The Brooklyn Grange is at it again with a new rooftop farm, this time with a 45,000 square foot roof on top of Building No. 3 at the Brooklyn Navy Yards, and the views couldn’t be better. The site is a real working farm with vegetables, flowers, bees and live chickens, right there on the Brooklyn waterfront. The full installation was completed in July and weathered the storm known as Sandy relatively unscathed, although the beehives were blown off the roof and scattered around Brooklyn (they've since raised funds to replace them).
The roof is prepared for growing by first installing a series of non-porous and porous media over which a growth medium is spread. A drainage system allows water from heavy rain storms to either be used by the plants at a later time (which minimizes water use) or allows storm drainage to move more slowly to the sewer system (which works toward preventing sewer overflows).
The Navy Yards might seem like an odd location for a rooftop farm, but since the days following the Revolutionary War, the site has been a hub of activity. Production in the Navy Yards happened in waves, first with merchant vessels after the Revolutionary War, then with warships after the U.S. government purchased the site in 1801, then with commercial ships made by a private company that purchased the site in the 1960s. At its peak, during World War II, the Navy Yards employed over 70,000 people, 24 hours a day. Now, the site is home to Steiner Studios, one of the country’s largest film and television studios, Brooklyn Navy Yards Arts, an artists' association and 200 other businesses that, together, employ more than 5,000 people. The rooftop farm is the perfect addition to an area already accustomed to high levels of productivity.
Check out the slide show to see what a rooftop farm installation looks like.