For the last two weeks, I have been busy writing and producing an episode of Growing A Greener World TV that is is so cool, I just have to tell you about it!
There are four farmer-entrepreneurs in New York who are changing the way urban food is produced. They have created what is currently the largest ROOFTOP farm in America in the middle of New York City – six stories above the rush hour traffic.
Now I am not talking about a rooftop “garden”. There are lots of those around New York and there are even some restaurants who grow their own produce on the roof.
No – I am talking about a full scale FARM that is one-acre in size and it is called Brooklyn Grange. (Although they have “Brooklyn” in the name, their first farm was actually in Queens.)
After verifying that the building could take the weight, they hauled over 1 million pounds of soil up onto that rooftop and spread it out to 8-12 inches deep. Then they started growing produce…over 20,000 pounds per year. They have bees and chickens up there too!
And they just added a second 1-acre farm on another rooftop bringing their total production to 40,000 pounds per year!
Imagine living in a big city like New York and wanting really fresh, organic and LOCAL food. Of course you can buy organic food at various places within the city. But how “local” can it be within the city?
That’s right! Most produce has to be trucked in from outside the area. Until now.
They sell their produce through three venues: a CSA, farmer’s markets and to restaurants.
But what I found most interesting is that their biggest cash crop is…Honey!
They make so much (per square inch of roof space) for their honey, they have greatly expanded their production and now have 40 hives in various locations. They say that their local honey just flies off the shelves.
They also sell other value added products like eggs, seeds and fresh cut flower bouquets.
They Build Community!
Another major component of this farm that I love is that they work hard to build community. They invite the public to the farm every Wednesday (their market day in the lobby of the building), they teach workshops, and host events and dinners on the roof. They also just started a non-profit branch of the farm that focuses on teaching the city children about farming and where their food comes from.
I can’t wait to show you this episode. It will be released in late November. I will let you all know when you can watch it on line.