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Whole Foods Market and Gotham Greens are building what they say is the nation’s first commercial-scale greenhouse farm integrated within a retail grocery space.
The 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, currently being constructed on the roof of the forthcoming Whole Foods Market store in the Gowanus neignborhood of Brooklyn, is scheduled to open later this fall. Gotham Greens will grow premium quality, pesticide-free produce year round in the greenhouse for Whole Foods Gowanus, as well as other Whole Foods locations throughout New York City.
“Gotham Greens has been a valued local supplier of high quality, flavorful and fresh produce to Whole Foods Market since early 2011, making this greenhouse project a natural and extremely exciting next step in our relationship,” said Christina Minardi, Whole Foods Market Northeast regional president. “We’re particularly excited to partner with a local organization with roots right here in Brooklyn and a mission in line with our own, in that we both care deeply about providing local, fresh and sustainably produced food.”
The specially designed rooftop farm will include advanced irrigation systems that use up to 20 times less water than conventional farming as well as enhanced glazing materials and electrical equipment to reduce overall energy demand. Based on the farm’s proximity to Whole Foods stores in New York City, the project will eliminate long-distance food transport and its associated emissions, while ensuring product freshness, quality and nutrition for thousands of customers in the area.
“Talk about local -- this project takes the discussion from food miles to food footsteps,” said Viraj Puri, Gotham Greens co-founder. “Our greenhouse will provide Whole Foods Market shoppers with access to the freshest, most delicious leafy greens, herbs and tomatoes, year-round that will be grown right above the store’s produce department. We’re thrilled with this partnership and to be part of the growing national movement of farmers and food producers committed to providing consumers with high quality, responsibly produced food.”
The rooftop greenhouse will be fully operational at the time of the new Whole Foods opening and will create a variety of green collar jobs and economic development opportunities in the Brooklyn area. Whole Foods also plans to offer educational opportunities for area students and local schools to learn about greenhouses, farming and various environmental initiatives.