URBAN ROOFTOP FARMING
Alice Waters opened her legendary restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California in 1971.
Consistently ranked among the World's 50 Best Restaurants, Chez Panisse is famous for its
organic, locally-grown ingredients and for pioneering California cuisine.
While studying in France, Alice lived at the bottom of a market street where she shopped for
local produce and prepared simple fresh foods in order to enhance the experience of the table.
She eventually returned to California and opened Chez Panisse. Realizing the difficulty in
sourcing fresh, high-quality ingredients, Waters began building a network of local farmers,
artisans, and producers.
NEW YORK CITY: Alice Waters' vision is beginning to come into focus right here in NYC.
There are currently ten Urban Farms being cultivated within the five boroughs.
For the first time since the 1800's, New York City is again home to local farms being cultivated
in our city's parks and on the rooftops of solidly built factory buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
The Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farms, with over two acres of rooftops under cultivation in
Brooklyn and Queens, has sold over 120,000 lbs. of vegetables to restaurants, CSA members,
and directly to the public via weekly farm stands. They have recently expanded their mission
beyond growing vegetables to keeping egg-laying hens and cultivating bees for their honey. "We guarantee freshness unheard of in New York City restaurants because everything is picked thevery same day it is delivered."
The Eagle Street Rooftop Farm at 44 Eagle St. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn cultivates a 6000
sq. ft. organic vegetable farm that calls its produce "bicycle fresh". It already serves such
restaurants as Anella's, Spritzenhaus, and Marlow and Sons.
The Bellbook and Candle Restaurant Rooftop Garden is an aeroponic rooftop tower
garden that supplies fresh picked herbs and produce to the restaurant daily.
Whole Foods Rooftop in Gowanus, Brooklyn supplies Whole Foods Stores in Manhattan,
Brooklyn, and Queens with the freshest of produce grown according to organic standards.
In addition to these commercially available farms, the Battery Park Urban Farm, Hell's Kitchen Farm, Randall's Island Urban Farm, the Bushwick Campus Farm on Irving Ave. in Brooklyn, and LaFina del Sur on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, all operate edible farms for local food pantries, greening projects for the city's improvement, and educational farms for university study. The New York City Parks Green Thumb Program plants 600-plus sites throughout the five boroughs.
Advantages: A ready supply of the freshest produce to NYC residents and visitors is not the only advantage of these Urban Farming Projects.
- Each farm, small or large, adds to the green space in what was fast becoming a concrete jungle devoid of any life giving plants.
- Every plant grown on a rooftop or in a park garden improves the air quality of the city.
- Through plant photosynthesis, and the required watering, each farm reduces the heat of its neighborhood location.
- Every restaurant that orders from a local rooftop farm eliminates one more delivery truck in the city.
ALICE WATERS' DREAM: Prepare fresh, organically grown ingredients with simple, natural
recipes that enhance and preserve natural flavors, and you will create a revolution in food
For the first time in history, restaurants throughout the five boroughs have an opportunity to
create the same network of local suppliers that Alice Waters envisioned.
New York's Urban Rooftop Farms began as an experiment in environmental enhancement,
agricultural education, and an attempt at the "greening" of a concrete wasteland. They have
evolved into a budding network of fresh food suppliers just like Alice Waters so carefully
cultivated back in the seventies in California.
EVERY CHEF IN NEW YORK should consider sourcing fresh produce from a New York City grower. As these urban farmers evolve, our Chef's will have the opportunity to customize these farms to their own individual specifications. Imagine having a farmer right down the block willing to grow produce to your order and pick it the day you will serve it. This was Alice Waters' dream. It could fast become a reality here in New York City.