Caught by the River

Rooftop Farm, Brooklyn, NY

11th July 2010

Words & Pictures by Martyn Burns.

Amidst the industrial terrain of Greenpoint, Brooklyn sits the magical Eagle Street Rooftop farm – one of the boroughs unique plots and part of the Community Supported Agriculture scheme bringing grower and eater closer together. Up on the roof, this haven of flowering greens, claret berries and newly arrived chickens, forms an amazing juxtaposition with the towering backdrop across the water. Visitors discuss kale and soil make-up while the people in tall buildings can squint and wonder at this green strip, just a few stories up but a world away from the urban sprawl.

The farm works by having its seeds paid for by members who throughout the harvest period reap the rewards every Tuesday evening when pickup takes place. The hard work is carried out by volunteers and apprentices, whom I learned get their own goods from other similar urban farming initiatives, such as Brooklyn Grange. Market days are open to the public and they can also pop along to an educational class, like how to be an urban beekeeper, while some of the most delightful restaurants in the area have their ingredients bicycle delivered. Climbing back down to street level with the Manhanttan skyline bleached in the evening sun, the unassuming warehouse door had been a portal into a realm where city-dwellers can not only support but enjoy the fruits of such initiatives.