One-Acre Farm to Produce Up to 40,000 Pounds of Fruits, Vegetables and Greens a Year
New Food Forest Created to Enhance Ecosystem on Javits Center’s Rooftop
In celebration of Earth Week, Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the new one-acre rooftop farm at the Javits Center has joined the New York State Grown & Certified program, a statewide effort that identifies local producers who adhere to higher standards in terms of food safety and environmental stewardship. Located more than eight stories above street level, the working farm was completed last year as part of a 1.2 million square-foot, state-of-the-art expansion of the Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side. Each year, the farm is expected to generate up to 40,000 pounds of produce, which is being incorporated into the millions of meals served to guests during events at the convention center. On Monday, farmers from Brooklyn Grange, which manages the rooftop farm, harvested this year’s first produce, including carrots, leeks, and baby kale, that will be used during the New York International Auto Show that’s open until Sunday, April 24.
“As we celebrate Earth Week, it’s important to reflect on our existential fight against climate change and continue our pursuit of historic, innovative solutions to bring us closer to a cleaner, greener New York State,” Governor Hochul said. “From the success of its nearly 7-acre green roof to a new rooftop farm, the Javits Center has proven the power of sustainability. We are proud to welcome them into the New York State Grown & Certified program, which celebrates fresh, healthy produce grown in a way that is considerate of the surrounding environment.”
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The NYS Grown & Certified program responds to the demands of our consumers, who are increasingly looking for safely handled, healthy food from farm to the table, and the Javits Center is meeting that demand. We are inspired by all of the sustainable achievements at the Javits Center, and as a result of their high-quality standards, we are proud to welcome their rooftop farm into the program.”
New York Convention Center Operating Corporation President Alan Steel said, “We are honored to join the NYS Grown & Certified Program and to bring our roof-to-table experience to millions of visitors from around the world. The rooftop farm takes our sustainability program to the next level – literally – by providing guests with ingredients grown only steps from where they are consuming them. Our goal is to continue serving as a model of sustainability and encourage others to consider the potential of urban farming and its positive impact on the community.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “The Javits Center is a model for sustainability in urban spaces. Not only is the Center cultivating a one-acre rooftop farm atop their West Side building, but now they are aiming for the highest bar of food quality standards by joining the New York State Grown & Certified program. I am delighted that Governor Hochul has made sustainability in New York City a priority, especially in honor of Earth Day.”
On the Javits Center’s rooftop farm, farmers with Brooklyn Grange are planting a variety of crops, from basil and broccoli to tomatoes and turnips. They work closely with the convention center’s on-site chefs to integrate the produce into meals created for specific events, from trade shows to black-tie galas. With more than 3,000 certified producers throughout the state, the NYS Grown & Certified program promotes New York’s farmers and food producers who adhere to higher food safety practices and environmental standards. In New York City, the Javits Center’s rooftop farm joins four other rooftop farms in achieving this certification: three farms in Brooklyn and Queens, also managed by Brooklyn Grange, and an additional farm in Jamaica, Queens, operated by Gotham Greens.
To further its environmental commitment, the Javits Center also unveiled the creation of a food forest as part of its unique rooftop ecosystem. With seven distinct layers stacked vertically, a food forest mimics the ecological benefits and produce dynamics found in forests and is designed to increase the biodiversity, efficiency, and sustainability of food production systems. Planted in a 10,000 square-foot rooftop orchard constructed as part of the recent expansion, this food forest will amplify the ecosystem services already supplied by the Javits Center’s green roof and farm, including stormwater mitigation, thermal regulation and forage and habitat for area wildlife. The wide variety of plants will create a more complex and resilient space for growing food for humans and other species that rely on green infrastructure in the built environment. Since 2014, 35 bird species, five bat species and thousands of insects have been observed on the Javits Center’s green roof, in addition to five active bee hives.
From West 34th to West 40th streets between 11thand 12th avenues, the expanded Javits Center features a four-level truck marshaling facility that houses up to 200 tractor-trailers at any one time, reducing neighborhood congestion and pollution while improving traffic safety. Among the new exhibition and meeting spaces is The Overview, a 54,000 square-foot special event space — the largest space of its kind in the Northeast – as well as more than 200,000 square feet of meeting room and pre-function space. All the spaces are equipped with the latest technology in lighting fixtures, heating and cooling systems and wireless connectivity. The expansion has been certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Since 2014, the Javits Center has reduced its energy consumption by 26% and added a new three-story building with transformers, back-up generators and other electrical equipment in order to power the expanded convention center. With the installation of hospital grade High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to improve air filtration and ventilation throughout the venue, the Javits Center has received Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) accreditation, implementing the industry’s highest standards for cleaning and disinfection.
About NYS Grown & Certified
The NYS Grown & Certified was launched to help meet the growing consumer demand for local foods grown or produced to a higher standard. The program certifies New York State producers who adhere to high food safety and environmental stewardship standards. It is supported by a marketing campaign including on-product labels, promotional materials, and sales materials. Currently, more than 3,000 producers are participating in New York State Grown & Certified, representing more than 750,000 acres of farmland. For more information on NYS Grown & Certified, visit certified.ny.gov, or follow the program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Javits Center
Designed by I.M. Pei & Partners, the Javits Center opened in 1986 and has since become New York City’s primary venue for large conventions, trade shows and special events and serves as home to many of the world’s top 250 trade shows, hosting millions of visitors a year. These large-scale events have generated more than $2 billion in annual economic activity for New York City and New York State, supporting as many as 18,000 jobs in and around the facility. Located on 11th Avenue between West 34th and West 40th Streets in Manhattan, the Javits Center has more than 850,000 square feet of total exhibition space, two new floors of meeting room and pre-function spaces and a wide range of catering, security, sustainability, and technology services. For more information, please visit www.javitscenter.com.