7 Questions with Anastasia Cole Plakias

Co-founder of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm shares the trials and joys of starting a 1-acre commercial farm high above the streets of Queens.

When the founders of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm planted their first seedlings seven stories above a bustling street in Queens, N.Y., in 2009, their aspirations weren’t small. Ben Flanner, Anastasia Cole Plakias and Gwen Schantz set their sights on being the largest commercial rooftop farm in the world.

The 1-acre farm, built according to a green-roof system, holds 1.2 million pounds of soil (and yes, experts verified that the building constructed in 1919 can bear the weight). The farm’s soil is a special mix of compost and porous stones, which eases the weight burden, and in it grows a variety of organic produce—kale, Swiss chard, tomatoes, beans and more—that are sold to restaurants around New York City.

Pedestrians strolling down Northern Blvd. might not know such an operation exists high above their heads, but ascend the flight of stairs to Brooklyn Grange and you’ll find a healthy, hearty, vibrant farm overlooking the illustrious Manhattan skyline.

Watch the video above as managing partner and founder Anastasia Cole Plakias gives you an inside peek to what Brooklyn Grange is all about.

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