Is Brooklyn becoming the new epicenter of the local food movement? It’s possible: Bright Farms’ CEO Paul Lightfoot, a host of politicians, Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz and chef Mario Batali (both clad in Crocs) gathered recently to announce a new project: the world’s largest rooftop greenhouse.
Plans have begun for a 100,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse in Sunset Park, atop what was once called Federal Building #2. Bright Farms has renamed the building Liberty View Industrial Plaza.
25 full time jobs will be created, and the price of the produce grown on the roof will be more affordable—according to some studies, half the cost of grocery store produce can be attributed to transportation. Lightfoot quoted Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan: “Every million dollars spent on local food sales will allow for 13 jobs instead of only three.”
At the announcement Lightfoot also presented his six-year-old daughter Amelia and declared, “We are what we eat, we are what we feed her,” and spoke of building a community where lettuce doesn’t have to travel 13,000 miles before reaching her plate.
In addition to the economic benefits, this project will potentially prevent 1.8 million gallons of storm water from entering the local waterways. The bounty is expected to yield up to one million pounds of local produce per year, which would meet 5,000 New Yorkers’ total fresh vegetable needs.
Want to learn more about urban farming in Brooklyn? Check out this.
Image courtesy of Scott McMurren.