Local produce, high above LIC
by Holly Tsang
Jul 13, 2010 | 1190 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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When there's a demand for locally grown produce and space is limited, you try to work with what you have. What Long Island City has is a lot of buildings – and on the roof of one is where New York City's largest rooftop farm calls home.

At a “vegetable cutting” ceremony last Wednesday, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, joined by Speaker Christine Quinn, welcomed the Brooklyn Grange to Queens for a new season of fresh produce.

“The opening of the Brooklyn Grange is great news for Long Island City and the borough of Queens,” said Van Bramer. “The freshly picked and locally grown produce provided by this rooftop farm will help our local businesses, increase access to nutritious food, and raise awareness about the greening potential of New York City.”

The Brooklyn Grange is one acre in size, made up of 1.2 million pounds of soil, over 20,000 feet of green roofing material, and an advanced irrigation system. Over 15 different crops are currently grown, including bok choy, kale, and rainbow Swiss chard.

“An urban rooftop farm provides a mutually beneficial relationship between the community and the farm,” said Ben Flanner, Brooklyn Grange’s head farmer. “We welcome neighbors up to the farm, and it's really nice to see and know the people that we grow for.”

Visiting hours are every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m., during which the public is invited to check out the farm and purchase fresh produce at the on-site market.

“Such innovative green initiatives to utilize our rooftops for urban farming will contribute to the overall health and quality of life in our communities,” said Van Bramer. “A tree may have once grown in Brooklyn, but the Grange lives here in Queens.”

The Brooklyn Grange is located on the roof of 37-18 Northern Boulevard in Long Island City. For more information, visit brooklyngrangefarm.com.

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