Everybody’s talking about Annie Novak these days. Novak’s the big boss at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint. First Jamie Oliver visited the farm a few weeks ago for a photo shoot, and then The Awl published a nice Q&A between Annie and writer Noah Davis.
The doyenne of rooftop farming talks about what brought her to New York:
“I went to college out here specifically to pursue a career in writing and being fabulous. I went to Sarah Lawrence College and their whole mantra is ‘Follow Your Bliss.’ It’s the Joseph Campbell motto, and I adore that idea. I adore the idea that if you put a good idea into the world, things flow toward you like water. It’s been 100-percent true if I set my mind on something. I’ve never, ever hit failure because New York is a place where that sort of thing is possible.”
She also highlights what’s so great about New York farming, even from an urban rooftop:
“…what I like about New York is we have a tomato season and we have a broccoli season. We have a cool season for our lettuces, and we have a hot season for our peppers. We grow gorgeous garlic. There are a lot of things that we try here that we are magnificent at, and although I can’t do hazelnuts and oranges like they do in California, I also don’t have their fungal diseases. I don’t have their water issues. And I definitely don’t have their locovore snobs. We are cultivating that crop here in New York, but so far it’s pretty DIY and realistic. I like that a lot.”
She also drops some truths about the need to get involved in the politics of food:
“All your friends who are growing tomatoes in their backyard, I hope those people also actively vote, protest against hydrofracking, and connect the little thing that they are doing for their own sustenance and their own curiosity into something that will change policy. Because otherwise we’re going to burn out on it in a couple years. Their container gardens are just going to dry up and die.”
Then, on The Scout, there’s a great photo set from the benefit for Eagle Street held at Paulie Gee‘s a few weeks ago with help from hOmE and Goat Town. Looks like a good time!