It may come as something of a surprise that not all gardens in Brooklyn, New York are earthbound. Many of the most famous gardens and the most productive farms in the borough thrive above our heads on building rooftops.
The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, comprising 39 acres was founded in 1897 and cultivated on an abandoned ash-dump. In the many years since, some of the most exquisite gardens in the world have been created there. The Japanese Hill and Pond Garden, the Rock Garden, the Lily Pool, the Cherry Walk, Rose Garden, Fragrance Garden, The Palm House and Conservancy have been designed, planted, collected, re-modeled and re-imagined. However, atop the recently added Visitors Center is a beautiful and serene rooftop garden that mirrors the long legacy of Brooklyn’s blooming roof tops and lends a gently rolling texture of the floral riot surrounding visitors.
On the shoreline of the East River and with a sweeping view of the Manhattan skyline, the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is a 6,000 square foot green and organic vegetable roof farm founded in 2009. It’s located atop a warehouse rooftop owned by Broadway Stages in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. During New York City’s growing season, the farmers at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm supply an on-site farm market, and bicycle fresh produce to the area’s many restaurants.
With a farm-based education and training team from the food education organization Growing Chefs, the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm hosts a range of farm-based educational and volunteer programs for the public. During growing season, Eagle Street is open to visitors on Sundays at 44 Eagle Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn between 1pm-4pm. To learn more, visit the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm online.
Brooklyn Grange is the leading rooftop farming and intensive green roofing business in the US. They operate the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, located on two roofs in Manhattan – one in Queens and the other in the Old Brooklyn Navy Yards. They grow over 50,000 lbs of organically cultivated produce per year. In addition to growing and distributing fresh local vegetables and herbs, Brooklyn Grange also provides urban farming and green roof consulting and installation services to clients worldwide. What’s more, they partner with numerous non-profit organizations throughout New York to promote healthy living and support for development of strong local communities.
Founded in 2010, Brooklyn Grange set out to grow food on the rooftops and unused spaces of Manhattan, aimed at creating a fiscally sustainable model for urban agriculture while producing a variety of healthy, delicious vegetables for the local community. Plus, doing the ecosystem a few favors as well. Currently, with over two acres of rooftops under cultivation in Brooklyn and Queens, Brooklyn Grange has sold over 500,000 pounds of vegetables to restaurants, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members and directly to the public via weekly farm stands. But they’ve also expanded beyond their original mission: they now keep egg-laying hens and have launched a commercial apiary. Brooklyn Grange’s educational non-profit partner, City Growers, has hosted 17,000 NYC youths each season at tours and workshops.
If you are seeking information about rooftop gardening or farming for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle no matter where your location, these three resources based in Brooklyn are sure to help you get started on a beautiful and productive adventure that will insure success – no matter what your gardening mission.
And in the Borough of Manhattan …
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