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Rooftop to Table

Gotham Greens wants to bring city dwellers hyper-local sustainable produce—grown on a rooftop near you.

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Film created by Liza Voloshin for Departures and American Express Platinum.

Viraj Puri, the co-founder of Gotham Greens, year-round urban farms located on rooftops in Brooklyn and Chicago, is changing the way city dwellers source fresh food by producing greenhouse-grown vegetables and herbs right above their heads. Several buzz phrases accompany the Gotham Greens brand: pesticide-free, sustainably grown, hydroponically grown, hyper-local, but the company’s unconventional approach to food production isn’t just a passing trend. It’s a whole new way to think about the future of agriculture.

When Puri and his team’s flagship greenhouse, located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, opened in 2011, it became the first ever commercial scale rooftop garden in the United States. Measuring some 15,000 square feet, the facility grows 100,000 pounds of greens annually, using on-site solar panels to offset electricity costs. In 2014, a second location opened on the rooftop of Whole Foods’ flagship Brooklyn store (a fact most patrons to the market aren’t even aware of), becoming the first commercial greenhouse to be integrated into a supermarket. Gotham Greens has since opened two more sites, one in Queens, and one on Chicago’s south side (their most technically advanced greenhouse to date), and plans to continue expanding operations to cities around the country.

Until then though, with 148 retail and restaurant suppliers in New York City, and 236 in Chicago, there are ample opportunities to try the brand’s unique varietals, which go way beyond your average salad mix. Along with arugula, baby kale, and basil, boxes include mixtures like the “Gourmet Lettuce medley,” a combination of green, red, oak leaf, butter, curly and textured lettuce, and the “Asian Blend,” a mix of bok choy, mizuna, tatsoi, and mustard greens. Gotham Greens also supplies high end restaurants like Gramercy Tavern and Maysville in New York and RL Restaurant in Chicago with in-season varietals to use in their dishes.

Viraj Puri is a member of the American Express Platinum Collective, an advisory board that helps create experiences for Platinum Card Members. Explore all the ways you can experience more with Platinum Card Membership.

Gramercy Tavern, which uses produce from Gotham Greens, is a member of the American Express Global Dining Collection which offers special access to reservations and experiences at restaurants card members love.


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