The Whole Food site in Gowanus, Brooklyn, doesn’t look like much yet. Actually, in general, Gowanus doesn’t look like much these days — it’s a once-industrial neighborhood that’s increasingly being taken over by pickling factories and music studios. You can walk whole blocks without passing by much except maybe a coffin wholesaler, and then hit upon a corner where there’s a pie place, a barbecue joint, and a home-brew shop.

It also smells bad, fairly often. Because this is where the Gowanus Canal is, and that’s still a Superfund site. The city’s sewage system still dumps overflow into it during storms. It is actually possible, if you’re lucky, to see poop float by.

So, here comes Whole Foods, a company that likes to talk about being local and green, and on top of its new, big store here, it’s going to build a rooftop farm. A 20,000-square-foot rooftop farm.

This is a mixed bag. There will be no pesticides and no need for wasteful shipping of produce. But there will be fumes coming from the canal. Also, it’s a greenhouse, so there will be winter tomatoes, not exactly the most energy-efficient of foods. (Also kale, because it’s impossible to do anything involving “local food” without kale.) But the farm will run on solar power and recycle rainwater.

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So while we might be a little leery of both Whole Foods and veggies grown in areas long contaminated with industrial toxins, we’re willing to give these a try. Just, you know, maybe wash them. If you walk a few blocks you can probably find a little boutique selling handmade soap.

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