They’re taking farming to new heights!
A group of urban green thumbs celebrated the grand opening of the city’s largest rooftop farm in Sunset Park on Sunday, where vegetable lovers traveled far and wide for what one woman called the highlight of her weekend.
“I thought it was awesome,” said Effie Angus, 23, who journeyed from the distant Isle of Manhattan with her boyfriend to check out the sky-high pasture.
The new farm, operated by the local agricultural company Brooklyn Grange, occupies the roughly 3.2 acre rooftop above Micro Center and Bed Bay & Beyond at the Liberty View shopping complex on Third Avenue, and features a 5,000 square-foot greenhouse, a 6,000 square-foot indoor event space, and a weekly farmer’s market where locals can buy some of Kings County’s freshest produce.
Brooklyn Grange has operated a rooftop farm in Queens since 2010 and another at the Brooklyn Navy Yard since 2012, and the massive new Sunset Park space will not only allow Grange to expand their farming capacity, but also allow them to grow year round, according to the company’s co-founder.
“It has a 4,800 square-foot greenhouse for increased off-season production. We’re also building an indoor events hall with a kitchen so we can start hosting events year-round!” said Anastasia Plakias.
The Sunset Park farm is expected to provide the area around it with modest environmental benefits by absorbing heat and rainwater, which will in turn mitigate heat waves and flooding, according to Plakias.
On Aug. 18, New Yorkers gathered to gawk at Brooklyn Grange’s new digs. For Angus, the highlight of the event was her tour of the Sunset Park rooftop’s new hydroponic program, a high-tech farming process in which soil has been replaced — by tubes!
“It’s a cool technology they’re bringing in. It’s kind of like a high tech farm,” Angus said. “It’s really efficient because you don’t have to waste any water.”
Other attendees danced to the event’s live Afro-Venezuelan music, and kids decorated one of the farm’s walls. Five-year-old Enzo Reynolds was delighted to receive a free packet of seeds, according to his mother.
“He’s pretty excited to plant seeds this weekend,” said Alexis Ching, who lives just a few blocks away from the new farm.
Mom had a great time too, and Ching noted the convenience of having a farm within walking distance of her Brooklyn home.
“I go on Monday morning to Union Square Market on my way to work, so it’s really nice to have this in the area,” she said, noting that while Sunset Park has a few farmers stands, none are as locally-sourced, nor as large as the one atop Liberty View. Plus, the new farm’s location is nothing to scoff at.
“Being able to be on a rooftop with vegetables and flowers surrounded by an industrial part of the city is pretty cool,” she said.