Our Winter 2012 photo gallery, “Top This,” showcased innovative and imaginative green-roof designs. Now a burgeoning company is utilizing expansive rooftop spaces in the name of local food. Based in New York City, BrightFarms LLC designs, finances, builds, and operates hydroponic greenhouses atop large buildings—particularly urban supermarkets.
With on-site greenhouses, grocery stores eliminate shipping costs and get fresher produce with a longer shelf life. Shoppers, in turn, can eat “ultralocal.”
BrightFarms currently has demonstration greenhouse projects on the roofs of a Whole Foods Market in Millburn, New Jersey, and the Manhattan School for Children. It has plans to grow produce on top of a McCaffrey’s Market (a small regional chain) and a new housing complex in the Bronx.
Photo: Manhattan School for Children rooftop greenhouse