Posts tagged ‘hydroponic greenhouses’

2011 NYC Urban Ag: A Nine-Month Review

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…)


September 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm 1 comment

From Roof to Store Shelf: Supermarkets Explore Rooftop Food Sourcing

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…)

July 11, 2011 at 7:58 pm Leave a comment

NYC Farming Kicks into High Gear

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…)

May 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm Leave a comment

Up on the Roof

City rooftops will be a hot spot for an unusual new spring arrival: hydroponic greenhouses that grow food year-round. At least five are expected to go up on New York rooftops in the next few months.

Gotham Greens, a startup that builds and manages rooftop greenhouses, recently received permission to build two hydroponic greenhouses, one in Jamaica, Queens, and the other in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The two greenhouses will occupy 32,000 square feet of roof space. The Jamaica greenhouse alone is expected to yield more than 30 tons of herbs and vegetables annually.

Affordable-housing developer Blue Sea Development Corp. is also planning to build a 10,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse on the roof of a seven-story housing complex in the South Bronx. The greenhouse will supply enough produce to meet the annual fresh vegetable needs of up to 450 people, according to BrightFarm Systems, the consultancy that designed the greenhouse.

Other organizations expected to build greenhouses on their roofs include P.S. 333, a pubic school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and Services for the UnderServed, a social services group in Chelsea.

Not surprisingly, rooftop entrepreneurs are facing significant challenges in a city notoriously known for its complex building and zoning laws. Builders of rooftop greenhouses run into a gamut of density, air rights and other issues.

Adding a greenhouse to the roof of a building is like adding another floor, explained Benjamin Linsley, senior partner and managing director at BrightFarm Systems. And that, he said, raises issues with regard to regulations controlling the size of buildings.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer proposes streamlining the regulatory red tape to help facilitate the development of rooftop agricultural greenhouses. In a report released last month, Stringer proposes an authorization process for case-by-case waivers of certain building regulations.

“Priority should be given to projects that create green collar jobs by training and employing New York City residents, especially those who are unemployed or underemployed,” states the report.

Linsley notes that the outer boroughs offer greater opportunities for greenhouses than built-up areas of the city.

“If you would like to build on a building, it’s harder to do in Manhattan,” he said.

March 5, 2010 at 10:04 pm 1 comment

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