Farmer: Matt, Ben, Alia, Michelle
Products: Salad Mix
Growing: All Natural
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Size: 2.5 acres
What kind of company is Brooklyn Grange? Brooklyn Grange is a commercial urban farm, meaning they grow food and sell it. They want farming to become a thriving and viable industry in cities, and they believe that by practicing urban agriculture as a fiscally sustainable business, they can prove that it is worthy of investment. They also believe that any good business serves its community, which means they are always thinking about how we can have a more positive social and ecological impact on our city!
How big is the farm? We farm two rooftops in New York City. Our one-acre (43,000 square foot) Flagship Farm is made up of roughly 1.2 million lbs of soil. Our Navy Yard farm covers a full 65,000 square foot building. Our total rooftop farming area is 2.5 acres, or about 108,000 square feet.
What kind of soil do you use? We source our soil from Skyland in Pennsylvania, a green roof media supplier. The blend is called Rooflite, and is composed of mushroom compost for organic nutrients mixed with lightweight, porous stones. The stones make the material lighter in weight, ensure that it drains well, and also slowly add trace minerals needed by the vegetables. Our beds are about 8-12″ deep with shallow walkways.
What are you growing on the roof? We grow dozens of crops each season and harvest about 50,000 lbs of produce every year. Our biggest seller and a favorite amongst our farmers and customers alike are our fresh, flavorful leafy greens: from spicy baby mustards to tender young lettuces and peppery arugula, a Brooklyn Grange Greens Mix salad barely needs dressing! Tomatoes are another of our biggest crops: we have 40 varietals planted. We are also growing peppers, kale, chard, chicories, ground cherries, eggplants, pac choi, herbs, carrots, turnips, radishes, beans, and many other exciting crops!
Is the farm organic? We grow our vegetables according to organic principles, and we do not use any synthetic or chemical fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides. We are not certified organic by the USDA nor do we plan to apply for organic certification, but we invite the community to visit us and certify our practices with their own five senses.
Why Urban Farming? The city will always rely on rural farmers for the bulk of our food, and the relationship between urban and rural communities must be respected and celebrated. But having farms inside the city limits which take advantage of unused roof space is an opportunity not to be missed. Rooftop farms have the potential to improve urban quality of life, create jobs, increase access to healthy fresh foods, and provide environmental and agricultural education to those of us who live in and love the city.