops. You can find Brooklyn Grange produce at local farm stands, restaurants, and markets. They even have a CSA (community supported agriculture), delivering boxes of produce to local participants.
Gotham Greens Gotham Greens operates the country’s first commercial-scale rooftop hydroponic greenhouse, located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. As the name suggests, they grow mostly greens, from fresh herbs to lettuce, swiss chard, bok choy, in addition to greenhouse tomatoes, year-round. These guys are super innovative, believing that in cities like New York, you have to get creative with the space you have, whether it’s a question of where to store suitcases in a small apartment or where to grow vegetables in a city with little available land. The answer to the latter question for them, and many urban farmers, is the rooftop. You’ll find their greens sold in markets and restaurants throughout New York. Keep an eye out for Gotham Greens opening on the roof of Whole Foods Gowanus this fall.
Eagle Street Rooftop Farm Also located in Greenpoint is Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, an organic vegetable farm atop a warehouse. In addition to selling the vegetables they grow to nearby restaurants (in extra green fashion, they deliver the goods on bikes), there is an on-site market where you can buy whatever’s in season. The farm hosts a range of educational programs to share urban farming know-how, and is open to the public every Sunday during growing season.
Other great urban farms to check out: