Home On The Grange…My Day At The Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm.

About 30 of us stood on a rooftop in Brooklyn among rows of kale as the sun set over the Manhattan skyline. Of those 30, only three had ever picked kale. However, that was about to change…. We all stared mesmerized as the sky changed in hues of baby blues and yellows, framed by the twinkling lights of the rushing city. BG Picking Kale 2

We were on the rooftop farm for my annual Food and Happiness Workshop. I had asked everyone to pick three leaves of kale each.  Once they did, our guests then went to the other side of the farm to see the chickens and collect some fresh herbs, and I started seasoning the collected kale with orange zest in preparation for a light salad I was going to share with the group. The salad would be a medley of fresh ingredients that would encompass the philosophy of Eat Complete. When I looked over at the mound of kale lying next to the mixing bowl, I realized just how much kale we had. By asking a group of 30 people to pull just 3 leaves each, we had enough kale to feed more than double the group size! What a wonderful realization to come to, just how much a small amount of kale could feed and nourish a large group of people. There’s true power in that knowledge.

BG Salad Close UpThis became even clearer to me as the group returned from their tour of the splendid Brooklyn Grange rooftop garden. I spotted a small group of expecting mothers. The challenge of nourishing two brains with one food source is as good as it gets for a food doctor! Feeding anchovies, one of the ingredients I brought to garnish the salad, to those women on a rooftop farm, now that’s nutritional psychiatry! Good nutrition is vital to healthy pregnancy. I want those moms eating the long-chained omega-3s found in anchovies, and other fatty fish. They decrease the risk of postpartum depression by six times, and boost baby’s verbal IQ.

BG Kale Belly Pic

At the end of the day what I enjoy most about the Brooklyn Grange is the reminder that just being on a farm makes people smile, and it was all smiles that enchanted evening. As much as I’d like to think that was my doing, the truth is that being amongst fields of nourishing vegetation is just magical.

If you’re visiting New York, or reside in this fair city, do yourself a favor and go see this spectacular rooftop farm for yourself. The Brooklyn Grange sits nestled among industrial buildings, a flower growing out of concrete, determined to remind us all how integral and necessary it is for us to be in and experience nature. The workshops, dinners, and events they host are a true gift, providing truly entertaining and informative experiences for its participants. I want to give my most sincere thanks to the Brooklyn Grange Team for allowing me be part of that magic.

More farm magic coming your way this summer. We are headed back to our family farm in Indiana, where I will be harvesting something buzz-worthy to share with you all very soon. Also check out the stellar Food Freedom Fundraiser event I’ll be participating in at the Polyface Inc Farm, featured in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Click the link for your discount code.

Cheers to food and your happiness,


Drew Ramsey, MD

Drew Ramsey, M.D. is a psychiatrist, author, and farmer. He is a clear voice in the mental health conversation and one of psychiatry’s leading proponents of using nutritional interventions. He is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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