Archive for November, 2011

Wonderful Summer and Fall pictures of a great Green Roof and Rooftop Garden come to us today from Future Green Studio of New York City, design/build contractor on the project.

David Seiter, Principal at Future Green, provided the beautiful pictures of the blooming roof, and the description below.

360 Smith

This green roof sits atop a new residential building in the heart of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, blocks away from Gowanus Canal. Built-in cedar screens and planters delineate seating, dining, lounging, and play areas. The unique 360 degree view of the Manhattan skyline and of downtown Brooklyn offers a dramatic backdrop for this extensive green roof which functions not only as a place of repose and relaxation but also serves the vital role of stormwater retention – an key component for any urban roof site.

The green is roof is 6700 sf.  The rooflite depth is 3.5 inches for most areas.  We used the optigreen drainage profile from Conservation Technology and installed Sempergreen green roof sedum mats.

 The plants in the planters are a mixture of drought tolerant grasses and perennials and include the following:

Lavender ‘Munstead’

Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’

Pennisetum ‘Little bunny’

Stipa tenuissima

Fescue ‘Suberba’

The planting strips are low mounds with a soil depth of 5-6inches and are planted with Sedum hispanicum var. minus & Fescue ‘Elijah’s Blue’

What a stunning project – visual interest in all seasons.  Well planned, and well executed by Future Green.  Created a beneficial space for all residents of the building.  When we visited the project in November (more photos HERE), the superintendent remarked on how easy his maintenance has been, and a party crew was there to set up tiki torches and equipment for a resident’s event.  Add that to the list of green roof benefits – happy management & happy residents.


To contact David Seiter visit  |  For more information on the rooflite products that this wonderful project grows on, please visit


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Brooklyn Grange needs your help.  The plea, from the head farmer Ben Flanner:

“Two years ago, I started the Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farm with a great group.  We intensively grow vegetables on a 1-acre soil-covered rooftop, and sell them to local restaurants and farmer’s markets around New York.  We also have bees, chickens, kids, and we launched an educational non-profit this year.  It’s a busy place.

Recently, the farm was chosen as one of twelve finalists in the BBC World Challenge, a competition that rewards folks who are turning niche sustainability concepts into business models.  It’s an impressive group of 12 finalists who were selected for the challenge, and we are the only rep from the US, so we are very proud to be in the runnings.  After the votes are tallied, the top 3 all receive cash prizes, which would be really helpful as we’re preparing to start a 2nd location next spring.”

Click on THIS LINK to vote!

BBC’s Despcription of the Project:

Sometime in the last decade humanity became a predominantly urban species, with over half the global population living in cities. As cities grow and the climate changes, a new generation of farmers is looking at the potential of built-up areas to supplement the local food supply and create more sustainable communities. Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm is at the forefront of urban agriculture in the United States. Operated by four young entrepreneurs on an acre of rooftop in Queens, New York, the farm grows organic produce that is sold to local restaurants, co-ops and farmers markets across New York City. Business is growing quickly, with a second location opening in the Spring of 2012 and booming demand for rooftop vegetables, herbs and honey. To educate urban dwellers about the food systems upon which they rely, the farm hosts regular educational tours, workshops and field trips for schools and community groups.


To find out more about the lightweight engineered soil used to grow all the goods of the farm, visit

Good luck Ben!

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  Brooklyn Grange Wins 2011 Green Roof Award of Excellence

rooflite® Growing Media Supports Innovator in Rooftop Urban Agriculture

New York City, NY – Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is pleased to announce that Brooklyn Grange is a winner of the 2011 Green Roof and Wall Awards of Excellence.   Jeffrey L. Bruce, Chairman of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, announced the winners in the lead-up to CitiesAlive: 9th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference (November 30 to December 3, 2011) in Philadelphia, PA.

“Since 2003, the Awards of Excellence have defined the leading edge of innovation for living architecture,” said Mr. Bruce. “The class of 2011 demonstrates the universal acceptance of green roofs and walls as an important green infrastructure tool in North America with dozens of multi-faceted, highly visible projects. With an exceptionally competitive program, this year’s winners should be proud of their accomplishments in challenging the boundaries of the industry.”

Project Description: Brooklyn Grange – New York, NY

A Sky-Level Answer to the Issue of Food Security and Education

Brooklyn Grange is a pioneer in rooftop agriculture. The 40,000 square foot commercial farm is located on the rooftop of a six-story building in the dense urban environment of Queens, New York. “This project bursts the limits of established green roofing” says Peter Philippi rooflite’s Technical Director. The project integrates traditional intensive green roof design with organic agriculture and permaculture principles to create a commercially viable urban farm.  In its first abbreviated growing season the farm raised 13,000 lbs of produce, a number that will be topped in 2011. In its second season (year) of full production, the farm is producing dozens of varieties of vegetables and herbs and is selling the output to local restaurants and direct to the public through farmers markets and CSA (community supported agriculture) shares. This local distribution reduces fossil fuel consumption due to transportation.

Sun sets over the farm at the Brooklyn Grange in Queens New York; as the plants grow quietly in rooflite soil.The green roof uses 8 inches of rooflite® intensive growth media and is designed to use minimal resources. The growth media’s excellent water holding capacity allows for less frequent crop irrigation while biodegradables collected from the local community for Brooklyn Grange’s compost program help maintain fertility.

“The farm has entered into uncharted territory in the urban agriculture movement by achieving a scale never before seen in an urban rooftop farm application” says Anastasia Cole-Plakias, Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Brooklyn Grange. This hybrid green roof / farming project has generated global interest and has proven the feasibility of commercial rooftop farming in the urban environment.

 However, it is not only the food production and the size of this green roof that make it extraordinary. The farm also participates in community outreach programs by providing tours and volunteer opportunities to local residents, schools, community groups and other community members who otherwise would not have an opportunity to experience farming. A chicken coop was recently installed and a small flock of Rhode Island Red hens lay eggs and call the roof their home. Four beehives were also added in 2011, and have successfully produced a batch of spring honey. As Brooklyn Grange continues to evolve, it will further cement itself as a successful link between the green roof and urban agriculture communities.


Steven Peck, President and Founder, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities – or 416-971-4494 ex.233.

Peter Philippi, VP/Technical Director of Skyland USA, Creators of rooflite® – pphilippi at

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is presenting CitiesAlive: 9th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). This event will feature leading-edge designs, new technical performance research, policy research, professional training and tours from November 30-December 3, 2011. See for agenda details, media passes and registration information.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) is a membership-based industry association developing the green (vegetative) roof and wall industry in North America. GRHC’s mission is to increase the awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of green roofs and green walls, and other forms of living architecture through education, advocacy, professional development and celebrations of excellence. Visit for more information.

Project: Brooklyn Grange, Queens, NY, 40,000 square foot green roof

Award Recipient: Brooklyn Grange (Owner and Manager)

Architect: Bromley Caldari

Soil and Media Supplier: Rooflite

CFO: Bushwick Food Cooperative


For more photos of the Brooklyn Grange; please visit the Project Gallery.  Congratulations to Ben Flanner and his team on their industry honor!

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