Urban Farm Gotham Greens Gives Us Brooklyn Lettuce
Gotham doesn’t sell its produce beyond a 15-mile range.
By Will Halsey
January 10, 2013
Puri is part of a growing movement—the urban farmer. The 31-year-old co-founder and chief executive of Gotham Greens walks down the paths between his vegetables, which are neatly tucked into soil-less containers, as he describes the current varietals growing. His “farmland,” 15,000 square feet of rooftop greenhouse, yields roughly the same as a traditional 6-acre farm. Gotham grows 5 to 10 types of lettuce including red and green leaf, and baby butterhead lettuce, which it supplies to restaurants and high-end grocery stores in the New York metro area. “Since we have perfect weather year-round, we can always produce a consistent product,” he says. Oliver never had it that easy on Green Acres.
As the planet’s population swells, particularly in major cities, scientists and public officials believe urban farms will play an important role supplementing our food supply. “Cities will never feed themselves; however, this is not the main point of urban agriculture,” says Nevin Cohen, assistant professor of environmental studies at New York’s New School of Social Research. “Local food is a growing trend and there is such potential here,” he says, pointing out that New York City has the right ingredients to support urban farming—acres of usable rooftop space, eager entrepreneurs, sympathetic public officials, and an expansive food market that demands fresh local produce.