Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Rooftop farms are the latest thing
The seeds of New York’s rooftop farming industry, planted over the past decade, have yielded a harvest in recent years.
It has grown from a niche industry to a large-scale phenomenon, according to experts, thanks to a change in city regulations and a subsequent spur of investment.
And there’s potential for expansion in the years ahead, especially in Brooklyn and Queens.
“These large-scale greenhouses are advanced and expensive, but more and more consumers and businesses are supporting them,” said Nicole Baum, spokeswoman for Gotham Greens, a rooftop farm operator in Brooklyn.
The city changed its zoning laws in 2012 to allow rooftop greenhouses certain exemptions from limits on height and floor size on commercial and industrial properties. As a consequence, landlords have come to view them as a potential amenity and opportunity for profit.
The city offers plenty of ready-made locations to allow for the industry’s further expansion, according to the Columbia University analysis.
It concluded that there were more than 5,701 private and public roofs in 2013 that, combined, were capable of holding 3,000 acres of rooftop farms. That’s nearly three and a half times the size of Central Park. Neighborhoods with the most rooftop space were Maspeth, Long Island City, Greenpoint and Sunset Park, according to the report.