Visit a Farm this Summer: Brooklyn Grange, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, Gotham Greens, and JetBlue’s T5 Farm at JFK

by Alexina Cather, MPH

By Lauren Lindstrom

In the fourth post of our Farm Series, we highlight three for-profit farms with a strong focus on sustainability and environmental stewardship and one corporate-owned farm bringing innovation to JFK airport.

Brooklyn Grange

Two Locations: Navy Yard Rooftop Farm, Clinton & Flushing Aves, Building 3, Brooklyn (Brooklyn Navy Yard) and Long Island City Rooftop Farm, 37-18 Northern Boulevard, Queens (Long Island City)

Founded: In 2010, by Ben Flanner (a co-founder of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm), Anastasia Cole Plakias, and Gwen Schantz

One of the many reasons they’re amazing: Brooklyn Grange is a profitable, commercial-scale urban farming business dedicated to sustainable farming practices, environmental stewardship, and education—for kids and adults  

Farm size: 2.5 acres across the two farms

What’s growing: Vegetables, microgreens, herbs, honey, flowers

Amount produced annually: 50,000 pounds of food

Where to find their products: At their weekly farm-stands: Long Island City rooftop farm (Saturdays from 11am-4pm; May-Oct) and McGolrick Park in Greenpoint (Sundays from 11am-4pm; May-Nov); through their CSA; and at restaurants and retail stores through their wholesale program

When to visit: The LIC, Queens rooftop is open to the public during their weekly open house on Saturdays, mid-May through October (the Brooklyn Navy Yard farm does not have a weekly open house). The farm also offers ticketed tours: Mondays at the Brooklyn Navy Yard at 10am and 11:30am, and Thursdays at the LIC, Queens farm at 10am and 11:30am; advanced registration is required, sign up here

Take the kids: School and other youth groups are welcome to visit the farm through the Grange’s sister organization City Growers, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting urban communities with agriculture, food, and environment through educational farm explorations; visit their website for more information

Online: Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

Location: 44 Eagle Street, Brooklyn (Greenpoint)

Founded: In 2009 as NYC’s first rooftop farm, by Annie Novak and Ben Flanner in partnership with Goode Green and Broadway Stages

One of the many reasons they’re amazing: This farm offers workshops through Novak’s field-to-fork nonprofit, Growing Chefs, which teaches kids and adults about urban farming and green roofs

Farm size: 6,000 square feet

What’s growing: Vegetables, including chili peppers used in a Brooklyn-based hot sauce and herbs; they also host Brooklyn Honey hives

Amount produced annually: N/A

Where to find their products: At their Sunday Farmers’ Market on-site and at local restaurants within bicycling distance of the farm

When to visit: Open to the public on the last Sunday of the month from 1-4pm (May-Oct 30)

Take the kids: Workshops and site visits for students (children and adults) are available by appointment; visit their website for more information

Online: Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Gotham Greens

Four Locations: (1) 810 Humboldt Street, Brooklyn (Greenpoint), their flagship greenhouse; (2) Gowanus, Brooklyn on the roof of Whole Foods; (3) Greater Jamaica, Queens, their largest in NYC; and (4) Chicago, the “World’s Largest Rooftop Farm”

Founded: In 2009; they built their flagship greenhouse in 2011

One of the many reasons they’re amazing: They built the first commercial-scale rooftop greenhouse in the country and grow produce using recirculating irrigation systems, free of harmful chemical pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides

Farm size: 170,000 square feet across the four greenhouses, 95,000 square feet of which are in NYC

What’s growing: Salad greens, lettuces, tomatoes, and herbs

Amount produced annually: Their four greenhouses sell more than 20 million heads of lettuce and other leafy greens every year, about 10 million of which is produced by their NYC farms

Where to find their products: Grocery stores and restaurants throughout NYC

When to visit: Gotham Greens is privately held and the four greenhouses are generally closed to the public because of food safety restrictions. That being said, every Friday this summer and fall, they are hosting free meet-ups from their observation deck on top of Whole Foods in Gowanus (214 3rd street, Brooklyn, NY 11215) where folks can learn about the company’s products, sustainable growing practices and get a taste of what they’re growing at Gotham Greens!

Online: Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

JetBlue’s T5 Farm at JFK

Location: Terminal 5 at JFK airport

Founded: In 2015, as a collaboration between JetBlue, TERRA Vegetable Chips, and the Port Authority of NY and NJ

One of the many reasons they’re amazing: The Farm-to-Air project donates fresh, local food to food banks and gives JetBlue customers a green respite from the cloisters of airplane travel

Farm Size: 24,000 square feet

What’s growing: Blue potatoes, arugula, beets, mint, basil, and more

Amount produced annually: 3,000 crates of produce

Where to find their products: Currently not available for purchase; the blue potatoes are used by TERRA’s nearby factory to research new flavors and ideas for their blue potato chips (served aboard the airline); produce is donated to local New York communities through GrowNYC or used by other Terminal 5 businesses; crew members who volunteer can take produce home after every shift

When to visit: They’re working to open up the farm to all JetBlue customers; in the meantime, customers can reach out to to request a tour; JetBlue crew members can visit each Tuesday and Friday this summer

Photo credit: Jet Blue

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