Walking along the pavement in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, you may not know it, but there is a farm lurking nearby. Passing the seemingly innocuous warehouse that stands under the farm may be part of your daily routine, but just a few floors off the ground is a totally different world. And that world is green.Â
The brainchild of Annie Novak and Ben Flanner, Eagle Street Rooftop Farms is a 6,000 square foot organic rooftop vegetable farm right along the East River! Founded in 2009, Eagle Street Rooftop Farms aims to make the most of this city’s finite amount of space by creating a sustainable farm, with a few job opportunities too, on the roof of an old warehouse. By providing the community with fresh and delicious produce, through their weekly farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, these farmers are trailblazers in the local food movement. They also host a variety of fun and informative events and lectures for the community, ranging from an introductory course in beekeeping to a “Night-Harvest” for CSA members to meet and pick their own bounty. Additionally, Eagle Street Rooftop Farms supplies many local Brooklyn restaurants with their vegetables, cutting the costs and energy spent on shipping in vegetables from afar while cultivating lasting relationships between producer and consumer.
Furthermore, Eagle Street Rooftop Farms is not just beneficial for the community. The green roof installed on the farm can hold over 1.5″ of rainwater, reducing the water runoff during storms and decreasing the pressure on the city’s water system. The water retained, in addition to watering the plants, helps to cool the warehouse underneath, cutting cooling costs for the building. The benefits of rooftop farming, both for the community and for the business that support them, cannot be ignored, and Eagle Street Rooftop Farms hopes to be a model for future farmers and supporters interested in bringing local food to an urban environment. In fact, Ben has co-founded Brooklyn Grange Farm, a rooftop farm in Long Island City, Queens, proving that urban farming is sustainable and accessible.
For more information about Eagle Street Rooftop Farms, or to check out new events and opportunities, visit their website. Interested in other urban farms? Learn about Added Value and their community-centric initiatives and Brooklyn Grange farm in Queens, New York.