Urban Farm Builds Roots at Battery Park

September 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm 1 comment

© Photo by Margarida Correia. See caption at bottom of post.

The temporary one-acre urban farm that opened in April at the Battery is not so temporary anymore.  It will shift to a new location in the park when a planned bike path comes through in 2012, said Warrie Price, founder of the Battery Conservancy, a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing the Battery at the tip of Manhattan.

“It’s been too much of a great positive thing for the neighborhood and for us as an organization,” she said as she made her rounds amid rows of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans and a riot of other crops on Saturday.

Since it opened, the farm has received a great deal of media attention with Inhabitat New York City naming it one of the city’s top five urban farms. It’s been a hit with neighborhood school children, Lower Manhattan residents and local community groups who “adopted” or planted half of the 100-plus vegetable beds.  It also drew hundreds of volunteers eager to help the Battery run the operation.

“This is a dream come true,” said the farm’s manager Camilla Hammer, as a bevy of volunteers swirled around her with shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows.

Hammer cut her teeth in farming in rural communities in India and Europe where she practiced different types of agriculture.  To be in charge of the entire farm operation at the Battery — even if on a volunteer basis, as it was for the first four months — was an incredible opportunity, Hammer said.  She designed the layout of the raised beds or “berms,” determined what to put in them, and oversaw just about everything, including 10 part- and full-time interns.

Hammer and the interns work half of the farm and assist school groups with their plots, when needed.  The crops they harvest are given to kiosks and restaurants in the park, donated to food banks, and sold at an on-site farmer’s markets on Monday and Thursday afternoons.

“It’s been just fabulous,” said Price, noting that the Battery has always had good design but never any outreach. “This is the way to get people involved.”

The farm worked up even Frank Gehry.  The famous architect liked it so much he decided to incorporate a farming theme into the design of the Battery’s play space.

“All the play structures,” said Price, “will have veggie gardens.”

For a related New York Bounty post, click here.

Caption for photo above: Camilla Hammer, farm manager of Battery Park’s one-acre farm, cut her teeth in farming in rural communities in India and Europe where she practiced different types of agriculture.

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Entry filed under: City Farmers, Community Gardens, Farmers Market, Local Food Production, Urban Agriculture. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Emmanuela Mujica  |  September 14, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I’m so happy to hear that the Battery Park Urban Farm has a future in Manhattan! I visited the farm this summer and was impressed by its scale and beauty and the friendliness of the interns. This urban farm deserves to become a permanent part of park.

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