I was introduced to the Brooklyn Grange project through a friend who is doing work for the collective. This project is working to create new and sustainable methods of urban farming in Brooklyn, NY. Currently Brooklyn Grange occupies two rooftops and is growing over 40,000 pounds of organic produce a year. Although only three years old, this project has made incredible leaps and bounds towards developing urban farming methods that can be considered for future expansion of urban space.
Their mission is “To create a fiscally sustainable model for urban agriculture and to produce healthy, delicious vegetables for our local community while doing the ecosystem a few favors as well.” The intentions of this project are pretty obvious, create a path for future city development through the passion these people share for farming, but the challenge of doing this in a way that appeals to the community and people outside the community is the issue. We have all heard the arguments surrounding the “local” movement and the importance of creating sustainable living methods, but whether or not people are willing to accept the challenge is the real issue we face. Through projects like Brooklyn Grange, people are introduced to the importance and success of these sustainable developments on a daily basis. With only two rooftop farms in action, the BK Grange has produced over 40,000 pounds of fresh produce per year, suggesting the immense possibilites available through rooftop conversion. According to the USDA “Fact Book”, the average American consumes roughly 20o pounds of fresh vegetables a year. This means that with only two rooftops, equivalent to only about two acres, Brooklyn Grange provides for over 200 Americans a year. Imagine the possibilities! Seeing is believing, and having a rooftop farm in view from your office or apartment window on a daily basis can have some profound impact on your understanding of urban growth possibilities.
I believe that the biggest obstacle we face in the movement towards a “Localvore” sense of consumption is convincing people that this is in fact the step forward we must take. It is hard to move away from the practices we have had in play for so long, but the time has come where we must make a decision about how we will adapt to our changing global situation. Continuing to consume products through impractical means of shipping and receiving will, at some point, no longer stand as a feasible option of consumption and instead of having to deal with the total collapse of this system we need to begin incorporating more sustainable methods into our daily lives. Although I, and I would assume Brooklyn Grange, don’t believe that the solution is as simple as converting our rooftops to Green spaces I do believe that projects such as these open our eyes to the possibilities for the future. Through a combination of methods put forward by these progressive thinkers, I believe that we can create a more environmentally friendly means of consumption and sustainability.
What do you think? Are projects like these a step in the right direction, or merely a temporary solution to keep people happy? And, if you’re not convinced, what do you think is the next step forward?