Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Visiting Brooklyn’s Largest Rooftop Farm

August 6, 2018

Brooklyn Grange Co-Founder Ben Flanner in their Brooklyn rooftop farm, photos by Theresa Hensley

What do you expect to see when you step foot on an urban rooftop? “A farm” probably isn’t high on the list, but if you make your way to the top of Building 3 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, you will, in fact, find yourself surrounded by edible greenery. That’s due in no small part to the work of Ben Flanner, President & Director of Agriculture at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, where the peppers and herbs that give our Rooftop Garden Hot Sauce its unique flavor are grown. Getting hungry?

The Brooklyn Grange fields atop a building in the Brooklyn Navy yard make up the world’s largest rooftop soil farm.

As if “President & Director of Agriculture” weren’t impressive enough, Ben’s also one of Brooklyn Grange’s co-founders; he started the venture with Vice President Anastasia Cole Plakias and Chief Operating Officer Gwen Schantz in 2010. Armed with a background in management consulting and financial marketing—neither of which, you may notice, are farming—Ben took quickly to his new line of work. “Creating more green spaces in cities is ecologically, socially, and economically valuable on so many levels,” he says. “Personally, though, the idea to start farming was spurred by my love of agriculture, vegetables, and all of the many challenges and hats worn by a farmer.”

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Gift Guides

Our Summer Favorites Under $50

July 19, 2018

Summer’s the time for fun in the sun, but days at the beach, backyard barbecues, and endless outdoor events can start to get spendy. We’re not about to let dollar signs put a damper on summer celebrations, so we picked a few of our favorite warm-weather finds that cost less than $50.

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The Uncommon Life

New York Times–Women Making History: Meet Susan Chira

July 17, 2018

We teamed up with the New York Times to create a book that celebrates those who dared to stand for equal rights through a collection of articles covering more than 150 years. New York Times–Women Making History features an introduction by Susan Chira, a senior correspondent and editor on gender issues. She has also served as deputy executive editor, overseeing The Times’ daily news report, and as foreign editor. She was part of the team that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for public service for coverage of workplace sexual harassment issues.

Susan Chira, photo by Earl Wilson

 

Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studio with Jewelry Makers Cameron and Rebecca Stern

July 10, 2018

Rebecca and Cameron Stern in their Red Hook, Brooklyn, studio

I’ve talked to several creative people who have distinct memories of watching Mr. Rogers show us how crayons are made, so it didn’t surprise me when jewelry designer Rebecca Stern mentioned being inspired by the great Fred Rogers’ televised visits to interesting factories, where he gave curious kids a look behind the scenes. I even felt a little like I was in one of those videos when I visited Rebecca and her husband (and business partner) in their Red Hook, Brooklyn, studio. Their space is filled with tiny bits of inspiration, interesting models and miniatures, and plans to make their next imaginative designs.

If you’re one of those folks who remembers feeling a sense of wonder as you watched wax pour into metal molds as a kid, I think you’d feel the same way within the walls of the Sterns’ space. From watching images on Cameron’s computer screen materialize in the 3D printer, to trying to figure out how they get their detailed dioramas so darn small, to listening to stories of family explorations and adventures, every moment in the studio left me a little more intrigued than the last. Rebecca even made a few pieces while we were there. Watch our video below to see our own version of How It’s Made, then keep reading to learn how science influences the couple’s work, why they’ll never stop experimenting, and what it looks like when you put two very tiny giraffes in an Erlenmeyer flask.

Check out our video to see how the Sterns make their Sprinkles Heart Necklace and  Sprinkle Heart Stud Earrings

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Gift Guides

The Essential Guide to Anniversary Gifts By Year

June 22, 2018

Whether it is the celebration of something fresh or the commemoration of an enduring bond, anniversary gifts by the year help acknowledge the most important moments in marriage.

Over the long history of giving, a number of themes have emerged that define the most suitable offerings for each passing year. Drawing inspiration from this well-spring ensures you get the sentiment right without losing a wink of sleep worrying what to get.

So do yourself a favor and scroll through our essential guide to help you evoke the most fitting symbolism at the appropriate stage of your loved ones life.

Anniversary Gifts by Year

A Year of Gratitude Anniversary box set
A Year of Gratitude – $30 Buy Now »

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The Uncommon Life

Better to Give: Stand with Refugees

June 19, 2018

June 20 marks World Refugee Day, a global movement to shed light on the resilience and strength of people who have escaped conflict and are rebuilding their lives. We’re proud to support our longtime partner the International Rescue Committee in standing with the most vulnerable around the world.

Refugee resettlement in the US is at an all-time low. With over 65 million people displaced in the world, the need to support refugees is more urgent now than ever. Watch the video below for practical ways you can make a difference for refugees in the US right now. Find out how you can get involved by visiting www.rescue.org/worldrefugeeday

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