Eric Michael Johnson for The New York Times - An old Navy warehouse in Sunset Park will be home to a hydroponic greenhouse of up to 100,000 square feet. The developer says it will be the largest such greenhouse in the country.
A NY Times article about the BrightFarms announcement contained the following information about Gotham Greens. This interesting information about their planned expansion was tagged on at the very end of the article. It is becoming apparent that controlled environment hydroponics is going to play a very big role in local food production here in New York City.
The Bright Farms greenhouse will join a half-dozen commercial rooftop farms in New York City. Brooklyn Grange already runs a one-acre operation in Long Island City, Queens, and Gotham Greens, another company, has a hydroponic rooftop garden in the Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Next year, Gotham Greens plans to open three new rooftop greenhouses in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx; added to the 20,000-square-foot Greenpoint greenhouse, the new sites, which will be hydroponic, would raise the company’s total production to 200,000 square feet.
My excitement about this trend is its relationship to personal food production, which is the primary subject of this blog. My belief is that media buzz about commercial hydroponics will help to generate ancillary publicity and acceptance of modern food growing methods by home gardeners as well.
Commercial greenhouse activity will help to motivate individuals to learn about systems such as hydroponics and aquaponics. These are new job sources. Many of these people will become much-needed educators for consumers.
As it is now the word "garden" is virtually synonymous with dirt, or in-ground growing. Although not a synonym, the word hydroponics has all too often been connected to clandestine marijuana growing. This will change. In the process, hydroponics will become family friendly and home “gardening” will enjoy a much wider definition.
Speaking of definitions, it is not widely known that planters employing sub-irrigation (known by many as SIPs) are actually a very simplified form of hydroponics. The key difference is that they do not require air pumps and electric power. Once you get the hang of them, they are very simple systems. Even young children can easily manage them.
Regardless of definition, sub-irrigated planters are arguably the most simple and versatile way of growing personal food in the city. They are a perfect solution for nomadic renters on the move.
Brooklyn is fast becoming the borough of farms. On Thursday, Bright Farms, a private company that develops greenhouses, announced plans to create a sprawling greenhouse on a roof in Sunset Park that is expected to yield a million pounds of produce a year — without using any dirt.
The hydroponic greenhouse, at a former Navy warehouse that the city’s Economic Development Corporation acquired last year, will occupy up to 100,000 square feet of rooftop space. Construction is scheduled to start in the fall, with the first harvest expected next spring. Read more...