Brooklyn Green Spaces, R.I.P.

bk green

By the time you read this, Brooklyn’s sweetest green office space—and a few of our favorite food businesses—will have been kicked out of the borough. Thanks to a landlord who has doubled the rent smack in the middle of a real estate-driven recession, the aptly named Green Spaces has been financially forced from its artsy loft downtown at 33 Flatbush Avenue to—get this—Manhattan.

If you crave clean white cubicles and central heat and air, Green Spaces was decidedly not the starter office for you. But if you were after killer views of Downtown Brooklyn, CSA pickups in your office kitchen, communal lunches and collaborative input from half a dozen local, like-minded businesses, then this cooperative workspace was your office nirvana—especially if sustainability is part of your mission statement.

Launched last May by Jennie Nevin, a former investment banker with a passion to promote small green businesses, Green Spaces offered low-cost, laid-back office and commercial kitchen space on a sliding scale. In other words, it was a clutter of cool old office furniture and commercial kitchen equipment donated by the landlord . . . before he saw another kind of green, that is.

The goal of Green Spaces, says director Roberto Rhett, is to help support companies and freelancers who want to work in a green field, or maybe just want to learn from those who do. By September, 35 businesses were on board, including several food-related startups we’re bummed might leave the borough: Early Bird Foods & Co. (granola baked with olive oil by a former Franny’s employee, it’s sold at the Flea and Bklyn Larder); Kumquat Cupcakery; Sea to Table (which brings sustainable wild seafood to city chefs); and Gotham Greens, now implementing a prototype for a commercially viable, solar-powered rooftop greenhouse farm in Queens.

Once they get their bearings in a new building in Chinatown (thankfully still an easy bike away) Green Spaces hopes to seek out another Brooklyn location, says Rhett, probably in Williamsburg.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.