Still think urban farming is a utopian fantasy? Then be forewarned that your opinion may easily be swayed by this story.
A group of entrepreneurs and urban-farming enthusiasts, with backgrounds as varied as finance, engineering and marketing, helped found and set up a now booming farm (named Brooklyn Grange) in the most unlikely of places: atop a former car-parts factory in Brooklyn, New York. Selling their leafy produce to tenants, in markets and to restaurants exclusively within a 5-6 mile radius, this successful urban experiment has even embarked on educating the city’s youth about healthy eating and sustainable food production.
Needless to say, the time for more urban farms has never been closer. Not only do they greatly enhance food security in urban areas, but it’s also a means of reducing our dependence on large-scale, fossil-fuel intensive industrial farming with its heavy inputs of water, chemical pesticides and fertilizers that are draining the life from our environmental systems.
And with ground in big cities limited, building rooftops are the ideal space for growing crops, helping to cool the building beneath by absorbing the sun’s heat, thereby reducing energy use, and providing residents with fresh produce that just can’t get any more local. Did I neglect to mention that they provide meaningful jobs too?
Now watch this excellent video (produced by the BBC World Challenge) about this “fiscally-sustainable” rooftop farming model, and meet the folks who believe it could be replicated anywhere.