Will Giron

Downtown Students Reap First Harvest at the Battery Park Urban Farm

by , 06/29/11

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Our favorite turkey-shaped farm is bursting with fresh produce! This week, the student gardeners at the Battery Park Urban Farm reaped the “vegetables of their labor” after two months of tending to lettuce, radishes, peas, kale, collard greens, and other delicious herbs and veggies. The one acre farm is sponsored by the Battery Park Conservancy, and over the last few months, it has brought together hundreds of downtown students and residents who planted and cared for the crops.

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“It’s fun because in the city there’s not really much of an opportunity to grow things,” said Jack Mellett, 11, to DNAinfo. ”You feel a little bit more like you’re in the country. It’s like there’s a country inside of the city.”

The Battery Park Urban Farm has been named by Inhabitat as one of the top 5 urban farms in the city. A newcomer to the urban farming movement, the first harvest began in mid-May. The farm is used as an outdoor classroom for local public schools across the city.

The farm is protected by 5,000 bamboo poles in the shape of  Zelda, the Battery Park turkey who mysteriously arrived one day to the park. The garden was made after students from Millennium High School suggested it to the Battery Conservancy. Unfortunately, the farm will be demolished at the end of 2012 to make way for a new bike path.

The farm has been a unique education experience for the students, many of whom were originally hesitant about getting dirty and digging around worms and spiders. But they quickly embraced the project, and the young farmers would rush to their plots, excited by their work’s progress. Many said their favorite part was watching the plants grow from seeds to full grown vegetables.

A lot of the students had never tasted some of the vegetables grown in the farm, which harvested 20 local vegetables like turnips and summer squash. Others began to note that the vegetables tasted better than those their parents brought at the supermarket. Given the huge success of the program, The Battery Park Conservancy is planning on opening a farmers market this July just outside the farm.

Despite the fact that the Battery Park Farm will not be around in a couple of years, it’s good to see that a new generation of students are now being taught the benefits of farming, organic eating, and environmental sustainability. Actively promoting these types of initiatives to our city’s youth is the only way to ensure that NYC will be a sustainable city of future.

Via DNAinfo

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