2011 Awards of Excellence: Brooklyn Grange

Brooklyn Grange Overhead
The Brooklyn Grange project yielded 13,000 lbs of
produce in 2010, a number expected to increase in 2011.

Intensive Industrial/Commercial

Project: Brooklyn Grange, Queens, NY, 40,000 square foot roof
Award Recipient: Brooklyn Grange (Owner and Manager)
Architect: Bromley Caldari
Soil and Media Supplier: Rooflite
CFO: Bushwick Food Cooperative

 

The farm has entered into uncharted territory in the urban agriculture movement by achieving a scale never before seen in an urban rooftop farm application.
— Anastasia Cole-Plakias, Managaing Partner & Co-Founder, Brooklyn Grange
Brooklyn Grange Harvesting
The Brooklyn Grange project provides volunteer
opportunities for those that might otherwise not have
the chance to see an organic farm in action.

A Sky-Level Answer to the Issue of Food Security

Brooklyn Grange is a pioneer in rooftop agriculture. The 40,000 square foot commercial farm is located on the rooftop of a six-story building in the dense urban environment of Queens, New York. The project integrates traditional intensive green roof design with organic agriculture and permaculture principles to create a commercially viable urban farm. In its first abbreviated growing season the farm raised 13,000 lbs of produce, a number that will be topped in 2011. In its second season (year) of full production, the farm is producing dozens of varieties of vegetables and herbs and is selling the output to local restaurants and direct to the public through farmers markets and CSA (community supported agriculture) shares. This local distribution lowers the fossil fuel consumption by transportation. The farm participates in community outreach programs by providing tours and volunteer opportunities to local residents, schools, community groups and other community members who otherwise would not have an opportunity to experience an organic farm.

The green roof uses a 6”-18” media depth depending on the location, using organic soil media by Rooflite mixed with compost. The roof is designed to use minimal resources. Food scraps, fallen leaves, wood shavings, and other biodegradables are collected from the local community for Brooklyn Grange’s compost program, and this further reduces the amount of inputs needed to maintain the growing medium. As well, the green roof system holds up to 1" of water in reserve, reducing the burden on New York City's stormwater management system and allowing for less frequent crop irrigation. The farm covers all the available space on the roof to maximize growing area and stormwater management capacity.

The farm has entered into uncharted territory in the urban agriculture movement by achieving a scale never before seen in an urban rooftop farm application. This hybrid green roof - farming project has generated global interest and has proven the feasibility of commercial rooftop farming in the urban environment. Brooklyn Grange is an innovator and the roof is continuing to grow. A chicken coop was recently installed and a small flock of Rhode Island Red hens lay eggs and call the roof their home. Four beehives were also added in 2011, and have successfully produced a batch of spring honey. As Brooklyn Grange continues to evolve, it will further cement itself as a successful link between the green roof and urban agriculture communities.

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To view pictures and profiles of the other 2010 winners, please return to our 2010 awards page.

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