A Farm Grows in Brooklyn

Last week, plans were announced to create what may be the world's largest rooftop farm on 100,000 square feet of space atop a building on the Brooklyn waterfront. Lisa Foderaro has the details.
April 12, 2012, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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If not the largest rooftop farm in the world, the plan for a sprawling greenhouse to be located atop a building in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn announced last week will certainly be the largest such facility in the country when its first harvest is collected next Spring. The project, being built by Bright Farms, a private company that develops greenhouses, is intended to yield a million pounds of produce a year hydroponically (without dirt), reports Foderaro.

The project is the latest in a series of initiatives rapidly expanding rooftop farming in Brooklyn, and throughout New York City.

"Brooklyn was an agricultural powerhouse in the 19th century, and it has now become a local food scene second to none," said Paul Lightfoot, the chief executive of Bright Farms. "We're bringing a business model where food is grown and sold right in the community."

"Hydroponic farms are ideal for rooftops, according to Bright Farms, because they have such high yields and are less heavy than soil-based operations. They also use far less water, while diverting storm water from the sewer system, which can overflow during heavy rain. The Sunset Park greenhouse would capture an estimated 1.8 million gallons of storm water each year," notes Foderaro.

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Published on Thursday, April 5, 2012 in The New York Times
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