At less than 20 minutes from field-to-shelf, the produce at Brooklyn’s newest Whole Foods will be some of the freshest and most local in the city–the only transportation required will be a single flight of stairs from the roof to the floor. The program of rooftop greenhouses was developed as a unique partnership between Whole Foods Market and Gotham Greens. The greenhouses will be completely paid for and managed by Gotham Greens, and, while the Whole Foods downstairs will presumably be the biggest customer for the produce, additional produce will not go to waste. Using their established distribution system, Gotham Greens will just ship extra produce to another one of their customers.
This project is being used as a pilot for other Whole Foods locations across the country. Because most of these grocery stores have large, flat roofs, installation of rooftop agriculture will improve the sustainability of the stores and at the same time provide extremely fresh and local produce for the shoppers. Hopefully, other retailers will take notice.
Interestingly, the site is located directly on the Gowanus Canal, a federal superfund site since 2010. Although the historic canal is in the midst of a major environmental remediation, the site will not be completely cleaned up for several decades, so the newest developments must cope with the existing contamination on-site. During Hurricane Sandy, the site was awash with dangerous contaminants. Now Gowanus continues toward a sustainable future.