Gotham Greens: Cleantech and Farm Tech Converge in Brooklyn

2/7/12Follow @jpruth

Hidden amid the technology startups clamoring for attention in New York, which is packed with media, data, and social networking players, is an unlikely company more interested in vegetables than video sharing. Gotham Greens Farms is out to prove its resilience by cultivating crops on rooftops in a landscape dominated by bricks, mortar, and steel.

Gotham Greens is an unusual mix of clean technology and agricultural tech. The startup operates a computer-controlled, solar-powered 15,000-square-foot greenhouse on the roof of The Greenpoint Wood Exchange, an 80,000-square-foot building that houses furniture, cabinetry, and woodworking companies. The greenhouse functions year-round and yielded its first crops of herbs, lettuce, and salad greens last June. Viraj Puri, CEO and co-founder of Gotham Greens, plans to expand the operation this year. “We’d like to have at least one more greenhouse built, if not two, to at least double our current production,” he says.

The notion of growing plants along the skyline of New York is not completely unheard of. Some residents plant gardens on their roofs, and sections of the old West Side Line elevated railway were redeveloped into High Line Park. However, Gotham Greens is pursuing an ambitious plan to establish more greenhouse farms across the city.

Puri, who previously worked in project management for environmental engineering firms, says he is looking at potential sites in Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens for future … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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