rooflite® Growing Media Supports Innovator in Rooftop Urban Agriculture

Posted in green roof, News Link, rooflite News on November 2, 2011

  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!