Sunset Park

Farming takes to the rooftops in Sunset Park

May 29, 2019 Jaime DeJesus
Brooklyn Grange's Navy Yard location. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan
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Brooklyn Grange, a company that specializes in sustainable living, is bringing a brand-new rooftop farm to Sunset Park’s Liberty View Industrial Plaza this summer.

The new installation, located at 850 Third Ave., is slated to open in June. At 140,000 square feet, the farm will be more than double the size of the farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and more than triple the size of the company’s flagship farm in Long Island City.

Related: Green roofs may soon be required on all new buildings in New York City

The operation at Brooklyn Grange is far-reaching. The company acts as a vendor (selling fresh produce to chefs and small grocers through farmers markets and subscriptions), a host (planning weddings, corporate events and tours), and a designer (building and maintaining urban farms and green roofs throughout the city).

In this newest effort in Sunset Park, Brooklyn Grange is working with the Department of Environmental Protection. Community members had the chance to give input at a recent visioning session held by Community Board 7.

“We are very much a triple bottom line business,” said Anastasia Cole Plakias, the company’s co-founder and COO. “We measure our profitability not just financially, but in terms of the value we are creating for our ecosystem and for our community.”

Here's what the Sunset Park farm will look like. Rendering courtesy of Brooklyn Grange
Here’s what the Sunset Park farm will look like. Rendering courtesy of Brooklyn Grange

The Liberty View farm will have a special component: stormwater capture and conservation.

“The Sunset Park farm will manage 164,000 gallons in the farm area, and another 10,000 gallons in the patios and pathways,” Plakias said. “Basically, in a single rainfall, that’s what we’ll be absorbing into our system.”

Though June is fast approaching, the co-founder isn’t expecting all the farm’s plans to be set in stone in the coming month. Brooklyn Grange has a 20-year lease on the property, after all.

“We are farmers,” Plakias said, “We are used to having another season around the corner to make improvements and innovate. The process of figuring out what this farm will look like is still very much in process.”

Once the Sunset Park farm opens, it will host weekly open houses, similar to those at the Long Island City farm, Plakias said. The business relies heavily on its interaction with the community, and Plakias is excited about the opportunities of Sunset Park.

“It is a neighborhood of families and one that cares deeply about maintaining the fabric of the community and that really takes care of itself,” she said. “We’re really thrilled to have the opportunity to build a business that contributes positively to a neighborhood we really admire.”

The visioning session hosted by CB7 went smoothly; Plakias said she was satisfied and excited by the feedback the plans received.

“It was the first of many conversations that we will have,” she said.

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