What is in this article?:
- Growth Industry: SNâ€™s Produce Spring Supplement
- Produce Traceability, Immigration Reform
- Drinks With Fresh Ingredients Popular at Restaurants
- Hot Weather Kick-Starts Gardening Season at Lin’s
- Rise in Healthy Home Cooking Spurs Herb Growth
- BrightFarms to Build Largest Rooftop Greenhouse
- Produce Newswatch
ON IMMIGRATION REFORM:
"We’ll remain engaged with key members of Congress to find solutions that address concerns not only about protecting our borders and national security, but also having a workable guest worker program. Without a guest worker solution for agriculture and the produce industry, we just can’t support E-Verify or other measures that disrupt our labor force. It’s a very critical issue for us."
— David Krause, president of Paramount Citrus and incoming chairman of United Fresh Produce Association
BrightFarms to Build Largest Rooftop Greenhouse
By MATTHEW ENIS
NEW YORK — BrightFarms, a designer, financer and operator of rooftop hydroponic greenhouses, has announced plans to build the world’s largest rooftop greenhouse on top of Liberty View Industrial Plaza, a former U.S. Navy building in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. The 100,000-square-foot facility is ultimately expected to grow up to 1 million pounds of produce per year — including tomatoes, lettuce and herbs — which will be sold to local retailers.
“The partnership between BrightFarms and Salmar Properties to build the world’s largest rooftop farm is an exciting new model for sustainable, urban agriculture,” New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a press announcement. “The farm will contribute meaningfully to the mission of FoodWorks, my vision to improve NYC’s food system by dramatically increasing local food production while positively affecting public health, the economy and the environment.”
The facility will also prevent about 1.8 million gallons of storm water runoff from entering local waterways each year.
The administration of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been making efforts to revitalize Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront, and Paul Lightfoot, chief executive officer of BrightFarms, said that the city had approached his company about developing a greenhouse after the site was zoned for light manufacturing.
“The city of New York and the borough of Brooklyn have been green partners,” Lightfoot told SN. “They brought us into this project, actually. So, in many ways, it’s a model for, we think, other cities that are interested in local food. It’s one of the best public-private partnerships we’ve seen.”
BrightFarms is still a relatively new company. From 2008 through 2010, in its previous incarnation as BrightFarm Systems, the company was a commercial design consultancy that provided support to supermarkets and other companies interested in developing rooftop greenhouses of their own. The current company was formed from a merger of BrightFarm Systems and Better Food Solutions in January 2011, and is now set up to finance and build greenhouses on its own, and then sell the resulting produce to local retailers as part of long-term agreements.
Last October, BrightFarms announced that it had developed one of these arrangements with Langhorne, Pa.-based McCaffrey’s Markets.
“That project is well under way,” Lightfoot said. “We’re going to be breaking ground in late June, and we’ll be shipping to McCaffrey’s stores by the fourth quarter this year. We couldn’t be more excited about it.”
And, the company recently announced that Best Yet, a local New York supermarket chain, had become the first retailer to carry its produce, sourced from a facility in Huntington, N.Y.