New Rooftop Farm Opens in LIC

IS10 students plant tomatoes. Sky Farm LIC opens. Credit: Jean Brannum

By Jean Brannum |

Kids, the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, and company executives cut a ribbon marking the official opening of Sky Farm LIC on May 21. 

The one-acre rooftop farm, once owned by Brooklyn Grange, received a makeover after the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens acquired the rooftop property in 2023. The once abandoned rooftop now has a solid footpath, rows of produce growing, and bee hives maintained by Honey House in Astoria. 

To celebrate the opening, children from Horace Greely Middle School visited to receive a VIP tour of the farm, eat watermelon, and plant tomatoes with farmers Alexis Curnutte and Abby Avital. Before planting the tomatoes, the students got the chance to take a whiff of the fishy water that provides nutrients to the plants.

Middle Schoolers received watermelon during their tour of the farm. Sky Farm LIC opens. Credit: Jean Brannum

Among the students were Sherronice Robinson and Alicia Andrews, both 5th graders. 

Sherronice Robinson sniffs fish water, which will provide nutrients to the tomato plants. . Credit: Jean Brannum

“That was fun because we got to like, really get inside the dirt,” Robinson said referring to what it was like to plant the tomatoes. 

Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens CEO Costa Constantinides thanked the project’s sponsors at the opening, including the New York Power Authority, Hydro Quebec, and building owner RXR. The New York Power Authority designed and financed the project. 

“This space is a haven, an oasis in an urban jungle. We have a bonafide farm right here in the middle of Long Island City,” Constantinides said. 

The farm will educate visitors on the practice of growing, preparing, and eating fruits and vegetables. NYPA is sponsoring educational sessions to teach children about climate change and sustainable solutions. LaGuardia Community College, also a partner of the project, will help develop a curriculum for sustainable agriculture. 

This summer, the farm will host summer camp sessions until September which is when school programs start again. Before the opening, the farm was already hosting field trips for local schools. 

Farmer Alexis Curnutte said in a previous interview that she was excited about the opportunity to get kids into farming, especially in the concrete-laden city. 

“I think that giving kids the opportunity to understand where their food comes from, especially in a place like New York is just so exciting,” Curnutte said.” And I certainly wish that I had had something like this when I was their age.”

Students, sponsors, and Boys and Girls Club cuts the ribbon to mark the opening of the Sky farm. Credit: Jean Brannum

The next phase of the project will refurbish the western side of the rooftop where the bee hives are currently located. A new greenhouse is being built to replace the old one, according to landscape architect Michael White. 

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