Lecture: Brooklyn Grange
Ben Flanner is the head farmer, CEO, and co-founder of Brooklyn Grange rooftop Farm, based in New York City. A pioneering urban farm operation, the business produces vegetables, herbs, and honey on 2 ½ acres of intensive green roofs, and sells its produce to the community through various channels. Brooklyn Grange is internationally recognized as the leader in rooftop agriculture and as an exceptional green and community-minded business. The farm offers organic farm training programs, and engages with numerous universities, and colleges. The farm also hosts workshops, events, dinners, and even weddings. Prior to founding the Brooklyn Grange, Flanner, who was born in Milwaukee, WI, co-founded and managed the Eagle Street Rooftop farm in 2009, the world’s first green roof farm. He has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and a background in management consulting and marketing, prior to farming.
Ben has presented to audiences including NYU Stern Business School, Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Slow Money, the Garrison Institute’s highly political “Climate, Mind, and Behavior” annual conference, the Municipal Art Society, numerous Northeastern Horticultural Societies, and has been a guest on dozens of panels and university classes. He has taught urban agriculture courses in New York City, Toronto, and Chicago, and the senior capstone course in the Environmental Studies department at New York University (NYU).
Since its launch in 2010, Brooklyn Grange has received the LICBDC Green Business Award, the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Award of Excellence in 2011, and Queens Community Business Award from Mayor Bloomberg’s office in 2012, and the Queens Local Food Hero award in 2011 and 2012. The farm was the single largest recipient of the Department of Environmental Protection’s 2011 Green Infrastructure grant in Stormwater Management and has been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Crains, CNBC. The farm also hosted a visit and tour to New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the summer of 2012.