Brooklyn Farmer

A film by Michael Tyburski
27 minutes, color, USA, 2013
DVD includes: Closed Captions, Chapter Markers, Bonus Scenes


“Brooklyn Farmer” explores the unique challenges facing Brooklyn Grange, a group of urban farmers who endeavor to run a commercially viable farm within the landscape of New York City. The film follows Head Farmer Ben Flanner, CEO Gwen Schantz, Communications Director Anastasia Plakias, Farm Manager Michael Meier, and Beekeeper Chase Emmons as their growing operation expands from Long Island City, Queens to a second roof in the Brooklyn Navy Yards. The team confronts the realities inherent in operating the world’s largest rooftop farm in one of the world’s biggest cities.


“Highly Recommended.  Brooklyn Farmer covers organic urban rooftop farming as a business. Audiences are convincingly offered a perspective on the cost of farm labor’s exposure to pesticides versus the increased cost of organic vegetables. One urban rooftop farmer cites that “small scale organic farming is un-controversially good.” Further, the director gives reasons as to the benefit of urban farming in plain language citing aesthetics, supply chain reduction and human health. Moreover, the original score by Matt Abeysekera enhances the production value. Viewers are given informative and legible text throughout segments that further serve to educate.” EMRO

*** Recommended. “Michael Tyburski’s documentary short looks at the mission of Brooklyn Grange, a cooperative consisting of NYC-based organic “urban farmers” who haul more than a million pounds of soil up to a suitably sturdy, sunlight-surrounded rooftop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Their goal: to create one of the largest metropolitan roof-farms ever—complete with chickens and beekeeping (using a hive evicted from its former home, a fire hydrant)—with produce going directly to nearby markets. What is most interesting here is that the interviewed crop-growers are entrepreneurial young professionals from backgrounds in finance and non-profit management, who are seeking to make a more positive, sustainable change in the world.” Video Librarian

“This title has been recommended for young adult readers. Both rural and urban teens may be inspired to try their hands at organic gardening.” Booklist

“For years, I’ve relied heavily on documentaries  to help my students understand how broken our present corporate food system is. Enter ‘Brooklyn Farmer,’ an inspiring, invigorating portrait of what urban farming can and should be. Upon watching, my students immediately reached for their shovels and began digging.” David Silver, Associate Professor, Media Studies, Environmental Studies, and Urban Agriculture, University of San Francisco

“‘Brooklyn Farmer’ masterfully demonstrates the promise of sustainable development in America’s most urban setting – New York City. Driven by youthful exuberance and ideals of wholesome food production, through the adaptive reuse of rooftops these young “urban guerrilla pioneers” show how urban gardening can reduce the carbon footprint, lessen urban heat gain, and increase national food security. Its not hard to imagine how such fiscally sound urban food industries could rapidly expand throughout American cities as a principal source of fresh produce.” Nicholas Zaferatos, Professor of Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University

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  • Winner Audience Award Best Short Documentary
    Ashland Independent Film Festival
  • Winner Jury Award Best Documentary
    Marin Short Film Festival
  • Winner Best Short Documentary
    Destiny City Film Festival