Whole Foods Market is taking the local food trend to a new level with plans for a 20,000 sq. ft. rooftop farm right atop their new Gowanus store. In a recently announced collaboration with Gotham Greens - a Greenpoint-based rooftop farm that only sells produce within 15 miles of its location - the two will operate the nation’s first commercial-scale greenhouse farm above the store, which is slated to open as early as late fall of 2013. When complete, the new farm will eliminate the need for high-emissions food transportation and reduce energy consumption to the few steps it takes workers to walk produce from upstairs to downstairs.
Slated to open as early as late fall of this year, the Gowanus Whole Foods location will employ Gotham Greens to grow high-quality, pesticide-free produce year round. The new greenhouse will integrate advanced irrigation systems using recycled and mineral-enhanced water which will use up to 20 times less water compared to conventional farming practices. Glazing materials and electrical equipment will also be utilized to reduce overall energy use.
“Gotham Greens has been a valued local supplier of high quality, flavorful and fresh produce to Whole Foods Market since early 2011, making this greenhouse project a natural and extremely exciting next step in our relationship,” said Christina Minardi, Whole Foods Market Northeast Regional President. “We’re particularly excited to partner with a local organization with roots right here in Brooklyn and a mission in line with our own, in that we both care deeply about providing local, fresh and sustainably produced food.”
Businessweek reported earlier this year that Gotham Greens was the only rooftop greenhouse in New York City to produce vegetables on a commercial sale. When Superstorm Sandy halted much of food delivery operation into the city as a result of the damage, Gotham was the only farm able to deliver fresh food to Whole Foods stores. Plans for the opening include creation a hub for green collar jobs and economic development opportunities in the borough. The new location also plans to serve as a hub for educational opportunities for local schools to learn about agriculture, farming and environmental initiatives.