In July–August 2019, we are visiting USA for one month to participate in Summer Seminar on Stakeholder Theory in University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and Academy of Management 2019 conference in Boston. Along with these scholarly activities, we visit urban green areas where we go.
While New York, with more than 8 million inhabitants, is the most densely populated major city in the US, there are surprisingly plenty of green areas both at the street level and on the rooftops. Green roofs are nowadays seen as a significant way of maintaining and improving urban living conditions. Green roofs and rooftop gardens mitigate the urban heat island effect, contribute to stormwater management, and offer places for rejuvenation and social activities for urban dwellers.
Brooklyn Grange operates the world’s largest rooftop soil farms located on three roofs in New York City. We visited the Brooklyn Navy Yard that was established in 2012 on an old industry roof in Brooklyn after the navy moved out from the area. The rooftop area is 65,000 square feet with 50,000 square feet of cultivated area.
The mission of the Brooklyn Grange is to provide healthy food for people in the city. As the production is over 80.000 pounds of organic food yearly, it is a large-scale farm. The products are sold to local restaurants and individuals. The farm is for profit and the production has been profitable from the second year on. However, the farm follows the triple bottom line ideology and engages with social and environmental causes.
The New York infrastructure is old and the water and sewage pipes are build underground. Heavy rains are frequent, and with flooding, there is a continuous threat that the stormwater is mixed with the sewage water and the mix ending up in the surrounding rivers. The green roof space of the Brooklyn Grange delays 1 million gallons of water from going to the pipes of New York.
The Brooklyn Grange offers a resting place for migrating birds and a variety of butterflies. It is a farm, not a garden, which is proved by the chickens living there. They have been hand raised by local school kids, who have named them humorously as, for example, Justin Bieker and Chicky Menage.
The Brooklyn Grange farms are open to visitors. They organize open houses, farm tours, workshops, yoga classes, dinners and even weddings. We visited the Brooklyn Navy Yard rooftop farm and enjoyed the tour a lot. Advance booking is needed for the tours.
For more information, visit: https://www.brooklyngrangefarm.com.