Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm is located at 37-18 Northern Boulevard, ROOF, in Long Island City, Queens, NY 11101. For more info, visit the Brooklyn Grange website or contact Ben Flanner at: [email protected] or 608.215.0218.
Available for purchase: “The Farm on the Roof: What Brooklyn Grange Taught Us About Entrepreneurship, Community, and Growing a Sustainable Business”, Avery, April 5, 2016, by Anastasia Cole Plakias, vice president and founding partner of Brooklyn Grange. Read the April 27, 2016 Recommended Readings review by Linda Velazquez on Greenroofs.com. Read the May 25, 2010 The Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm Project by Linda Velazquez in the Greenroofs.com Sky Gardens Blog; May 14, 2010 Ben Flanner leads army of volunteers as they build city’s largest rooftop farm, Brooklyn Grange by Leigh Remizowski in NYDailyNews.com; and the May 13, 2010 High Above Queens, the Dirt Is Deep, and Good by Diane Cardwell in the New York Times.
Brooklyn Grange is a privately owned and operated enterprise; community oriented, they host weekly open houses in season, and feel the green space “contributes to the overall health and quality of life of the community, bringing people together through green business and around good food… Our goal is to put more farms on roofs throughout New York and beyond, and grow more food, train and employ more farmers, and improve overall quality of life in the city,” (Brooklyn Grange website, 2010).
Brooklyn Grange operators include co-founders Ben Flanner, Anastasia Cole, and Gwen Schantz, as well as Partner Chase Emmons, who joined after the farm’s first season. Brooklyn Grange secured a 10 year lease from Acumen Capital Partners, who later sold the building to current lessors RXR Realty, and is financed through a combination of private equity, loans, grassroots fundraising events and the website Kickstarter.com (see Linda’s post below).
The first Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm is located atop the 6-story industrial Standard Motor Products building in Long Island City and provides New Yorkers with a bounty of fresh produce. As of the summer, 2010 the commercial rooftop farm was the largest in New York city. Ben says “We were inspired to start farming rooftops because space is at such a premium in New York City, yet we have thousands of large roofs across the boroughs which receive full sun. Brooklyn Grange sets an example for transforming under-utilized rooftops across this dense city into productive spaces that benefit the local ecosystem and community.”
The sturdy 1919 structure has a thick reinforced concrete slab which far exceeds the loading capacity of the farm’s 40 lbs per square foot of materials. The greenroof system is distributed by Conservation Technologies and the Rooflite growing media was purchased from Skyland USA composed of compost for organic components, and lightweight, porous stones.
Planting beds are about 7.5″ deep with 1″ deep walkways and hundreds of thousands of plants are cultivated on the roof, including the largest crop, salad greens and arugula. Various tomatoes, herbs, carrots, fennel, beets, radishes, beans, and many other crops are also farmed here about nine months of the year. In the winter, they use cover crops like oats, buckwheat, and clover. In mid July, 2010 Brooklyn Grange started a CSA – Community-Supported Agriculture – where individuals can buy season-long farm shares and get a weekly bag of seasonal produce.
School groups, families, and volunteers are welcome to visit, participate, and learn, but the farm is not open daily, so please check the Brooklyn Grange website for hours, info on tours, events, and more (generally open Saturdays late May through October). See the second Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm atop the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building No. 3 in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.