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New Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn to get produce from above

Whole Foods Market announced that Gotham Greens is its operating partner of a commercial-scale greenhouse farm that will be integrated within a retail grocery space in New York City.

The 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, currently being constructed on the roof of the forthcoming Whole Foods Market store in Gowanus, Brooklyn, is scheduled to open later this fall.

Gotham Greens will grow premium-quality, pesticide-free produce year round in the greenhouse for Whole Foods Market Gowanus, as well as other Whole Foods Market locations throughout New York City.

"Gotham Greens has been a valued local supplier of high-quality, flavorful and fresh produce to Whole Foods Market since early 2011, making this greenhouse project a natural and extremely exciting next step in our relationship," Christina Minardi, Northeast regional president of Whole Foods Market, said in an April 1 press release. "We're particularly excited to partner with a local organization with roots right here in Brooklyn and a mission in line with our own, in that we both care deeply about providing local, fresh and sustainably produced food."

The new greenhouse will be designed, built and operated by Gotham Greens in partnership with Whole Foods Market. The specially designed rooftop farm will include advanced irrigation systems that use up to 20 times less water than conventional farming as well as enhanced glazing materials and electrical equipment to reduce overall energy demand.

Based on the farm's proximity to Whole Foods Market stores in New York City, the project will eliminate long-distance food transport and associated emissions, while ensuring product freshness, quality and nutrition for thousands of customers in the area.

Gotham Greens was approached by Whole Foods Market for this project due to its position as an industry leader in urban and rooftop greenhouses in the country in addition to its high-quality produce offerings from its current farm location in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

"Talk about local, this project takes the discussion from food miles to food footsteps," Viraj Puri, co-founder of Gotham Greens, added in the press release. "Our greenhouse will provide Whole Foods Market shoppers with access to the freshest, most delicious leafy greens, herbs and tomatoes year round that will be grown right above the store's produce department. We're thrilled with this partnership and to be part of the growing national movement of farmers and food producers committed to providing consumers with high-quality, responsibly produced food."

The rooftop greenhouse will be fully operational at the time of the new Whole Foods Market opening and will create a variety of green collar jobs and economic development opportunities in the Brooklyn area.

Whole Foods Market also plans to offer educational opportunities for area students and local schools to learn about greenhouses, farming and various environmental initiatives.