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Green farm may get green light in Hunts Point

Bronx Times

The farm of the future could be coming to Hunts Point.

If city officials get the okay, it would create one of the largest rooftop farms in the world.

The industrial building at 600 Food Center Drive, home to Citarella and Sultana foods, has been proposed for redevelopment into a rooftop farm that would grow fresh fruits and vegetables year round.

The goods would then be sold within the 800 local businesses within the Hunts Point peninsula and out to 23 million New Yorkers.

Officials with the New York City Economic Development Corporation filed a Request for Proposal asking developers to create a rooftop farm, covering 200,000 square feet - or 9.7 acres.

If a developer does build the massive homestead, it would be added to a growing list of roof farms throughout the borough.

Right now, the Bronx boasts 13 green roofs through Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s Green Roof Initiative.

Diaz welcomed the news, adding it would “create much needed jobs” to a borough suffering with a 12% unemployment rate.

NYCEDC head Seth W. Pinsky looks forward to someone generating interest in the rooftop farm.

“We will create important new opportunities to connect producers,” said Pinsky.

As Pinsky thinks about the producers, The Point’s Kelly Terry-Sepulveda hopes the finished produce will be availble to Hunts Point residents.

“We hope that whatever product that’s grown goes to the community,” she said.

But Josephine Infante, executive director of the Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation, was skeptical of an urban farm atop a Hunts Point roof.

“It’s wait-and-see, and it’s too early to see if the farm is going to work,” said Infante, who hopes a thorough study of the success of these trendy farms will be completed.

The NYCEDC said developers have until July to file their proposals.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or dcruz@cnglocal.com.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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