Michelle Cashen is an assistant agriculture manager in Brooklyn Grange, New York. Even though she loved sweet foods but she grew up knowing that eating the right foods was a major contributor to a healthy life. She is aware that organic food is preferred so she understands the importance of a sustainable food system as a whole and wants to know where the food comes from.
Her passion for a sustainable food system shifted from the classroom to the real world when she began working for Brooklyn Grange in 2014. Brooklyn Grange is the world’s largest roof farming company, which produces 50,000 pounds of organic products each year. They produce and serve more than 40 restaurants and retailers in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan and also sell at the farmers market.
Brooklyn Grange also organizes classes and workshops, supports nonprofit education initiatives, maintains more than 30 beehives throughout the city and many more activities. This is a truly amazing example of what can be achieved by hard work, and a little ingenuity in the limitations of land regulation in urban areas like New York.
Michelle Cashen theAgriculture Manager from New York
As an agricultural manager, Cashen oversees production at the Navy Yard site which has an area of around 1.5 hectares and consists of 12 floors. In spring, they do a lot of planting and working in a greenhouse, finding out where they will plant certain crops and working with the chief farmers in the company, Matt Jefferson. The company is planting everything from standard leafy vegetables such as kale and arugula, to more common ground cherries and cucumber poetry.
The benefits that urban agriculture brings to the city more than just fresh and delicious vegetables also add valuable green space, improve wildlife habitat, reduce the effects of urban heat, and help fight food drains. Farming is certainly not an easy task, but she realizes the importance of wanting to contribute to a food system that leaves an effect in a smaller environmental footprint and inspires others to do it too.
Michelle Cashen the Founder of Rockaway Food Coop
Cashen started Rockaway Food Coop as a winter project since December 2015, when there was enough farming free time in the colder months. Cashen decided to try her idea at Rockaway because there was not much access to small grocery stores there where you can buy products from agriculture in Pennsylvania or in other states.
The idea of a food cooperative that it is a collective whose members buy goods from wholesale distributors, such as the Lancaster and Finger Farm Fresh Farm Cooperative, and share them. This is a great way to get food for communities that want more sustainable local sources. Cashen gives members of the Rockaway community access to fresh, local and organic vegetables, meat, milk and lots of other things. The steps taken by Michelle Cashen are one of the smartest steps in campaigning for a healthy lifestyle by only consuming organic fresh vegetables around.