In the past fifteen years, New York City has become a hotbed of technological innovation in the urban agriculture sector and home to hundreds of community gardens bringing fresh produce, greenspace, and education to New Yorkers of all ages. There is however, far less commercial agriculture based in the city. In order to better support these resources, Mayor Eric Adams has created the Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture, appointing Qiana Mickie as its chair, in September 2022. This new office will strengthen the role of urban agriculture (both community gardens and private companies) to promote a more sustainable and local food system in NYC. To learn more about where you can get fruits, vegetables, and more grown within the five boroughs, check out the following eight companies making impressive strides in the urban agriculture sector.
Founded in: 2010
Location: Brooklyn Grange has three rooftop farms located in Sunset Park, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Long Island City. The two farms in Brooklyn offer tours, workshops, and private events. Brooklyn Grange also operates, but does not own, the rooftop farms at the Javits Center, Rosemary’s Restaurant, and the Nicotra Group Office Building in Staten Island.
Technology type: Rooftop organic soil farming and hydroponics
Crops: More than 100,000 pounds of produce annually, including leafy greens (such as lettuce, kale, and chard), root vegetables (such as radishes and carrots), fruiting vegetables (such as peppers, tomatoes, and gourds), flowers (such as sunflowers, echinacea, and nasturtium), and more. They also have various hot sauces made with hot peppers grown on the farms.
Where you can purchase: During the primary growing season (spring, summer, and early fall), you can purchase their items directly at their rooftop farm in Sunset Park on Sundays, or at the McGolrick Park farmers’ market in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Additional retailers that sell their products include Fresh Direct, Local Roots, Farm to People, Natoora, Foster Sundry, and The Meat Hook.
- Brooklyn Grange Debuts NYC’s Largest Rooftop Farm In Sunset Park (Bklyner)
- Shepherding Vegetables From Roof to Restaurant (New York Times)
- Take in a Farm Above the Borough With a Tour of Brooklyn Grange (Brownstoner)
- A Farm Grows Atop a Convention Center in NYC (Civil Eats)
- You Can Now Tour the Food Forest Atop the Javits Center (TimeOut New York)
- ‘It’s Just Food:’ Brooklyn Grange’s Compost Dinner Reimagines Food Waste at New Sunset Park Rooftop Farm (Brooklyn Paper)
Founded in: 2016
Location: Their first farm is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but they have also opened facilities in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Springfield, Ohio.
Technology type: Vertical farming in repurposed shipping containers.
Crops: Herbs (such as basil and cilantro), as well as leafy greens that are sold as prepackaged salad mixes.
Where you can purchase: Square Roots produce can be purchased at various supermarkets throughout the city, including Morton Williams, Foodtown, Whole Foods, and Westside Market.
- Square Roots: The Urban Farming Accelerator Feeding Brooklyn Year-Round (Food Tank)
- Square Roots CEO Talks Future of Indoor Vertical Farming, ‘the Demand for Local Food Is Undeniable’ (Food Navigator)
- Indoor Farming Leader Square Roots Expands Distribution with Meijer in Midwest (Perishable News)
- Huge Indoor Farm Opens in Kenosha, Wisconsin (WGN Radio)
- Building 1+1=3 (Heritage Radio Network)
- “Getting to Carbon-Neutral Is Not a Quick Hit, but We’re Able to Look at Every Aspect of the Business” (Vertical Farm Daily)
Founded in: 2011
Location: Gotham Greens owns two rooftop greenhouses in Brooklyn (in Greenpoint and Gowanus) and one in Jamaica, Queens. Outside New York, they also own and operate greenhouses in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia.
Technology type: Rooftop greenhouses and hydroponics
Crops: Primarily salad greens and herbs. They also sell dips, dressings, and sauces made from their produce.
Where you can purchase: Gotham Greens products are sold at various supermarkets throughout the city, including Key Foods, Foodtown, and Shoprite.
- Q&A, Expert Source: Viraj Puri, Co-Founder and CEO of Gotham Greens, an indoor farming company with hydroponic greenhouses located in cities across America (Urban Ag News)
- A Look Inside Gotham Greens’s New High-Tech Indoor Farming Operation in Northern California (North Bay Business Journal)
- Gotham Greens Continues Mission Of Social And Environmental Sustainability With Simultaneous West Coast Expansion And B Corp Certification (Forbes)
- Gotham Greens to Double Its Capacity in 2022 as It Bolsters Retail Footprint (Food Dive)
- Gotham Greens Just Raised $310M to Expand Its Greenhouses Nationwide (TechCrunch)
- Gotham Greens Prepares For Expansion With Additional $310 Million in Funding (Nasdaq)
Founded in: 2013
Location: Their 8,000 square foot greenhouse is located in Morrisania, the Bronx, atop Arbor House, an affordable housing development.
Technology type: Rooftop greenhouse and hydroponics
Crops: Primarily leafy greens and common herbs (such as cilantro, rosemary, and basil), but they also grow some specialty herbs (such as lemongrass and Syrian oregano) and can take some special requests from customers for specific crops.
Where you can purchase: Some Sky Vegetables produce can be purchased through Fresh Direct, but the company also sells to restaurants and retailers throughout the city.
Founded in: 2017
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Technology type: “Minifarms” — climate-controlled growing chambers
Crops: Various types of edible mushrooms, including oyster, shiitake, maitake, and lion’s mane. They also sell grow kits people can use to grow their own mushrooms at home.
Where you can purchase: Smallhold mushrooms are available in retail stores and restaurants across NYC (and beyond). Additionally, through a partnership with Brooklyn Grange’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture – see HERE), members can pick up weekly shares of mushrooms during the CSA season.
- Smallhold is Redefining What it Means to Be “Farm to Table” (nycfoodpolicy.org)
- Smallhold Is Shaking Up the Way We Buy Mushrooms (Food & Wine)
- Brooklyn-Based Mushroom Farm Supplies Restaurants and Stores (CBS)
- How Smallhold Farms Cultivates Rare Mushrooms for NYC Restaurants (Eater)
- These Indoor Farms Are Expanding Beyond Leafy Greens – Thrillist (Thrillist)
- Mushroom Grow Kits: Yes, They Work (New York Times)
- I Ordered Two Bags of Dirt, and a Week Later I Had Mushrooms (Bon Appetit)
Founded in: 2013
Location: East Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Technology type: Aquaponic system — the waste from farmed fish is broken down by soil bacteria, and plants consume the resulting nutrients.
Crops: Microgreens (very young vegetables harvested after only 7 to 10 days) and a hybrid varietal of striped bass.
Where you can purchase: Microgreens are available at select Whole Foods and Westside Market locations, and the fish are available at Greenpoint Fish and Lobster.
- Upward Farms Plans World’s Largest Indoor Vertical Farm (Smart Cities Dive)
- World’s Largest Indoor Farm Aims to Redefine Northeast Supply Chain | Main Edition | lancasterfarming.com (Lancaster Farming)
- This Hybrid Striped Bass Is Raised in Brooklyn (New York Times)
- Upward Farms Expands Aquaponic Offering, Partners With Greenpoint Fish and Lobster for New York Distribution (Business Wire)
- How Jason Green Is Spearheading An Innovative Solution To Growing Food (UPROXX)
- Upward Farms Wins “Vertical Farming Solution of the Year” Award From AgTech Breakthrough (PR Newswire)
Eagle Street Rooftop Farm
Founded in: 2009
Location: The farm is on the roof of Broadway Stages, a film and television studio production company in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Technology type: Rooftop organic soil farming
Crops: Fruiting vegetables (such as peppers, cucumbers, and eggplant), leafy greens (such as spinach, arugula, and kale), herbs (such as dill, cilantro, and tarragon), and flowers (such as zinnias, calendulas, and hops). Hot peppers grown at their farm are also used to create a hot sauce that is sold year-round.
Where you can purchase: Restaurants in North Brooklyn, including Alameda, Achilles Heel, Marlow and Daughters, Rockaway Taco, Ovenly, Eastern District, Eat, Archestratus Books + Food, Littleneck Outpost, and Paulie Gee’s. During the growing season (spring, summer, and early fall), customers can purchase produce directly from their farm on select weekends.
- Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is Bringing Produce to Brooklyn (nycfoodpolicy.org)
- Eagle Street Rooftop Farm (Greenroofs)
- A Visit to Brooklyn’s Eagle Street Rooftop Farm (Inhabitat)
- Five-Minute Mentor: Annie Novak of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm (Modern Farmer)
- Some Like Them Hot. She Likes Them Homegrown. (New York Times)
- Rooftop Gardening Guide For Greenpointers With Green Thumbs (Greenpointers)
- Urban Agriculture and the New Meaning of “Eating Local” (Vogue)
Founded in: 2019
Location: Urby Apartments in Stapleton, Staten Island
Technology type: Soil-based regenerative agriculture.
Crops: From June to October they grow many different types of vegetables, from arugula and cucumbers to mizuna and chrysanthemum greens.
Where you can purchase: Rabbit’s Garden produce is available through a CSA Farm Share membership that runs from June through October.