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Full SeasonMcGolrick Park 05/14 – 11/05
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The vegetables growing at Brooklyn Grange are pioneers in a new environment. High above the endless activity of New York City, the tomatoes, greens, radishes, peppers – and more – stretch out over the city's largest rooftop farm.
The Grange has two locations: in 2010, they planted their first acre, six stories up, on top of a former Standard Motor building in Queens. In talking about it, Ben anticipates a key curiosity: "How did we get the soil up here?" he says, "Well, we used a crane and lifted it up, sack by sack. " They had two teams of four people, each person with a very large buggy. They clustered the four buggies together and the crane lifted the "Rooflite certified green roof media" over them. Then they ran each buggy to the furthest end of the roof and unloaded it. The process took six days.
To start their second location at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in 2011, the Department of Environmental Protection awarded The Grange a $600,000 grant, in recognition of the farm's ability to divert "over one million gallons of storm water" from the city's overburdened drainage system. To fill this acre and a half roof, two people guided a rented soil blower truck -- a much easier process. By 2012, together the two locations produced approximately 40,000 pounds of produce. This commercial farm also keeps bees and raises chickens.
Ben says, "We're constantly improving our farming practices. This is still a brand-new idea, and we're learning everyday." It's paying off: In 2013, they'll grow close to 50,000 pounds of produce, increasingly fulfilling their mission "to grow produce sold and delivered with minimal use of fossil fuel consumption."
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