Posts filed under ‘Urban Agriculture’
Local Food Advocates Named to Regional Economic Development Council
Two local food advocates were appointed to Gov. Cuomo’s New York City Regional Economic Development Council: Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC, the nonprofit behind the city’s thriving network of Greenmarkets; and Steve Hindy, president of the Brooklyn Brewery.
The New York City Regional Economic Development Council is one of 10 regional councils Gov. Cuomo launched last month to drive local economic development and improve the business climate statewide. Each council will compete for state funding from a total pot of up to $1 billion in economic development aid. (more…)
The New York City Council’s lunch room was as much the scene of the action yesterday as the hearing room. Council leaders and staff streamed in to do what they always do on Thursdays during their lunch hour: they picked up their share of fresh fruits and vegetables from Norwich Meadows Farms and Red Jacket Orchards, two upstate farms.
“I never saw a sugarplum that color in my life,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn of the yellow plums that were part of the week’s fruit harvest. Speaker Quinn collected peppers, squash, pole beans and other veggies from bins set up on a table and dropped them into her bag.
She and more than 50 other council members and staff were pioneers of sorts: They were the initial participants in the city’s first workplace Community-Supported Agriculture or “CSA” program. (more…)
A clutch of enthusiastic gardeners — trowels and soil scrapers in hand — readied for the special planting that was about to take place at Drew Gardens in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx. One by one, they squatted by the side of a just-tilled garden bed and began to tuck peanuts into the ground.
Angel Valeri Nogue beamed. The peanuts, she blurted with pride, were “brought here to New York” from her grandmother’s plantation in West Cameroon.
“I used to stay on my grandmother’s plantation in the springtime for six months to help,” said Nogue, a refugee with the International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit organization that helps resettle refugees, asylees and victims of human trafficking.
Nogue’s face brightened as she recalled childhood memories of her grandmother’s plantation, a refuge from the stresses of city life in Cameroon. Now Drew Gardens is her refuge. (more…)
Convincing supermarkets to build hydroponic greenhouses on their roofs might seem like a tough sell, but not for Benjamin Linsley, vice president of Business Development and Public Affairs at BrightFarms, a New York City-based operator of rooftop greenhouses.
Onsite greenhouses, Linsley tells prospective clients, will save them truckloads on their produce by eliminating the high shipping costs that jack up produce prices.
Linsley argues that most vegetables on New York City supermarket shelves are shipped from the West Coast. Take lettuce, for example. About 95 percent of all lettuces sold in the U.S. come from California and Arizona.
By the time they reach New York, “lettuces are nearing the end of their natural shelf life,” said Linsley. (more…)
New Yorkers showed overwhelming support for two food-related bills at a public hearing convened last month by the New York City Council Governmental Affairs Division. The proposed bills back recommendations in a plan to revamp the city’s food system and make local and regional food more available to New Yorkers. The plan was outlined in an 86-page report, FoodWorks, released by NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn last year.
One of the proposed bills would require city agencies (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…)