In the spring of 2009 Eagle Street Rooftop Farm founders, Ben Flanner and Annie Novak, planted the first seeds on top of this low slung warehouse. The building is owned by Gina and Tony Argento of Broadway Stages, a Greenpoint–based sound stage company. Other tenants of the warehouse complex, which occupies the entire western half of the block between Eagle and Freeman include Spa Steel Products, East Coast Lighting, Courier Packaging, and ACE Brooklyn Bagel.
The Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is a 6,000 square foot green roof organic vegetable farm [CNN video coverage]. The farm realizes the benefits of a green roof - capturing stormwater (up to one and a half inches), reducing energy costs, and mitigating the urban heat island effect - while providing fresh and healthy produce to city dwellers.
Food In its first season, the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm yielded over 30 different kinds of produce. The most successful plants were tomatoes, microgreens, alliums, and herbs. Production per square foot yielded highest on tomatoes, kale, and chard while winter squash fared the worst. At market, mixed salad greens received the best price per foot planted. Plans for 2010 included a narrower crop list, with a wide diversity of heirloom and rooftop acclimated varities of produce within each crop type. The farm runs a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that sells crop shares to its neighbors. The CSA program has been so succesful that there is a waiting list to get a share, but fret not, you can still get your fix of Eagle Street produce by stopping by their Sunday farm market (open Sundays 10am-4pm during the growing season) or by eating at one of the restaurants they sell to: Anella, Eat, Marlow and Sons,Manducati Rustica, Paulie Gee’s, and Vesta. It should also be noted that when it comes to food, vegetables aren't the only thing coming off this rooftop. Eagle Street Rooftop honey is harvested from two beehives installed by Andrew Cote of Silvermine Apiaries and a flock of chickens produces a limited quanity of eggs and fertilizer for the crops.
Eagle Street Rooftop farm uses a large threen bin system made out of recycled pallets to compost food waste, coffee grounds, coffee chaff, rabbit and chicken manure. Design & Installation The green roof system was designed and installed by Goode Green using components - polyethelene sheets, drainange mats, and retention and separation fabrics - manufactured by Conservation Technology. Approximately 200,000 lbs of rooflite, a shale based soil composite made by Skyland USA, were lifted onto the roof by crane and distributed into sixteen north-south beds measuring a maximum of four feet in width and 4-7 inches in depth. The installation of the green roof cost approximately $10 per square foot, which is is signicantly lower than most green roof installations due to the acccesibility of the roof and the use of recycled materials whereever possible. Since evaporation and wind make overhead watering inappropriate, irrigation is provided via black plastic drip lines. A rainwater harvesting system is being constructed for 2010.
Community Outreach & Education Over the course of the 2009 growing season, over 30 different schools and groups learned about their food’s journey from "field to fork" at rooftop workshops presented by Growing Chefs. Growing Chefs also hosted workshops at Eagle St on urban gardening, seed-saving, bees and beekeeping, the art of cooking locally, composting, and the benefits of green roofs. On Sundays during the growing season (May through October), the Eagle Street Rooftop Farms welcomes volunteers who are interested in helping out or learning how to farm. Everyone is welcome regardless of experience, and to give volunteers a break from the midday heat there are free workshops that start at 2pm. In addition to weekly volunteer opportunities throughout the growing season, the farm offers several internships and apprenticeships. For more information or to join the volunteer list, email Annie Novak at email@example.com.