Annie Novak is an absolute gem. As the co-founder and farmer of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn, NY, Annie gracefully juggles the responsibilities of food production, managing volunteers, answering to the media, marketing, and of course, what crops to plant next. She masters all of these tasks, always with a smile on her face. The rooftop farm was designed and installed by a local green roof company called Goode Green, atop a warehouse that is occupied by Broadway Stages.
I had the pleasure of visiting Annie’s farm on Sunday, and witnessed for myself what all the fuss is about. The roof was busily occupied by an Australian film crew (shooting a documentary segment on Annie), a German journalist (writing a story on the farm), a Jamaican insect farmer (who raises insects as international chicken feed), an aquaponics practitioner (from Growing Power in the Midwest), volunteers, casual onlookers, and myself (the aspiring author).
When speaking with Annie on the roof, she explained how the goals of the farm are multifaceted: ”Food connects everything and all issues to everyone. There’s nothing we do here that doesn’t have to do with food education, nutrition, and the environment.” When asked about the desire to expand to other rooftops around the city, Annie responded that ”the need [for rooftop farming] is unbelievable. It’s just a matter of finding the right chemistry between building owner and farmer… There should be one million Eagle Street Rooftop Farms in New York City. They should be functional green roofs. They should provide nutritious food. They should be filled with passionate people.”
With her poise, generosity, articulate nature, and ability to connect people to one another, it is no wonder that Annie is a leader in the rooftop agriculture movement. This is one farmer to keep an eye on.
For more information on Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, please visit rooftopfarms.org.