Last year, Scott Bromley and Jerry Caldari’s firm, Bromley Caldari Architects, participated in one of the coolest projects ever, helping to turn the roof of an industrial building in Long Island City, Queens, into the largest rooftop farm in the country. Scott and Jerry’s client, Brooklyn Grange, a commercial organic farming business, sells the produce they grow on the 40,000-square-foot rooftop to local restaurants and markets. The building, which was constructed in 1919, is built like a rock with a roof of reinforced concrete that now supports roughly 1.2 million pounds of soil growing hundreds of thousands of plants, including tomatoes, salad greens, herbs, carrots, fennel, beets, radishes, beans, and many other crops. It’s as if Green Acres moved to Park Avenue.
Scott Bromley and Jerry Caldari were the architects for Brooklyn Grange, the largest rooftop farm in the country, located at 37-18 Northern Boulevard, in Long Island City, Queens.
The concrete slab roof of this former manufacturing facility in the heart of Long Island City was the perfect structure to house the farm.
The one-acre (40,000 square foot) farm in comprises roughly 1.2 million pounds of soil and more than 20,000 linear feet of green roofing material.
The farm has a significant positive environmental impact. The green roof insulates the building, lowering heating and cooling costs. It will also increase the lifespan of the roof and reduce water runoff, which can prevent flooding.
Although it’s a privately owned and operated enterprise, Brooklyn Grange is community oriented and open to the public. School groups, families, and volunteers are welcome to visit, participate, and learn. This is a green space that contributes to the overall health and quality of life of the community, bringing people together through green business and around good food. Photograph © Donnelly Marks.
Head farmer Ben Flanner with a truckload of produce ready to sell directly to the local community from several weekly farmstands and markets, as well as to several local restaurants including Roberta’s in Bushwick, Vesta in Astoria, Marlow & Sons, Joseph Leonard, Fatty ‘Cue, Eat, Juliette, and others.