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The Farm on the Roof: What Brooklyn Grange Taught Us about Entrepreneurship, Community, and Growing a Sustainable Business
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The Farm on the Roof: What Brooklyn Grange Taught Us about Entrepreneurship, Community, and Growing a Sustainable Business

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The founders of Brooklyn Grange, the world s largest green rooftop farm, share their inspirational s....
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Avery Publishing Group
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  93 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Vishal Katariya
Quick read through the history and choices of a rooftop farm business in New York City. I enjoyed it and knowing about their team and work. Possibly the biggest takeaway is: find the people you want to work with, find landlords who want to have you there, etc. As someone interested in the idea of farming and sustainability, this was a breath of fresh air: dense and productive farms on the rooftops of the busiest city in the world; can it get more idealistic than that?
DNF at about 150 pages. I tried to get back into it, but it occurred to me that if I have to force myself to read something...well life is short.

I did get something useful from this: the details (load bearing, freight elevators, roof clutter, etc) on how the team evaluated hundreds of buildings to pick the best ones for farming was really useful. Plus, how to figure out whether a landlord might want to rent to you (most do not.) Plus, the tip to leave a swathe of space un-farmed so you can use
May 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
I was really disappointed. I started the book last night and this morning I had to quit. I liked the authors style. The subject was really interesting. I may try to find other books about it. But- The language was too foul for me to continue reading. How disappointing! If it wasn't for that I think I would have really enjoyed it. It's not just a business how-to. It's a story and written in a wonderful first person narrative. Well, now you know the thoughts I had of the few pages I got through. ...more
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Here is a book I never thought I'd read—a book in which hipster millennials build a hobby farm in my least favorite corner of the United States—but that I found myself drawn into despite myself. This is not to say I don't recognize the truth in other reviewers' comments—Plakias opts for summary rather than description, business minutiae rather than character development, and repetition rather than stylistic richness—but I personally think it's rather too soon for a masterful biography of its fou ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
I may be a bit bias on reviewing this book on the count that I am a avid gardener, however I still want to share what I think.
This book was written not only to share how Brooklyn Grange came to be but to share the knowledge of starting a sustainable business. The knowledge shared is very much about the planning, the fundraising, the connections you have when trying to accomplish such a business. Plakins shares not only the troubles and successes about their start-up but also the human side to ev
May 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is not a book about farming. It is a book about starting a business. And while that is not, in and of itself, a bad thing, it was not what I expected, and this probably colored my perception. I found the book somewhat repetitive and with not a whole lot of substance. However, there were some interesting little vignettes, and I was inspired by portions of the tale. That, and I can't decide if I want to meet or just be like Ben! He sounds amazing! And if I lived in the area, I would totally j ...more
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book through a giveaway at goodreads. I'm neither a farmer (I can't even keep bamboo alive) nor a businesswoman but I was intrigued by the concept of a farm on a rooftop and was interested in learning about the logistics. A personal narrative from one of the co-founders makes for easy, pleasurable reading for anyone interested in learning about the creation and growth of one of the first rooftop farms. I'd especially recommend it for anyone considering starting their own rooftop farm ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you’re interested in urban ag or alternative methods of farming, this is a great book! It provides brief glimpses into how the owners of Brooklyn Grange got the place up and running, as well as how they keep it going.
Mike Wentzel
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Great story about starting a new business in an urban setting. I listened to the audio book from the library.
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review originally appeared on my blog,


THE FARM ON THE ROOF caught my eye because I’m considering growing vegetable crops. However, I live on a farm in the country, and I couldn’t imagine running a farm on a roof in New York City. But I thought the idea of a rooftop farm was genius, because there are so many advantages to using such an underutilized space.

THE FARM ON THE ROOF is the story of Brooklyn Grange, a business that focuses on the triple-bottom-line: people, planet, and
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I originally bought this book,because I am starting a back yard garden.Of course I am not doing all that they did in this book,but found it all so very interesting and did learn some things for my garden.This was a very good and interesting read.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having a small business is not for the faint of heart. That is the takeaway from reading this book. I requested it, thinking it would be a book about how to start a sustainable garden in odd places like the roofs of buildings in New York City and its surrounding boroughs. It is sort of that, but it's mostly a how-to for small businesses and how to go about getting them going from thought to actualizing.
"Monster it" and "scrappy" were two favorite terms I enjoyed. "Monster it" being to tough it
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
I've been interested in the Brooklyn Grange experiment from the first moment I heard about. Small scale profitable gardening/farming has been in my sights and one of my reading interests since I first read Whatley's book way back in the 90's.

How to Make $100,000 Farming 25 Acres: With Special Plans for Prospering on 10 to 200 Acres.

So FARM on the ROOF was my kind of book.

What you will find inside is material that is equal parts business plan and enthusiasm. It's not a dynamic, fascinating read i
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: farming
This is an interesting book about a group of 20-somethings in New York City who decide to go in together and create a rooftop farm. Only one member of the group had any experience with rooftop urban farming or any kind of farming really. But after much planning and hard work they "monstered it out" and Brooklyn Grange's first rooftop farm was born. This is more of a business book than a farming book, but I was especially impressed with Ben's spreadsheets and calculations to determine how much pr ...more
Apr 20, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting book written by the director of communication of the Brooklyn Grange about the formation of their hipster rooftop farming and events business. Full of interesting stories of how the Brooklyn Grange got off the ground and developed from the idea of a rooftop farm to a diversified business farming, installing green roofs, hosting events, promoting rooftop farming and educational efforts this is more of a small green business book than a book about rooftop farming. The information ab ...more
Won as an ARC in a Goodreads Giveaway.
The imagination and work that went into the Brooklyn Grange project is simply staggering. I am familiar with pot gardening and similar ventures, but to grow enough produce to serve as an income source is a totally different kind of looney. And yet, it worked for them. I found it to be an excellent resource to free up the imagination to implement a dream of starting a new and exotic business as well as a lot of good old *how to*. It made for good reading, and
Blaise Morita
Feb 09, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: garden, giveaways
Think living in an urban environment can keep you from growing your own food? The founders of the Brooklyn Grange refused to subscribe to such ideas, and thus was born the world's largest rooftop farm. Learning as they went, these green growing idealists chronicled their experiences in The Farm on the Roof and how their "farmily" became a successful reality and model for the future of food sustainability in all living situations.

*Review to be updated upon receipt and completion of book.
Ruth Feathers
Jun 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I guess I'm a little disappointed that the story doesn't have what I would consider very much detail, but my takeaway is the focus on the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. Sustainable profits can be generated without exploiting people and profits. Having written that, this is also a book about hipsters who don't seem to have any other responsibilities or demands on their time. Which is SO not the case for most of us. Still, a good concept.
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Engaging, fast-paced account of an unconventional start-up. While technically a "business" book, the account reads more like an appealing nonfiction narrative. By focusing on their journey and personal dynamics rather than theories and numbers, the author avoids the tedium that often plagues books in this mien. I received an ARC through Firstreads.
Beth Yeary
Thanks to goodreads, I enjoyed this book. It told of how the Brooklyn Grange transformed two rooftops in New York into gardens. It proved my thoughts that rooftops in large cities go to waste. A rooftop garden makes sense in more ways then one.
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is a great first hand account of what it takes to start and run a small business, one that I happen to be particularly interested in and know quite a bit about so it was right up my alley. Great insight as to missteps they had and how they structure their business.
Michelle Kessler
May 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
I received this as a Goodreads Giveaway. I couldn't get more than 20 pages into it. Between the pretentiousness, lackuster prose, and ineffective attempts to appear to contain practical advice, I was quickly turned off.
Laura Hodgins
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting take on a business and a very interesting business.
Oct 28, 2016 rated it liked it
I haven't read this book yet, but am glad to have it to read.

I won this book in a giveaway but ALL opinions are my own.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bookerina Lovington
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was an entertaining read. As someone who knew nothing about the topic, I found the book interesting yet easy to understand.
rated it it was amazing
Feb 28, 2018
Yue (Nina) Chen
rated it really liked it
Dec 05, 2017
Claire Turner
rated it it was amazing
May 06, 2017
rated it really liked it
Feb 19, 2018
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Around the Year i...: Farm on the Roof, by Anastasia Cole Plakias 1 10 Jan 15, 2018 06:13PM  

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