Posts filed under ‘Rooftop Gardening’
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.
After nearly two years of setbacks and regulatory hurdles, the startup Gotham Greens finally began building its first commercial-scale hydroponic greenhouse, a 15,000-square-foot rooftop facility in Brooklyn that is expected to produce more than 80 tons of vegetables and herbs annually. The greenhouse is scheduled to open in May, according to the company’s web site.
Gotham Greens had originally planned to open a facility on the roof of a building in Jamaica, Queens, but plans for the 12,000-square-foot greenhouse fell through. The planned facility would have produced an estimated 30 tons of vegetables and herbs annually.
The company’s greenhouse greens will be available at select retailers, markets and restaurants across New York City in June 2011.
No one knows exactly why. It might be the start of a new farming season, or a yearning perhaps to go back to basics and a do-it-yourself, grow-it-yourself culture.
Whatever it is, many urbanites are flocking to gardens and farms to tend to the crops now springing from the earth. At the Queens County Farm Museum, a 47-acre working historical farm in Floral Park, Queens, volunteers show up regularly to help out on Tuesdays and Sundays, the farm’s two volunteer work days.
“It varies from week to week,” said the farm’s Director of Agriculture Kennon Kay, with anywhere from two to 10 people helping out on volunteer days. Some drop in for a few hours, while others work the entire day. Most volunteers, says Kennon, are from Queens, as public transportation to the farm from other boroughs is difficult.
Fortunately, for New Yorkers bitten by the farm bug, there are plenty of other volunteer opportunities to work on farms, all within city limits. New York’s two rooftop farms, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm and the recently opened Brooklyn Grange, host hundreds of volunteers. Eagle Street has a schedule of open farm days, and Brooklyn Grange e-mails volunteers when it needs help.
In addition, botanical gardens in each of the boroughs recruit volunteers to help with planting, propagating, pruning and other gardening chores. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden offers a BUG (Brooklyn Urban Gardener) certificate program, an eight-week course of interconnected workshops that covers the basics of urban gardening. Certified BUG volunteers are dispatched to schools, senior centers, community gardens and other places throughout the city to work on greening projects.
Volunteers with basic gardening knowledge can also participate in the New York Botanical Garden’s all-star gardening group, the Bronx Green-Up. The garden pros need help with the care and maintenance of community gardens throughout the Bronx.
There’s even a Facebook group for New Yorkers looking to relieve their itch to farm. Get Dirty NYC provides updates on volunteer opportunities at New York City’s urban farms.
New Yorkers who want to venture outside the city and work on rural farms can find opportunities without traveling too far. At Sylvester Manor, a 243-acre farm on Shelter Island — cradled between the North and South Fork of Long Island — volunteers can work one or two days or for longer periods of time. There’s only one catch: volunteers are expected to sing as they work, as the New York Times describes here. The owner of the farm was awarded a fellowship a few years ago to study the work songs of farmers from around the world, and he now builds on that learning experience by instilling “songing” in the fields.
Songing isn’t your thing? Don’t give up. The article lists a few places in New Jersey, New York and Vermont that welcome volunteers.
For a few tense months, Ben Flanner’s plan to build a new rooftop farm in Brooklyn hung in the balance. His main investor backed out of the venture, and the building owner from whom he planned to lease roof space for the farm — called the Brooklyn Grange — got cold feet.
“Brooklyn Grange hit some rough seas and for a minute there it looked like it might not be our year to build a farm,” writes Ben and his business partners in the farm’s blog.
Miraculously, the intrepid entrepreneurs survived the unrelenting storm of setbacks and defeats. They fished for alternate sources of funding, and at the eleventh hour found a developer willing to lease the roof of a building not in Brooklyn, but in Long Island City, Queens.
On Thursday, May 13, as soil mix was hoisted by crane onto the 40,000-square-foot roof, the Brooklyn Grange finally came to be. It will be the city’s first commercial rooftop farm, growing tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and leafy greens.