The arrival of spring tends to prompt a shift in collective attention toward soil and seeds, the warmer weather and longer days inspiring everyone from the large-scale farmer to the casual backyard gardener to plant and grow. In most places, people look down to the ground. But in New York City, we're just as likely to look up to the sky – because here, many of our favorite farms are now on rooftops.
We've written before about the Brooklyn Grange (largest rooftop farm in the world!), documenting its construction, and interviewing Cofounder/Chief Operating Officer, Gwen Schantz. But it seems that every time we think we've finished telling the story, our friends at the Grange make another big announcement; in January, for instance, we learned that the Grange is expanding – they're building a new 45,000 square-foot rooftop farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (check back in May to see Ecocentric’s coverage of the construction process).
We heard from the Grange again last month, when its proprietors unveiled plans to dramatically increase the farm’s honey production, launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund an ambitious apiary project that will include 25 beehives, capable of producing more than 1,000 pounds of honey annually. And yeah, this will be NYC’s largest commercial apiary – the Brooklyn Grange doesn’t do things small.
Among the appealing elements of the apiary project is its apprenticeship program, which will train dozens of aspiring urban apiarists, and set them up with bees of their own if they complete the program and mentor the following year’s group of apprentices. We're also excited by the prospect of having more honeybees around… you know, since they perform the essential ecosystem service of pollination… and since colony collapse disorder (CCD) has been decimating the population… and since the EPA doesn’t seem to want to do anything about the pesticides linked by three recent studies to CCD. Of course, we're also looking forward to the honey.
You can support Brooklyn Grange’s apiary project through their Kickstarter page – but hurry; the campaign ends April 19 !