New York City is considered the most densely populated city in America. With over 8 million mouths to feed, it’s no surprise that some are looking for new ways to provide high-quality, locally-grown produce within city limits.
What IS a surprise is that they are looking to grow that produce UP – on building rooftops instead of in fields! By utilizing this untapped resource, the distance the food travels is measured in blocks rather than miles and the community gets to experience a farm right in their own neighborhood. Large rooftop farms are a new concept for New York, and a unique twist on the urban agricultural model.
At the forefront of this new model are four entrepreneurs who founded Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, which is currently the largest commercial rooftop farm in America and at 6 stories up, comes with an incredible view of the city.
Although they have “Brooklyn” in their name, their flagship farm actually sits atop an old auto-parts factory in Queens and is roughly an acre in size. They recently added a second, larger location on top of an old Naval yard building.
Their goal is to provide an urban rooftop farming model that can be replicated anywhere in the world and to educate urban dwellers about where their food comes from. We’ll learn how they grow over 20,000 pounds of produce a year in their one-acre location, and share some of their secrets for getting a lot of production from a small space.
In the kitchen, Chef Nathan prepares a delicious summer salad with pears and watercress.
For more information:
- Brooklyn Grange Farm website, the location featured in this episode
- Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn, NYC’s oldest rooftop farm
- More information on rooftop farms and urban living from Urban Gardens
- Annie Novak of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is also founder and co-farmer of GrowingChefs.com
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
- Chef Nathan’s recipe for Pear Salad with Watercress and Blue Cheese.