Farm in Brooklyn: Rooftop Greenhouse to be World's Largest

PHOTO: BrightFarms greenhouse
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New York City and farming. Those two ideas don't typically find themselves in the same sentence, but a Manhattan-based company is out to change that with its latest development in the realm of sustainable urban living.

BrightFarms, a firm that designs, finances and builds greenhouse farms, announced a partnership with Salmar Properties today that will allow them to build a 100,000-square-foot farm right on Brooklyn's industrial waterfront. It will be the largest of its kind in the world, they said, providing up to one million pounds of local produce per year.

The hydroponic greenhouse does not use soil to grow its crops -- including lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs -- but uses technology in which mineral nutrients are absorbed directly from the water in which the plants are grown.

BrightFarms CEO Paul Lightfoot said, pending the city's approval, construction for the farm should begin later this year, and it should be finished in early 2013. He said it will help revitalize the neighborhood economy and revolutionize local produce.

"The USDA tells us that for every $1 million of local foods sold, 13 jobs are supported, so we're hoping to take jobs that have gone to other parts of the country or to the world and bring them back to Brooklyn," Lightfoot said. "We want to promote the Brooklyn economy by bringing better produce to New Yorkers."

The rooftop farm will grow enough crops to meet the fresh vegetable consumption needs of up to 5,000 New Yorkers, according to BrightFarms officials, promoting healthier lifestyles throughout the city.

"The farm will contribute meaningfully to my vision to improve New York City's food system," Christine C. Quinn, New York City Council speaker, said in a statement, "by dramatically increasing local food production while positively affecting public health, the economy, and the environment."

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