Brooklyn Grange nominated for BBC World Challenge
Urban rooftop farm chosen for international competition in grassroots innovation.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 15:46
BROOKYLN GRANGE: The rooftop urban garden enters the world stage. (Photo: everywhereATonce/Flickr)
New York City rooftop farm Brooklyn Grange has been announced as one of the 12 finalists for BBC World Challenge 2011. The annual competition, sponsored by BBC World News and Newsweek, is "aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grassroots level."
From humble beginnings, Brooklyn Grange is now in its second growing season and planning to expand to a second location. For now, the nearly one-acre farm is enhancing the community through education as well as providing local, organic produce to area restaurants and green markets. The farm also runs a program called City Growers which provides tours and workshops to school children. Particularly in an urban area where many people are so disconnected from their food sources, this opportunity is quite unique.
The Brooklyn Grange is the only project nominated from North America and faces stiff international competition. Vava Coffee in Kenya teaches and supports coffee growers to gain greater profits while also employing homeless children and HIV-positive locals. A program founded by elderly rural Japanese people has created a culturally rich ecotourism opportunity to remind its young people of their traditions. Giveacar in the UK supports 600 charities through the scraping of donated used cars. Nepal's Shiv Forestry has found a way to create income for rural communities and save rhinos — by planting chamomile and mint as safe deterrents to keep the animals away from farms.
No matter the outcome of the competition, rewarding these innovative companies with positive buzz will hopefully beget similar projects. The prize for the competition is a $20,000 award plus invaluable press coverage. You can check out all the projects and vote here until Nov. 11.