August 27, 2019
This month, Brooklyn Grange opened its third location and most ambitious rooftop farm to date. The project also represents the largest rooftop farm in New York City. Located atop the Liberty View building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, the farm spans a 140,000 square foot rooftop, produces approximately 30,000 lbs. of vegetables per year, and can manage more than 175,000 gallons of stormwater in a single rainfall. The project was made possible, in part, thanks to a $1.38 million grant provided through the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Green Infrastructure Grant Program.
“Building green infrastructure, including green roofs and rooftop farms, on private property and managing that stormwater is critical to our ability to further improve the health of local waterways,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “Brooklyn Grange has been a terrific leader, partner and innovator in this effort and we applaud their work to spread the message about stormwater management and locally grown food.”
“Our work with DEP over the past several years represents all the good that can come of public/private partnerships,” says Brooklyn Grange Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Gwen Schantz. “These roofs are providing jobs and economic opportunity while also yielding significant environmental and ecological benefits to the city. They’re the product of an ongoing collaboration that brings together DEP’s mission and Brooklyn Grange’s expertise, which is a model that can be replicated in cities across the country and around the world.”
In addition to 55,000 square feet of cultivated space, Brooklyn Grange’s Sunset Park farm includes bluestone paved walkways capable of storing 10,000 gallons of rainfall per rain event, Skypaver brick pathways made of 95 percent post-consumer recycled rubber tires and milk jug plastic, and a 4,800 square foot greenhouse fitted with a hydroponic growing system that will increase the business’ capacity for winter production. Phase 2 of the build will include a 6,000 sq. ft. indoor events hall and sustainability center, set to be completed this winter.
The Brooklyn Grange Sunset Park rooftop farm is one of 34 partners that DEP has committed funding to since the Grant Program launched in 2011. In total, DEP has committed over $15 million to its Grant Program partners who, in turn, have contributed $6.6 million in matching funds. Not-for-profit organizations, private property owners and businesses are eligible for funding for projects that use green infrastructure to reduce or manage stormwater on private property. DEP accepts applications on a rolling basis, year-round. Consideration is given to projects that are cost effective, provide matching funds or other contributions, and include training and workforce development.
Brooklyn Grange often collaborates with DEP through its Green Infrastructure Grant Program to fund installations that are collectively responsible for retaining millions of gallons of rainfall annually, keeping stormwater out of the sewer system and helping to combat Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). DEP’s grant program has previously funded the installation of the business’ Brooklyn Navy Yard farm, as well as a sedum green roof and vegetable garden atop affordable housing developed by SoBro, and several other projects executed by the business’ rapidly growing Design/Build arm. Brooklyn Grange credits much of its growth in this arena to New York City’s proactive approach to integrating green infrastructure, combined with the willingness of forward thinking developers and building owners to invest in long-term improvements to the city’s ecosystem.
Brooklyn Grange is the leading rooftop farming and intensive green roofing business in the US. Spanning three roofs in New York City and growing over 80,000 lbs. of organically cultivated produce per year, Brooklyn Grange is the world’s largest soil-based rooftop farm. In addition to growing and distributing fresh local vegetables and herbs, Brooklyn Grange hosts events and educational programming; designs, installs, and maintains green spaces for clients all over the tri-state area, operates a commercial apiary that includes dozens of naturally managed beehives, and offers urban farming and green roof consulting services to clients worldwide. Brooklyn Grange provides several key ecosystem services, and partners with numerous non-profit and community service organizations throughout New York to promote healthy and strong local communities.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.