Proposal for Stepped-Up Urban Farming in the South Bronx

May 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

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.  

The proposal marries indoor food production with renewable energy production.  The idea is to produce enough renewable energy from landfill waste to power the greenhouses and aeroponic farming facilities.

“The plan is to redirect waste from landfills, convert it into gas that will be used to power micro turbines, which will provide enough power to grow food in an industrial warehouse,” writes Jodi Helmer in

In the first phase of development, the aeroponic facilities will be powered by a high-efficiency on-site generation plant, with future conversion, when approved by regulators, to a waste-to-energy fuel source.

The greenhouses and other farming facilities will grow food year-round and sell it on-site.

The developers — Full Spectrum of New York and phbCatalyst Group — plan to roll out the proposed Urban Food and Renewable Energy Production Center to other underperforming urban properties outside New York City.

“The digital revolution started in a Palo Alto garage,” said phbCatalyst Group Co-President Mark Harari in a press release.  “The urban food revolution is starting on an underused urban industrial property.”

The proposal was submitted in response to NYCEDC’s request for proposal last year.   If selected, the estimated $64.5 million project will be built in three phases.  It is expected to add 240 new jobs when complete.


Entry filed under: City Farmers, Local Food Production, Rooftop Gardening, Urban Agriculture. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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