Urban Farming: Mars, Antarctica Provide Inspiration for Brooklyn Rooftop Gardens

Jennifer Nelkin believes that the future of high-end, boutique-quality farming is not in California, sunny Florida, or even the fertile soils of the Hudson Valley. It’s right under our noses. Or more accurately, right above our noses.
As co-founder of Gotham Greens, New York’s first commercial rooftop hydroponics operation, Jenn’s got a lot riding on that future. “I really hope that rooftop gardening is a successful venture, because we’ve borrowed $1.4 million to try and find out.”
Located on the roof of a manufacturing plant in Greenpoint Brooklyn, and equipped with solar-powered pumps that feed nutrient-enriched rainwater to an acre of greenhouse space, Jenn’s goal is to produce greens and herbs to sell to local chefs, retailers (Whole Foods has expressed interest), and direct to the public by as early as this fall.
So how does one get involved with a project like this?
I first met Jenn a few months ago at a dinner party that my friend Joshua Levin of and I threw for few local food superstars (including our very own Erin), where she regaled us with stories about greenhouses on Mars.