Seventh appointment with our #FridayProject
Protagonist: SKY VEGETABLES
We are arrived. The Uber driver shows us a red brick building. 1071 Tinton Avenue – New York City. In the background, the music of some boys playing basketball in a playground inside the park across the street.
We find ourselves at the 166th street, in the heart of the Bronx, the ill-famed neighbourhood par excellence. In reality, now the area has only the dangerous name that carries with it. In fact, during the last few decades, the Bronx has become a quiet residential place for those who want to break away from the chaos of Manhattan and spend less for living.
A sign shows us the entrance and soon we find ourselves inside an elevator with a single button on which is engraved a curious letter G: destination Greenhouse.
Eighth floor. You open the doors and here we are in the middle of a real greenhouse on the roof of a skyscraper. 750 square meters in which different vegetables grow enjoying a view for which many would pay good money.
As our guide Yara Nagi explains, the hydroponic technique used is NFT (Nutrient Film Technique). In practice, a minimum flow of water enriched with nutrients flows constantly along slightly inclined channels. The plants are contained in an inert substrate that allows the roots to be free and to take exactly what they need. The water used is then replenished with the necessary nutrients and reinserted into the fertigation circuit so as to have a real closed cycle system.
The adventure of SkyVegetables in the Bronx began in 2013, becoming part of an important urban gentrification. The building on which the greenhouse is positioned, in fact, enjoys the LEED Platinum Certification, that guarantees its excellent energy efficiency and ecological footprint.
The products are sold mainly to restaurants and markets in the city and employees are local residents. How well they explain their video: Sky Vegetables is a service and an asset for the community.
This project, however, would never have been born without the coordination of the team of Agritecture, official partner of Sky Vegetables.
The hope is that this project is just the first of a long series of similar initiatives. Especially in a city like New York, the cultivation on the roofs of skyscrapers could really represent a viable solution to produce fresh, healthy food zero km.
And indeed, this was also our sensation once the visit was over, icing on the cake of NyAgTechWeek 17, a week full of meetings and initiatives promoted by Agritecture and to which we were fortunate enough to participate.
Right at Agritecture we met again Yara Nagi and, taking advantage of her availability, we did not hesitate to exchange a short interview.