Taking greening to a whole new level in Brooklyn

We’ve been writing a lot about greening lately and recently announced our Toronto’s Green Theatres project, an initiative to start a movement towards energy efficient, low carbon footprint theatre facilities.  In my spare time I’m a passionate supporter of local food and contribute to a food blog which focuses on issues of food security.  While my peers at Folks Gotta Eat navigate the complex issues around food policy I tend to contribute posts that are a bit more homespun – recipes highlighting seasonal produce and documenting my urban gardening adventures.

So when an article from the Mayor’s office in New York crossed my twitter feed I can’t begin to explain how excited I was!  Art and food production!  Together!

Tucked away on top an old warehouse atop of one of Broadway Stages’ numerous production facilities, is a 6,000 square foot urban farm.

Brooklyn-based Broadway Stages is one of New York City’s largest full-service film & television, music video production and commercial studio facilities. In addition to employing thousands of people, and creating hundreds of local jobs they are home to the first solar powered sound stage and the first organic rooftop farm in New York City.

Now in its third growing season Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is a collaboration between Broadway Stages and the green roof design and installation firm Goode Green.

The farm also operates a small community supported agriculture (CSA) program, and an onsite green market, and caters to area restaurants even going so far as to deliver the produce by bicycle. Additionally, in partnership with Growing Chefs, the rooftop farm hosts a range of educational and volunteer programs designed to bring city-dwellers closer to their food source. They invite the community to compost on-site and for many of the school groups who visit, it’s their first time visiting a farm or putting their hands in the earth.

Among the produce grown on the farm by a team of volunteers are kale, tomatoes, and radishes, which are irrigated by collected rainwater.

What a great example of going above and beyond in greening efforts and creating unique partnerships.  It makes sense to me as food and art so often seem to go hand in hand in the building of neighbourhoods.  Like Arcola Theatre in London with its green roof, vegetarian organic café and community potlucks the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm has become a community hub and meeting place for its neighbourhood.  While my sincere hope is that through Toronto’s Green Theatres initiative all of the venued facilities here in Toronto will work to make their spaces as energy efficient as possible (and save themselves operating expenses in the process) I’d love to see just how creative we could be!  Who knows? Maybe we’ll be seeing carrots and beans on Tarragon’s roof next season!

6000 sq foot urban farm in Brooklyn

Shana Hillman

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