Something big growing in Brooklyn Navy Yard
by Andrew Pavia
Aug 08, 2012 | 1211 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited the Brooklyn Navy Yard last week for a tour of the largest rooftop farm in New York City.

On the top of a building in the Navy Yard sits a 43,000-square-foot farm run by Brooklyn Grange. Salad greens, rainbow chard, kale, basil, eggplant, cucumbers, sunflowers and ground cherries all grow in the farm.

It is expected to produce 20,000 pounds of produce each year for local restaurants and markets.

“Along with fresh produce and new jobs, the city's largest rooftop garden will absorb more than one million gallons of storm water and help keep our harbors and streams clean,” said Bloomberg.

The mayor paused a few times during his visit to take in the rooftop farm. He sampled some of the fresh produce, peered over the edge to the view of lower Manhattan, and even stopped by the chicken coop.

“It's no news that a tree grows in Brooklyn,” said Bloomberg, “and now we're ready to harvest cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce and kale.”

The farm was funded in part through the Green Infrastructure program, which uses vegetation, soils and other structural elements to manage storm water and improve the quality of the city's surrounding harbors and streams. It's one of the largest projects funded through the program.

The farm utilizes a special soil blended specifically for rooftop use and custom designed by Brooklyn Grange and Skyland USA, which is based on over two years of experience at the farm's flagship location, a rooftop at 37-18 Northern Boulevard in Long Island City.

Ben Flanner, head farmer and president of Brooklyn Grange, said the produce grown at the farm will find its way to city restaurants through farmers markets and to residents through community-supported agriculture programs.

“We're just really excited to launch this farm on this roof and start getting the vegetables out to the community,” Flanner said.

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