Posts filed under ‘Rooftop Gardening’
The urban agriculture movement in New York City has made enormous progress this year. New legislation favoring urban farming was introduced. New farms opened. There’s even a new farm school. It all happened within the last nine months, all of it summarized here. (more…)
BrightFarms, a Manhattan-based company that designs, builds and operates hydroponic rooftop greenhouses for others, is planning to build one for itself. The company will build a 25,000-square-foot greenhouse on top of a building near LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, according to an article in the New York Daily News. The facility — slated for completion by March of next year — is expected to produce 200,000 pounds of fresh produce annually for the local markets. If built as planned, the hydroponic greenhouse will be the largest in the country.
In an interview with New York Bounty in July, BrightFarms discussed its plans for marketing rooftop greenhouses to supermarkets. The company was in talks with a dozen national supermarket chains, eight of which had signed up for the facilities.
BrightFarms will move its headquarters to the Long Island City rooftop location. It will build a 7,000-square-foot office space on the 32,000-square-foot roof it plans to lease.
In the vast expanse of barren rooftops that mark this north Brooklyn neighborhood, one stood out far above the rest: the one atop Bushwick Starr Theatre. It was the only roof with plants — all happily soil-free, or “hydroponic.”
Rather than soil-filled terracotta pots, the plants grew in trays and tubs attached to tubes that piped in liquid nutrients. Most grew vertically, like the tomatoes and cucumbers climbing the roof fence and onto a trellis. Others — the bok choy and collard greens, for instance — grew sideways from the side of a wall built from milk crates.
The plants – green and laden with vegetables – seemed at home in the Willie Wonkaesque environment. Miniature melon-shaped “Mexican sour” cucumbers dangled from plant stems like earrings. Peppers lounged under the shade of floppy leaves, while the herbs — basil, thyme, sage, parsley — basked in the sun.
The rooftop Eden functions as a lab for Lee Mandell, founder of Boswyck Farms, a start-up business that designs and builds hydroponic growing systems for residents, nonprofits and other small organizations in New York City. Mandell tests and tinkers with the systems on the roof — as well as those in his loft apartment nearby — to see which ones work best for which plants. (more…)
Farmers Markets Grow Despite Bad Economy
If only the economy would grow as rapidly as the nation’s farmers markets. The number of farmers markets operating throughout the country grew 17%, from 6,132 in 2010 to 7,175 this year. The results were released in the USDA’s 2011 National Farmers Market Directory.
New York reported 520 markets, ranking second among the nation’s top 10 states with the most farmers markets. California, with 729 markets, ranked first.
The market listings were submitted to the USDA by market managers on a voluntary, self-reported basis between April 18 and June 24, 2011, as part of the USDA’s annual outreach effort.
Alaska experienced the most growth. It reported 35 farmers markets, up 46%. Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico, with 166, 130, and 80 markets, respectively, jumped 38%.
Mayor Bloomberg Signs Local Food Legislation
For the past two years the New York City Council has pushed to make more local food available to New Yorkers. On Wednesday its efforts paid off: Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed comprehensive legislation aimed at increasing the production and procurement of local and regional food. (more…)
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection earlier this month named the winners of $3.8 million in grants for infrastructure projects to reduce storm water runoff in the city.
The biggest winner? The Brooklyn Navy Yard. It received a $592,730 grant to build a 40,000-square-foot commercial rooftop farm at Building No. 3, one of more than 40 buildings in the 300-acre industrial park.
The farm will be built in partnership with the Brooklyn Grange, the one-acre rooftop farm operation in Long Island City, Queens. (more…)
Urban farming has grown so much in New York City it’s produced an offshoot — one that needs buildings, rather than soil, to grow food. But is high-tech, high-rise farming in keeping with the values of traditional urban farmers who like dirt? Is it sustainable, and can it produce food that people can afford?
New York City was one of the top 10 cities leading the nation in the installation of green roofs in 2010. According to industry trade group Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, it added more than 200,000 square feet of green roofs last year, ranking third behind Chicago and Washington, D.C. Chicago, the nation’s green roof leader, installed more than 500,000 square feet of green roofs.
GRHC found that the green roof industry in North America grew by 28.5% in 2010, up from 16% in 2009. It has surveyed the North American green roof industry every year since 2004.
For details of the 2010 survey, click here.
There’s no doubt that the rooftop greenhouse that Gotham Greens recently opened in Brooklyn breaks new ground on New York City’s urban farm frontier. But a proposal for a greenhouse operation more than three times the size of Gotham Greens may make it seem like old news.
The proposal — submitted by two developers to the New York City Economic Development Corp. to revitalize a 2.4-acre industrial site in the Bathgate section of the South Bronx — calls for the construction of three large-scale rooftop hydroponic greenhouses that will occupy 50,000 square feet of the approximate 200,000-square-foot proposed build-out plan. The greenhouses will sit on top of industrial loft-type buildings, which will grow and process vegetables using aeroponics, a technology where food grows in a mist. The aeroponically-grown vegetables will be under LED lights, 24/7. (more…)
Farming in New York City has kicked into high gear. After clearing a maze of building and regulatory hurdles, startup Gotham Greens opened a hydroponic greenhouse that is expected to produce 100 tons of vegetables and herbs annually for sale to local retailers and restaurants.
The 15,000-square-foot facility on a rooftop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, will produce crops year-round. Arugula, bok choy, basil, Swiss chard, and three varieties of lettuce — green leaf, red leaf and butterhead — will be available for sale starting June.
“Controlled environment agriculture is practiced on a commercial scale in many parts of the world.” said Gotham Greens co-founder Viraj Puri on CNN. “What we’re trying to do is bring that into an urban environment.”
As more and more people move to cities, and world population explodes, many experts see urban hydroponic greenhouses as the future of agricultural production. In this vision of the future, crops will increasingly be grown in indoor greenhouses or “farms,” where they do not need soil to grow. All they’ll need is right mix of minerals and nutrients. (more…)
New York City is offering building owners another incentive to put soil rather than asphalt on their roofs. The Department of Environmental Protection announced up to $3 million in grants for green roofs and other infrastructure projects that help reduce storm-water runoff.