Brooklyn getting 100,000-square foot rooftop farm

April 20, 2012 4:40:05 AM PDT
The future is looking bright for a rooftop farm in Brooklyn.

The borough is in line to become the home to a project that will grow a million pounds of produce a year.

The former federal building along Third Avenue will be transformed into a state of the art hydroponic farm. It's so large that it will provide fresh vegetables for up to 5,000 New Yorkers and could become a model for urban agriculture.

The building, a former Navy warehouse, was built in 1916 but has been sitting vacant for the past 12 years. Now renamed the Liberty View Industrial Plaza, the inside will be dedicated to light industry, but the rooftop will be something spectacular - a 100,000-square foot rooftop farm. Vegetables will be grown in water, not soil, and Brooklyn residents will be able to buy the freshest veggies around.

"Rather than being shipped for 3,000 miles from the west coast or from Mexico, the produce will be grown in Brooklyn, harvested and on the shelves within hours," Bright Farms CEO Paul Lightfoot said.

The farm will focus on highly perishable items, like lettuce and tomatoes. The project will put Brooklyn on the leading edge of urban agriculture, while taking advantage of unused space and preventing 1.8 million gallons of storm water from going into local waterways.

"It utilizes space that has not been utilized, just sits there empty, year-round," Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said. "And there's a great need for fresh vegetables for New Yorkers, there's no question about it."

Bright Farms is currently talking to several supermarkets for an exclusive deal to sell its produce. The farm should be up and running in about a year.

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