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Bloomberg Tours New York's Largest Rooftop Garden

By Janet Upadhye | August 2, 2012 4:21pm

BROOKLYN NAVY YARD — Mayor Bloomberg toured the Brooklyn Grange Thursday morning, tasting cherry tomatoes as he trekked through plant beds.

The Grange is New York’s largest rooftop farm and was funded by a city grant to improve water quality. The garden soaks up over 1 million gallons of rainwater each year, helping to keep New York’s sewage systems, streams and harbors clean.

“This is one of the biggest projects we’ve funded as part of our Green Infrastructure program,” said the mayor in a press release. “It will help us meet out PlaNYC goals for a greener, greater New York.”

Chard, eggplant, kale, basil and more are farmed on the 43,000 square foot farm. Rows of salad greens, tomato vines and haystacks look surreal with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. But with very few public spaces to grow vegetables in New York, rooftops gardens are an innovative use of space.

According to Brooklyn Grange Director, Ben Flanner, rooftops gardens also reduce truck time and fuel used to transport produce from across the country. Instead, food can be grown right in the community. The fruit and veggies harvested in the Navy Yard are sold to local restaurants and farmer’s markets. 

“From farming to filming, The Navy Yard continues to prove that success is possible even in the most difficult times,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron in a press release. “The Navy Yard’s rooftop garden is yet another creative way to put this historic space to use to create jobs while serving our community and our environment.”