Urban Farm At The Battery Debuts
Monday, April 11, 2011
Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Battery Conservancy President Warrie Price were today joined by members of the Millennium High School Environmental Club and 200 first and sixth graders from P.S. 276 and P.S. 896 to inaugurate the new Urban Farm at the Battery. Also present were architect and designer Shane Neufeld, and Battery Chefs Wade Burch of Merchant Market, and Zak Pelaccio and Kevin Pomplun of Fatty Cue.
“Urban agriculture is critical in our city to strengthen the connection between New Yorkers and the food they eat,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “We are delighted to partner with the Battery Conservancy in establishing this urban farm which will promote hands-on learning about the living environment, nutrition, history, civics and the arts. And what better location than in the Battery – the site where the Dutch first planted their cottage gardens back in 1625!”
“From its structure to its program, from its seeds to its enrichment of the park’s soil, from its potential for bringing people together and teaching us about healthy eating, the Urban Farm at the Battery is a sustainable exercise in both progressive horticulture and design excellence,” said Battery Conservancy President Warrie Price. “The Farm is a natural outgrowth of the Battery Conservancy’s ongoing commitment to community outreach and envisioning creatively the future of life in the City.”
The Urban Farm occupies one full acre of the Battery’s verdant parkland at the southernmost tip of Manhattan – along State Street at Pearl Street – and will be in operation for two years until construction begins on the Battery Garden Bikeway connecting the East and West Sides of Manhattan.
It originated with a request from students of Millennium High School’s Envrionmental Club to plant a vegetable garden in the park. It led to a farming initiative that now includes eight schools with over 650 students participating.
The Urban Farm will now serve the Lower Manhattan community as a sustainable outdoor farming destination to include 80 organic vegetable plots. These will lie within an “architecture” conceived by New York designer Scott Dougan, who created a planting footprint that pays playful tribute to Zelda, a wild American turkey who has resided since 2003 in the Battery and is much loved by the public. Tracing a perimeter that evokes Zelda’s silhouette, including her distinctive head and tail feathers, Dougan with architect partner Shane Neufeld utilized over 5,000 bamboo poles which were donated to the Conservancy by renowned artists Mike and Doug Starn. The bamboo is repurposed from their internationally acclaimed installation work ‘Big Bambú: You Can’t, You Don’t, and You Won’t Stop,’ which occupied The Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden during the summer and early autumn of 2010.
It will also function as an outdoor classroom where students and volunteer members of the public – including community groups, local residents, members of the Downtown work force, and military veterans - can plant, cultivate, harvest, and eat fresh produce. During the preparation of its soil for planting, the Urban Farm already has welcomed more than 650 students from kindergarten through 12th grade, from eight New York City schools: PS3 The John Melser Charrette School; PS89 Liberty School; PS276 Battery Park City School; IS289 Hudson River Middle School; IS896 Lower Manhattan Community Middle School; M560 City-as-School; Claremont Preparatory School; and Millennium High School.
Members of the public who would like to get their hands into the soil at the Urban Farm can learn more by going to: www.thebattery.org
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