NYC Food Based Community Organization Spotlight: Brooklyn Grange

by Alexina Cather, MPH

What they do: Brooklyn Grange (BG) Farm is a rooftop farming, green roofing, and community building business located in New York City. Operating the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, BG produces over 50,000 pounds of organic produce a year. The farm also acts as a living laboratory, hosting educational programming and events, and providing consultation on urban farming, design, and installation services to clients around the globe. By making use of the vacant spaces of New York City, BG Farm seeks to create a sustainable model for urban agriculture in addition to nurturing both the environment and public health.

How they do it: The farm is financed by selling their produce at weekly farm stands, to local restaurants and retailers, and through their CSA program. The farm also hosts private and public events, and designs and installs green spaces.

Mission: Brooklyn Grange is a business that farms rooftops, builds green spaces, and promotes sustainable living and the local ecology through food, education, and events. Brooklyn Grange believes that social enterprise is a powerful driver of positive change, and that businesses should be a nourishing component of their community.

Latest project/campaign: In April, Brooklyn Grange co-founder Anastasia Cole Plakias published a book about the team’s experience launching and operating the business. The Farm on the Roof: What Brooklyn Grange Taught Us About Entrepreneurship, Community, and Growing a Sustainable Business is an inspirational story full of lessons that will be helpful to anyone who aims to create a business that does more than just turn a profit.

Major funding: The Flagship Farm was financed through a mixture of private equity, loans, and grassroots fundraising. Their second farm, the Navy Yard Rooftop Farm, was largely funded through a grant from the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP’s) Green Infrastructure Stormwater Management Initiative.

Profit/nonprofit: Profit

Interesting fact about how they’re working to positively affect the food system: Brooklyn Grange takes a unique, multi-faceted approach to urban farming: cultivating 2.5 acres of rooftop according to organic practices increases access to fresh, healthy foods, but food production is just one of Brooklyn Grange’s goals. They also aim to connect urbanites with food, farming, and nature through education and events; partner with numerous non-profit organizations throughout the city; and to add more green space to the community by designing and installing rooftop farms, terrace gardens, backyard homesteads, and green spaces for private clients and organizations around the city and beyond.


Location: New York City

Core programs:

  1. Flagship Farm
  2. Brooklyn Navy Yard Farm
  3. Brooklyn Grange Bees Apiary

 Number of staff: 12 F/T, 30 P/T/seasonal

Number of volunteers: N/A

Areas served: New York City

Date started: 2010

Directors: Anastasia Cole Plakias, Chase Emmons, Ben Flanner, and Gwen Schantz

Contact information:,, (347) 670-3660


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