Rooftop Garden Expected to Deliver 30 Tons of Local-Grown Produce

This year challenges have certainly brought about more than a few positive changes in consumer spending and behavioral patterns amongst the American public. Whether we can attribute that to the economic turndown or growing support for the green movement, these conscious lifestyle changes are, somewhat, refreshing. There is the emergence of “staycationers” opting for the comforts of home this summer, a generation of restaurant regulars reverting back to frequent at-home dining. There has also been a resurgence of gardening; consumers rediscovering (or finding for the first time) their green thumb to save on groceries (and pesticides) with home-grown vegetation… even in cities.

In New York City, private garden space, beyond window boxes, is at a premium and more than $1 billion in vegetables are imported into the city annually. Gotham Greens, a Queens-based organization focused on delivering locally grown, sustainable produce, now has its eye on NYC’s plentiful rooftops to provide the city and its dwellers with fresh fruits and vegetables, grown and harvested in the heart of the Big Apple.

This fall, Gotham Greens will embark on construction of the first hydroponic* rooftop farm in NYC. The planned 12,000 square-foot farm will have a sterile greenhouse powered by solar panels (located on neighboring roof) and use captured rainwater to achieve this water-based, soil-free method of farming. The goal is to produce 30 tons of local-grown fruits and vegetables per year. The first harvest is expected in early 2010 and produce will go to local customers, the first being Whole Foods in NY, and nearby farmer markets.

I am completely intrigued and I, (I’m sure along with about 8 million New Yorkers) am interested to see the realization of this project.

*The hydroponic method of growth relies on plants’ roots to absorb essential mineral nutrients introduced by its water supply, hence making the presence of soil unnecessary for most terrestrial plants. This eliminates fertilizer and pesticide runoff, a leading cause of global water pollution.

Posted by: Katie