By Lauren Lindstrom
In the second post of our Farm Series, the New York City Food Policy Center highlights three farms focused on educating students of all ages about food and farming. All of these farms welcome visitors on designated days.
Location: Battery Place and Washington Street, adjacent to Castle Clinton National Monument (Battery Park City)
Founded: In 2011 by The Battery Conservancy in partnership with the Environmental Club at Millennium High School
One of the many reasons they’re amazing: The farm is a learning space for youth and adults with programs that teach sustainable farming techniques, cultivate environmental stewardship, and promote the creation of edible gardens.
Farm size: 1 acre
What’s growing: Vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers; the Forest Farm—a new addition—produces fruit trees, berries, mushrooms, flowers for pollinators, and medicinal plants
Amount produced annually: N/A
Where to find their products: They donate to participating public school cafeterias through the NYC Department of Education’s Garden to School Cafe Program; during the summer, food is also donated to their community partner Drive Change for use in their Snowday food truck
When to visit: Open to the public when the farmers are there and the gate is unlocked, usually between 8am and 4pm on weekdays.
Take the kids: The farm welcomes student field trips; see their website for more information
Location: Southern end of Randall’s Island, adjacent to the park’s playground, picnic area, and fields; check out their map for guidance
One of the many reasons they’re amazing: The farm offers youth the opportunity to plant, harvest, and compost at the farm. Kids also get to cook and enjoy communal meals in the outdoor kitchen, and use their bicycle-powered blender.
Farm size: 40,000 square feet
What’s growing: Rice (four solar-powered, organic rice paddies!), berries (including blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries), pears, grapes, apples, kale, leeks, broccoli, tomatoes, eggplants, beans, corn, and more in 80 raised beds and 2 greenhouses
Amount produced annually: 3,500 pounds of food
Where to find their products: The majority is used in their on-site educational programming; additional food is donated to either food pantries in the area or to other nonprofits with a social mission, like Drive Change, which works with recently incarcerated youth to provide job training and mentorship in their commercial kitchen and on their food trucks
Take the kids: School groups and summer camps are welcome to participate in the farm’s Edible Education Program; see the website for more information
Location: 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens (Glen Oaks)
Founded: The Museum’s farmland dates back to 1697 and it is the longest continuously farmed site in New York State; the site is currently owned by the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
One of the many reasons they’re amazing: Don’t let the word “museum” fool you, this is a working farm focused on sustainable agriculture, featuring a greenhouse complex, livestock, planting fields, an orchard, an herb garden, and historic farm buildings.
Farm size: 47 acres
What’s growing: Vegetables, herbs, flowers, eggs, raw honey, wool from alpacas and Cotswold sheep
Amount produced annually: N/A
Where to find their products: At their on-site farm stand and at restaurants in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn; starting this winter, Purl Soho will carry their naturally dyed wool
When to visit: Open to the public seven days a week; general admission is free except during events. To shop the farmers’ market, visit Wednesday-Fridays from 11am to 3 pm, or on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5 pm. Individuals can volunteer at the farm Sundays and Tuesdays from 10am-4pm.
Take the kids: School groups are welcome; see their website for more information.
Photo credit: Toby Tenenbaum (Randall’s Island Park Alliance)