Rooftop farms – they seem to be sprouting everywhere in Brooklyn. But Brooklyn Grange does it big. As the leading rooftop farming and green roofing business in the US, it operates the worlds largest rooftop soil farms, located on two roofs in Brooklyn and Queens. Not only does the company grow and sell its produce, it also offers consulting services and workshops, partners with local nonprofits — and manages part of the city’s stormwater!
The Brooklyn farm, installed in 2012, is located atop the Brooklyn Navy Yard and stretches over 65,000 square feet. The farm grows leafy greens such as spicy baby mustard, lettuce, arugula, as well as 40 varietals of tomatoes, peppers, kale, chard, ground cherries, eggplant, herbs, carrots, turnips, radishes and beans.
Currently, with over two acres of rooftops under cultivation at the two locations, the farms produce over 50,000 lbs of vegetables which are being sold to local restaurants, CSA members and directly to the public via weekly farmstands. Additionally, Brooklyn Grange has expanded its operation to farming honey from 30 beehives on rooftops across the city, making hot sauce from homegrown peppers and keeping egg-laying hens.
But Brooklyn Grange is more than just a farm. The company hosts events and educational programming, provides urban farming and green roof consulting and installation services to clients worldwide, and partners with numerous nonprofit organizations throughout New York to promote healthy and strong local communities. One of the farm’s educational nonprofit partners is City Growers, an organization that works to increase environmental and food literacy, and which hosts 17,000 NYC youths each season for educational tours and workshops at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Brooklyn Grange was able to install their second farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard farm largely because of the support of the Department of Environmental Protections Green Infrastructure Stormwater Management grant program. Under the initiative, the farm now manages over one million gallons of stormwater each year, thereby ultimately helping to reduce the amount of wastewater that overflows into the citys open waterways.
When in 2010 Brooklyn Grange set out to grow food on the rooftops and unused spaces of New York City, their mission was to create a fiscally sustainable model for urban agriculture and to produce healthy, delicious vegetables for the local community while doing the ecosystem a few favors as well.
In 2017, it looks like they have achieved that – sustainability made in Brooklyn.