A Rooftop Garden Grows in Brooklyn

Watch seven months of urban farming fly by in a matter of minutes.

Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor. He has written for The Awl, The New Inquiry, and elsewhere.

New York City may be buried in snow today, but for a good half of the year there’s enough warmth, sun, and rain to grow any number of crops. Of course, the problem in the densely populated city, in living as in farming, is space.

That is why the urban ag crowd in Brooklyn have taken to the rooftops, specifically 65,000 square feet above the Brooklyn Navy Yard—the largest rooftop garden in the world. In this mesmerizing time-lapse video, shot over the course of seven months, you can see the building go from white roof to dirt to a blanket of the varied greens of a vegetable farm. The produce—an abundance of tomatoes, salad greens, peppers, kale, chard, and more—gets sold at local farm stands and through CSAs.

The perspective the video offers shows just how extensive—and urban—Brooklyn Grange is. And if you keep an eye on the bottom left corner of the screen, you can see how, seemingly in an instant, a bed becomes polka-dotted with yellow and brown after the sunflowers bloom.   

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