It was an overcast and unseasonably cool rainy day in June, but we made our way down to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to tour the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm. We had partnered for the past few years with their urban farm education non-profit, City Growers, and hosted several groups up in our own rooftop garden for pumpkin smashing each fall. It was our turn to pay a visit to their space, learn more about the products they grow and the for-profit side of the business they run.
Even though the skies were grey the farm and views were no less stunning. Companion plants like cornflowers marked each row of vegetable crops and were in full bloom. The cooler crops like lettuces and greens were thriving in the extended rainy spring season, making for lush green rows at every glance.
We learned that like us they also have a private event program that makes up a part of their sustainable and for-profit business model. Unlike us the farm takes up the primary part of the real estate, and there is no full in-house kitchen or restaurant so outside vendors provide the catering. However, that is all soon to change with their next project, a third location to be constructed on a rooftop in Sunset Park’s Industry City. This third farm will be more than double in size of the Navy Yard and Long Island City locations and will also have an indoor event space and fully operational self-operated catering kitchen. We shared insights of our own pertaining to running a sustainable rooftop event space while also catering with local and seasonal food. In the end, we left the conversation and the rooftop feeling inspired about the future of sustainable businesses and urban farming in NYC. We are eager to bring in some of their hyperlocal and fresh rooftop produce to the PRINT kitchen and our guests’ plates and to visit the Industry City location in shall we say 2019?