If the U.S. were a cupcake, and the rooftop farms and gardens dotted around the country were the sprinkles, then Brooklyn would be the cherry on top. Thank you for bearing with me on that analogy.
It’s true, though. Brooklyn currently houses several of the country’s most innovative and inspiring rooftop farms. Gotham Greens, a 15,000 square foot (0.3 acre) commercial greenhouse operation in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, leads New York City in rooftop yields. With high-end distribution channels and a solid business model, the success of this rooftop pioneer may be inspiring other entrepreneurs to follow suit. Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is another critical piece of the cherry. As the country’s first rooftop row farm, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm plays an important role in building community and demonstrating farming techniques. With a picturesque backdrop, this farm is arguably Brooklyn’s “greenest” icon. Brooklyn Grange, while not actually located in Brooklyn, contributes to the local skyline network as well. Ben Flanner, founder of Brooklyn Grange, co-founded Eagle Street and then spread his seeds of knowledge to the Grange’s rooftop in Queens.
It is with this proliferation and contagious behavior that Brooklyn is booming – I mean, blooming! The New York Times reports that Gotham Greens is scheduled to open three new rooftop greenhouse operations in 2013, totalling 180,000 square feet (4.1 acres). Brooklyn Grange is also expanding, and construction of the farm’s new 45,000 square foot (1 acre) location could begin as early as spring of 2012.
Then there’s the Sunset Park Greenhouse. Brooklyn residents should expect to see this 100,000 square foot (2.3 acre) hydroponic operation atop a former Naval warehouse in the not-too-distant future. According to the New York Times, the project’s greenhouse development company, BrightFarms, anticipates that the farm will produce 1 million pounds of food per year.
With agro-icons and big projects in the pipeline, Brooklyn is hot hot hot.