Community garden, urban garden, balcony garden. They’re all terms many of us city dwellers now have in our vernacular; whether we partake in the exercise, pretend to or wish we had the green fingers for.
As a young kid I was all too familiar with a backyard garden; virtually self-sufficient with seasonal vegetables grown in suburbia along with chickens, rabbits and the occasional goat and pig. Yup, my family was the one that had a butcher/hunter at its helm, shotguns displayed in the lounge room and cute bunnies and baby goats that one day ended up in a cooking pot.
One thing for sure is that if I had the room in my current Sydney backyard, a backyard that I wish received more sun, I’d be trying my hardest to grow some edibles.
A place that gets a great deal of sun in the growing season is Brooklyn’s Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. This is one piece of the city I made sure I got to when I was in town. Three stories above the street, sprawling 6000 square feet over the roof of the Broadway Stages with some seriously impressive Manhattan and Brooklyn views.
Stepping up on the rooftop, I couldn’t help but notice a crop dominated by hot peppers, with cherry tomatoes and herbs; predominantly sage. There were a few little pumpkins and eggplant with blooming marigolds and other flowers. These guys even have a small chicken pen as well as a couple of beehives.
Finding the farm may be a tad tricky for some, but once you locate the warehouse door at 44 Eagle Street it’s a walk up the stairs and before you know it you’ve entered a small room that’s part storage, part produce market that’s open to the public every Sunday in the growing season. Branches of dried chillies hang from the ceiling, a couple of live rabbits lounge in a cage near the door and a small selection of rooftop-fresh produce is there for the buying.
These guys supply much of their produce to local neighbourhood restaurants, including Marlow & Sons and the fabulous Paulie Gee’s down the road. Next time you’re in New York, make the effort and get down to Eagle Street. Or if you’re a local and are interested in getting in on the action, you can volunteer your time to help out, get your hands dirty and learn a little about urban gardening on a larger scale like this.