Whole Foods and Gotham Greens have come together to construct the country’s first commercial-scale greenhouse farm integrated within a retail grocery space in Brooklyn.
Gotham Greens will design, build and operate the 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, which will farm pesticide-free produce year round for the Whole Foods store in Gowanus, Brooklyn, as well as other Whole Foods locations throughout New York City. The greenhouse will utilize advanced irrigation systems that use up to 20 times less water than conventional farming along with enhanced glazing materials and electrical equipment to reduce overall energy demand.
Due to the farm’s proximity to its stores, Whole Foods says the project will eliminate long-distance food transport and its associated emissions, while enhancing product freshness, quality and nutrition for thousands of customers in the area.
“This project takes the discussion from food miles to food footsteps,” said Gotham Greens co-founder Viraj Puri. “We’re thrilled with this partnership and to be part of the growing national movement of farmers and food producers committed to providing consumers with high-quality, responsibly produced food.”
Gotham Greens was approached by Whole Foods for this project due to its position as an industry leader in urban and rooftop greenhouses in addition to its highly esteemed produce offerings from its current farm location in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
“Gotham Greens has been a valued local supplier of high-quality, flavorful and fresh produce to Whole Foods Market since early 2011, making this greenhouse project a natural and extremely exciting next step in our relationship,” said Christina Minardi, Whole Foods Market Northeast Regional President. “We’re particularly excited to partner with a local organization with roots right here in Brooklyn and a mission in line with our own, in that we both care deeply about providing local, fresh and sustainably produced food.”
Whole Foods says the rooftop greenhouse will be fully operational by the time of the new store’s opening at year’s end and will create a variety of green collar jobs and economic opportunities in the Brooklyn area. The company also plans to offer educational programs for local students and schools to learn about greenhouses, farming and various environmental initiatives.
Whole Foods recently joined several other major grocery retailers representing more than 2,000 stores across the U.S. to commit to not selling genetically engineered seafood as part of the Campaign for Genetically Engineered-Free Seafood. The company also has committed to labeling all of its products that contain genetically modified organisms by 2018.