Rooftop garden in Greenpoint is the stalk of the town — NY Daily News

Rooftop garden in Greenpoint is the stalk of the town - NY Daily News

Noonan for News Ben Flanner farms about fifty different types of vegetables and plants such as turnips, mustard greens, and kale at his rooftop garden in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Meet the rooftop farmer of Greenpoint .

Ben Flanner. who quit a desk job at an online stock trading company to grow food full time this spring, has turned the roof of an old industrial building into a thriving 6,000-square-foot farm.

“A lot of people doubt it when they hear about it, and they come up and they’re like, ‘Oh, my God,’ ” said Flanner, 28, who used to do marketing at E*Trade. but is now known as Ben the Farmer.

“I’m growing food in the city,” he said. “It’s an awesome combo of a fulfilling passion and being in the coolest place on Earth.”

With Manhattan as a backdrop, Flanner has been growing kale, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, peas and herbs since April on 100 tons of soil that he hauled up to the roof by crane.

Thanks to the rainy spring, the rooftop farm on Eagle St. has already produced a bounty that’s the talk of the neighborhood.

“Now that’s a good looking mustard green,” said Flanner as he plucked a leaf from the neat rows of vegetables running across the roof. “It’s been pretty exhilarating.”

Volunteer farmers are pouring in, and Flanner has already started selling produce to local restaurants eager to use homegrown food.

"The mustard greens are a big hit," said Sean Rembold. 33, executive chef at Marlow and Sons in Williamsburg. "We refer to them as Rooftop Greens."

Flanner has also garnered support from across the borough, enough to help him make ends meet.

Kensington Stables in Prospect Park donates manure for the soil. Local neighborhood cafes have given their used coffee grounds to make compost for the vegetables, and a few Park Slope barbershops are even giving him their hair clippings — which are high in nitrogen and also good for compost.

Noonan for News Ben Flanner farms about fifty different types of vegetables and plants such as turnips, mustard greens, and kale at his rooftop garden in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

"In Brooklyn. everybody loves food," said Annie Novak. 26, a fellow farmer who helped start the rooftop garden with Flanner and now leads weekly volunteer sessions.

"People who move to Brooklyn cook or like to have yards, and there are small restaurants with passionate chefs, and they’re the ones willing to invest with us," she said.

Soon, Flanner hopes to start selling at local farmers’ markets as well.

Right now, Flanner said the farm is still a labor of love — and has so far spent about $5,000 to get it going. But he hopes to expand one day to other roofs to turn it into a sustainable commercial farm.

"This is definitely a guinea-pig summer," said Flanner, who is trying to figure out which vegetables grow best. "I can’t ignore the business side of this."

The project first sprouted last fall when Flanner e-mailed Goode Green, a local green roof design and installation company, about starting a rooftop farm.

Goode Green’s owners, Chris and Lisa Goode. jumped at the chance to help, and hooked Flanner up with friends who had a roof to spare and a desire to go green.

"We had the farmer, the roof, and now there’s over 200,000 pounds of soil up there," said Lisa Goode.

As for Flanner, he’s happy to be farming, instead of working in an office. "There’s just something magical about it. I just love getting my hands dirty," he said.

Noonan for News Ben Flanner farms about fifty different types of vegetables and plants such as turnips, mustard greens, and kale at his rooftop garden in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Meet the rooftop farmer of Greenpoint .

Ben Flanner. who quit a desk job at an online stock trading company to grow food full time this spring, has turned the roof of an old industrial building into a thriving 6,000-square-foot farm.

“A lot of people doubt it when they hear about it, and they come up and they’re like, ‘Oh, my God,’ ” said Flanner, 28, who used to do marketing at E*Trade. but is now known as Ben the Farmer.

“I’m growing food in the city,” he said. “It’s an awesome combo of a fulfilling passion and being in the coolest place on Earth.”

With Manhattan as a backdrop, Flanner has been growing kale, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, peas and herbs since April on 100 tons of soil that he hauled up to the roof by crane.

Thanks to the rainy spring, the rooftop farm on Eagle St. has already produced a bounty that’s the talk of the neighborhood.

Rooftop garden in Greenpoint is the stalk of the town - NY Daily News

“Now that’s a good looking mustard green,” said Flanner as he plucked a leaf from the neat rows of vegetables running across the roof. “It’s been pretty exhilarating.”

Volunteer farmers are pouring in, and Flanner has already started selling produce to local restaurants eager to use homegrown food.

"The mustard greens are a big hit," said Sean Rembold. 33, executive chef at Marlow and Sons in Williamsburg. "We refer to them as Rooftop Greens."

Flanner has also garnered support from across the borough, enough to help him make ends meet.

Kensington Stables in Prospect Park donates manure for the soil. Local neighborhood cafes have given their used coffee grounds to make compost for the vegetables, and a few Park Slope barbershops are even giving him their hair clippings — which are high in nitrogen and also good for compost.

Noonan for News Ben Flanner farms about fifty different types of vegetables and plants such as turnips, mustard greens, and kale at his rooftop garden in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

"In Brooklyn. everybody loves food," said Annie Novak. 26, a fellow farmer who helped start the rooftop garden with Flanner and now leads weekly volunteer sessions.

"People who move to Brooklyn cook or like to have yards, and there are small restaurants with passionate chefs, and they’re the ones willing to invest with us," she said.

Soon, Flanner hopes to start selling at local farmers’ markets as well.

Right now, Flanner said the farm is still a labor of love — and has so far spent about $5,000 to get it going. But he hopes to expand one day to other roofs to turn it into a sustainable commercial farm.

"This is definitely a guinea-pig summer," said Flanner, who is trying to figure out which vegetables grow best. "I can’t ignore the business side of this."

The project first sprouted last fall when Flanner e-mailed Goode Green, a local green roof design and installation company, about starting a rooftop farm.

Goode Green’s owners, Chris and Lisa Goode. jumped at the chance to help, and hooked Flanner up with friends who had a roof to spare and a desire to go green.

"We had the farmer, the roof, and now there’s over 200,000 pounds of soil up there," said Lisa Goode.

As for Flanner, he’s happy to be farming, instead of working in an office. "There’s just something magical about it. I just love getting my hands dirty," he said.


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