Ones to Watch: Brooklyn Farms

Dear old friend to Better Farm Marco Centola is part of an exciting initiative in Brooklyn to encourage people to grow their own food, compost, and eat locally. Brooklyn Farms, a hydroponic superstore in Cobble Hill, is expanding to include a consulting and installation firm, a learning center where they'll teach less-fortunate city kids how to grow food, and a hydroponic community garden where people can rent a small plot and come garden year-round.

"Being a sustainability center," says Marco, "we plan on running most of our electricity off solar and wind power and we want to offer composting for the community. The business model is being put together as we speak."

Marco recently launched an installation at his other place of business, The Brooklyn Kitchen, so the restaurant can grow its own herbs for its recipes:
From our herb garden, you can pick up hydroponically grown basil, mint, sage or thyme: cut to order and sold by weight. Buy just what you need, so you don’t have to store or toss unused herbs! And watch as we expand our selection to include lovage, thai basil and more! Long associated with the more (ahem) illicit side of agriculture, hydroponic gardening is also a fairly practical way to grow your own food, a very gratifying activity too often unavailable to city folk. There are so many crops you can grow hydroponically, even exotic edibles that aren’t normally native to our region, that your garden will quickly pay for itself in saved grocery store costs.
Stay tuned for partnership information between Brooklyn Farms and Better Farm including workshops, free tips, information on building your own hydroponic garden, community outreach initiatives, and more. And feel free to e-mail Marco with any questions you have about hydroponics.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.