A Brooklyn Whole Foods scheduled to open this fall isn’t going to look like other Whole Foods locations, this downtown location is going to boast a 20,000 square-foot greenhouse visible for all on the store’s roof.
It isn’t any longer uncommon to find rooftop farms in urban areas. Due to the added cost of transportation and the shelf life of produce, many urbanites are choosing to grow their own produce rather than rely on supermarkets — and it looks like retail establishments are beginning to do the same.
Whole Foods realized they too could benefit from purchasing their produce locally, and for the past few years have been buying from Gotham Greens in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Gotham Greens has grown produce for local restaurants, markets, and retail businesses since 2008.
Gotham Greens uses state of the art horticultural technology to provide its clients with high-quality greens throughout the year.
“Our state of the art rooftop greenhouses combine advanced horticultural and engineering techniques to optimize crop production, crop quality, and production efficiency. The climate controlled facility will grow premium quality produce, year-round.”
If buying their produce locally wasn’t enough, Whole Foods announced this week that they are partnering with Gotham Greens to develop and build the very first commercial-grade greenhouse farm atop its newest location in the Brooklyn borough of Gowanus.
The Whole Foods greenhouse will not only produce greens and herbs, but will also grow tomatoes and cucumbers — something that Gotham Greens’ greenhouses currently don’t provide.
[Image via Gotham Greens]
With the store’s greenhouse just a few feet away from shelves, customers can expect extremely fresh produce that hits the market sometimes after only 20 minutes of being harvested.
Tristam Coffin, Whole Foods Market’s Green Mission Specialist, said, “Just coming from a customer perspective, living in New York City and buying their product, it’s amazing how long you can have [Gotham Greens produce] in your refrigerator.” The produce grown at the new 20,000 square-foot facility will also be delivered to other Whole Foods locations throughout the city.
Gotham Greens is footing the bill for the greenhouse, while Whole Foods has agreed to purchase the produce just like they’ve done in the past.
Whole Foods hasn’t made any other announcements, but it’s entirely possible that other rooftop greenhouses could be coming too. “We’re ready to get one under our belt and then explore other options … There’s potential for growing this out in different parts of the country,” Coffin said.
Plans for the 52,000 square-foot Brooklyn Whole Foods and 20,000 square-foot rooftop greenhouse in Gowanus were approved by the Board of Standards and Appeals in February 2012.
The rooftop greenhouse will be completely operational when the store opens and is expected to create a variety of jobs in the Brooklyn area. Whole Foods Market is also planning on offering educational programs for local students, in which farming and environmental issues can be taught.