Vocations: Shepherding Vegetables From Roof to Restaurant

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Our beds are only 10 to 12 inches deep, which means we plant more intensely, getting more plants in one bed. With shallower soil, it also means we need to use different tools and get more creative with things like trellising tomatoes.

How did you learn this farming technique?

I kept a strawberry patch with my mom as a kid at home in rural Essex, Vermont. I moved to New York City in 2003 to study photography but then became homesick for dirt.

Living in Brooklyn, I turned a large backyard into a garden. Then I took intensive classes for seven months in urban farming at the Youth Farm in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and eventually became a manager there. In 2016 I saw an opening at Brooklyn Grange and jumped at the chance.

How many types of vegetables and fruits do you grow?

On a total of 2.5 acres between our two farms, we have about 50 different crops — tomatoes, peppers, arugula, mustards, green beans, eggplant, cucumber, strawberry, plus several kinds of herbs. We grow about 50,000 pounds of organically cultivated produce each year.

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