New York City Urban Farms After Hurricane Sandy
November 12, 2012 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
Hurricane Sandy’s wrath caused the damage and demise of a number of New York City urban gardens and farms, some less fortunate than others.
Brooklyn Grange Urban Rooftop Farms
Brooklyn Grange lost one million bees at the their Navy Yard urban farming project, considered pre-storm to be the city’s largest commercial apiary and for which they had raised $20,000 on a Kickstarter campaign just last Spring. The twenty-five lost hives, donated last year by a retired Pennsylvania beekeeper, each contained around 40,000 extra-hearty bees with reputedly stellar genetics. The farm’s two gardens, one located on top of an 11-story building in the Navy Yard and the other above a 6-story building in Long Island City, did much better than the bees and so did their chickens. In advance of the storm, farm staff spent several long days securing the chicken’s penthouse coop.
Added Value Red Hook Community Farm
Created in 2003 on the site of an abandoned two and a half acre playground, Added Value Red Hook Community Farm is one of the city’s earliest urban farms, and today still one of New York City’s largest ground-level farms.
The farm was totally submerged under two feet of water in the hurricane and they lost everything. Executive director Ian Marvy reports that the remaining crops cannot be sold or donated because of water pollution. See Nona Brooklyn’s full report on Added Value Farm after the storm.
(Note: According to Jen from the NYC Compost Project in Queens, if plants have been touched by floodwaters, instead of putting them aside, they should be thrown away, not composed as anything that has been touched by floodwaters will be contaminated with chemicals.)
Eagle Street Rooftop Farm
Though Eagle Street Rooftop Farm experienced 70 mph winds, staff and volunteers prepared for the storm in advance by picking all harvestable crops and placing the chickens in the market room. They are confident that the remaining crops–kale, spinach, radishes– will bounce back as the weather picks up. Whatever damage they incurred was mostly the result of wind, as they report the farm’s greenroof drainage system functioned well in the storm. (Eagle Street’s peppers are being contributed to the creation of a small-batch hot sauce whose profits will be donated to the storm relief. See below.)
Battery Urban Farm
A “turkey-shaped” one acre educational farm, located in the historic 25 acre park at the tip of Manhattan known as the Battery, the farm is home to over 80 varieties of organically-grown vegetables, fruits, flowers, grains, and companion plants where it’s open for the growing season, April through November. The farm sustained major flooding, but they are not yet certain what long-term damages to the soil will result from salty seawater flooding.
The Greenpoint, Brooklyn rooftop hydroponic greenhouse facility reported they were unaffected by Sandy. Their crops, they say, are in great shape they are busy harvesting and sending out produce to customers.
See Grist for more on how NYC local urban farms fared in the hurricane.
Hot Sauce for Storm Relief!
Grateful to have escaped storm damage themselves, Eagle Street has partnered with the Brooklyn Kitchen, Marlow and Daughters, and Eat and Ovenly to offer a limited edition small-batch hot sauce made with 100% organic peppers from the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. Proceeds from purchases will go towards the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance as well as other urban farmers devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The hot sauce can be purchased at one of the participating sites.