America’s largest concrete jungle sprouts rooftop hop farm and brewery.
Thousands Win is a startup out of Brooklyn, New York with dreams of creating sustainable green spaces and to brew truly local NYC beer. The founders, Caleb Freese and Julian Hensarling, have developed a lightweight green roof system to grow hops atop New York buildings. This act of urban agriculture, hop farming, and local brewing would make them the first “farm to bottle” farm brewery in the city.
The benefits from urban rooftop farming are numerous, both for the environment and for New York residents. It improves air quality, reduces storm water runoff, passively reduces building temperatures, creates wildlife habitats, and opportunities for education on environmental issues. If you’re still skeptical and think that a couple little rooftops won’t make much of a difference in New York City, consider the fact that this huge city is the host to approximately 20,000 acres of unused rooftop space, which is the equivalent of 26 Central Parks.
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Freese and Hensarling realize that most roofs cannot support the weight of traditional green roofs and have been growing and developing new farming systems that are super lightweight. “We’ve designed a rooftop farm without putting soil on the roof or the need for watering” says Freese. By using rainwater collection systems and growing suspending hop vines, their roofs are just one third of the weight of a traditional rooftop farm.
New York’s Governor Cuomo recently passed a new Farm Brewery law in 2013 to develop incentive for local agriculture and local NY state products. So far, 15 farms upstate have already opened taprooms; however, Thousands Win will be the first to bring hop farming to NYC. Years ago New York was the largest grower of hops and Brooklyn was its brewery capitol. Thousands Win will work toward bringing this heritage crop back to their urban environment and to celebrate Brooklyn’s brewing history.
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This environmental upstart has been gaining support from the community along with building relationships with other local farming advocates such as Hecho Inc, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, Bierkraft, and The New York City Parks Department. They will be launching their fundraising campaign to be NYC’s first farm brewery on February 17th through the crowd-funding website, Indiegogo with hopes of getting off the ground by spring for the hops season. “The outcome of our efforts is a product that benefits the entire city- hence the name, Thousands Win,” says Freese.
Beer will be among the rewards that contributors can receive for their contribution on Indiegogo. Contributors will also be supporting the environment of New York City and the urban agriculture movement. To learn more about Thousands Win, visit their website, their Indiegogo page February 17th at indiegogo.com/at/1kbeer.