A Quest to Bring Rooftop Farming to Bushwick… For Good

Some of the designs for the rooftop farm at 214 Starr Street.

At first we couldn’t believe that Bushwick doesn’t already have a rooftop farm. But alas, no. Which is why Brooklyn non-profit EcoStation:NY is trying to bring a the neighborhood’s first community rooftop garden, along with their new headquarters, to the Mayday Space. To fund the project, EcoStation has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the “Farm-In-The-Sky,” which will they hope will conclude construction by the end of September.  The Kickstarter is asking for $30,000 by the not-so distant date of July 10 in order to secure plans and supplies.

EcoStation plans to increase the access to and quality of fresh produce for some of the poorer Bushwick residents. The new space at Mayday will provide 10,000 square-feet of farming area, which will also house a designated classroom area, moveable plant beds and a sustainable solar-powered irrigation system that uses recycled rainwater. EcoStation’s Director of Farms and Education Maggie Cheney told Bushwick Daily that she hopes  the “Farm-In-The-Sky” will employ youth from the neighborhood in order to, “bridge the gap between new people coming into Bushwick and families that have been here for generations.”

A few years back, EcoStation began another “Farm-In-The-Sky” in Bushwick that ran for two seasons before their temporary closing in 2012 in search of a better, more permanent locale. But “Farm-In-The-Sky” 2.0 has longer-term plans, with EcoStation already having signed a five-year lease for the space. Along with their emphasis on youth and education, EcoStation has employed fourteen high school interns to help this plan come to fruition, with half of the Kickstarter funds allocated for the interns’ stipends.

Although there are future plans to sell some of their produce to local restaurants and markets, EcoStation’s primary interests lie in changing the way youth and adults alike think about food and urban agriculture. “It’s not just about the fancy restaurants,” Cheney said in regards to growing local produce in the city. And with some help, hopefully there’s some fresh greenery in all our futures.

To make a donation or learn more about “Farm-In-The-Sky” visit EcoStation’s Kickstarter.

Follow Brie Roche-Lilliott on Twitter @BrieRocheL

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