Unveiled to the public in the summer of 2012, Brooklyn Grange’s second rooftop farm installation is now first in sheer square footage in New York City. Twelve stories into the sky above Naval Military Base Federal Building 3, behold; forty eight thousand square feet of beautiful outdoor farming space teeming with plant-profiting wildlife – bees, butterflies, and birds. Noticeably absent are the fruit and seed robbing “pests” such as rodents, deer, squirrels or rabbits. This new kid on the Navy Yard block is now well into its first official growing season.
Located above the intersection of Cumberland and Flushing avenues within the confines of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Brooklyn Grange Navy Yard rooftop farm actually looks down to an adjacent LEED accredited building green roof. Like its sister in Queens, the Brooklyn rooftop farm spans the 65,000 square foot rooftop of a rock solid multi-tenant building within the Naval Yard, whose historical roots reach well into the 1800’s. However, the Brooklyn rooftop farm is built to newer construction standards and boasts several distinctions besides bigger size, ie. one-foot deep lightweight farming soil aggregate specifically designed for rooftop use, lightweight roof pavers for walking areas, a sophisticated irrigation system, and a commercial apiary – with over 30 beehives producing more than 1,500 pounds of honey a year!
A major benefit of the farm is not only providing local communities with healthy, organic produce – but also diverting more than one million gallons of rainwater from the city’s storm water infrastructure, per year. Relieving the stress and cost of excess storm water runoff and water pollution on an already heavily taxed environment has Mayor Bloomberg literally seeing “green”! In addition to all of the great things this farm is doing for the city and the environment, it is also a peaceful place to visit and purchase local veggies.
Every Thursday between 12 noon – 5pm, you can visit the farm. Fresh produce with a teeny, tiny carbon footprint is sold right there, next to the luscious rows of tomatoes, fairytale eggplant, eggplant, green and red bell peppers, ground cherries, specialty mushrooms, various fresh herbs, salad greens, and more! Did you know they also have chickens up there? Yes! Clucking and crowing twelve floors above ground, these natural sounds make you feel like you are on the outskirts of town.
The best way to visit is to drive or ride your bike! There is no subway stop very close to the location – the nearest is the F line at York Street (and Jay Street). While not convenient, you can walk from the subway station to Cumberland via Flushing Avenue. You can also catch the MTA Bus B57, B62, or B69 lines and get within a quick walk away. Then, just jump into the elevator and hit the last button to get to the top floor of building 3. You won’t be left to your own devices. There are signs from lobby to roof that will guide you, double-rainbow, all the way!
If you are excited, intrigued, or just plain curious and want to learn more – visit the Brooklyn Grange website and inquire about volunteer opportunities or like them on Facebook!