It looks like Battery Park is taking a few notes from Red Hook’s gardening book. The Battery Conservatory broke ground on the Urban Farm at the Battery, a 1-acre community garden that with stretch across the Great Lawn in Downtown Manhattan’s Battery Park. Local restaurant owners, school students, and residents will plant and tend to organic vegetable patches throughout the farm, which is shaped like the park’s most famous resident — Zelda the turkey.
Designer Scott Dougan created the playful design of the 80-plot farm, which he outlined with a bamboo fence. The stretch of land is located along State Street, which has been disrupted and unused for five years because of construction on the 1 subway line. This past week, the Battery Conservatory transported soil to the area in preparation for planting. The farm will exist through the beginning of 2013, or until construction begins on the Battery Garden Bikeway.
Conservatory President Warrie Price said that the garden is being created for anyone who wants to participate, but the idea originally came from students of Millennium High School, who asked last fall if they could use a small plot of the park for a vegetable garden. The request sparked interest by other nearby schools, and now more than eight schools and 450 students from kindergarten through 12th grade have signed up to participate. Price has also reached out to local restaurant owners, and she hopes that residents will plant gardens as well.
The Conservatory hopes the farm will encourage healthier eating and a greener lifestyle while also strengthening the Battery Park community. There will be an official opening ceremony on April 11, but volunteers have already begun planting their crops.
To get involved with the garden, sign up here on the Conservatory’s website.