Monday, September 21, 2009

A Morning at Rooftop Farms in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

Remember how I mentioned that rooftop farm that my roommate had mentioned to me up in Greenpoint (the neighborhood north of Williamsburg - my neighborhood - in Brooklyn)? Well...I found their website, emailed them, and found out that they have volunteer/community days on Sunday mornings! I mentioned in the email that I used to work at a business with a rooftop farm and have experience gardening, and Annie (Annie Novak and Ben Flanner are the two who run the place) had actually heard of Uncommon Ground (my old place of employment in Chicago). 8:30 this morning I jumped on my bike and headed up to Greenpoint in search of the farm.

Found it (the bike ride was short but very sweet)...and WOW was it amazing. I took a ton of pictures and had a good time, even if I wasn't there for the entire volunteer time (every Sunday from 9-4 pm they have volunteers coming and leaving). Here's what we did with some pictures interspersed in there:

-picked and sorted flowers/herbs for sale (me sorting some flowers)

-re-staked tomatoes (yep, that's the Manhattan skyline...)

-helped set-up and hung out around the farmer's market (that's Annie)

-ate cute little ground cherries

-harvested some dino kale, and more things! Here's some glamor shots just for fun:

Basket of carrots

Just-picked peppers

Chard bundles

Compost bins

Rooftop Farms in Greenpoint is different than other farms I've been to because they don't use raised beds and instead plant directly on the rooftop. It was so awesome being able to be on my hands, literally in the dirt with the plants. The rooftop of the building is turned into a farm with 16 beds and rows between them (and around for runoff) made of green roofing material ( The soil used is also part of their own compost mix and a rooftop blend that makes it super light so that it's easily supported on the roof. People in the community are encouraged to bring scraps of their kitchen remnants, biodegradable trash, and even things like pet hair!

Rooftop farms also works with community youth in the Growing Chefs program, to teach urban farming and appreciation of food preparation as a skill.

Check out Rooftop Farms in Greenpoint, Brooklyn just past Franklin on Eagle Street (heading towards the water), and at their website (which includes links to lots of good literature about them!) -

Also check out the website for Growing Chefs -

All in all, I will definitely be going back and working on this farm as many times as I can. I loved my day there, met many great people, and hope for many more gorgeous days on the farm!


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