Cristina crafts pieces on travel, parenting and lifestyle. Connect with her at www.editorialcreatives.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Editorial-Creatives/147954298617175 and @CristinaDimen on Twitter. WN mentor link: www.weekendnotes.com/profile/37614/
Published August 11th 2011
While it's true that the Big Apple offers an array of attractions and activities, many tourists and local residents traveling to Lower Manhattan may be surprised to find that a farm is now part of their must-see places to visit. Launched in April 2011, Urban Farm at the Battery is the island's first farm in the area since Dutch settlers tilled the soil and planted their crops in 1625.
Urban Farm at the Battery
Bamboo poles originally used in the "Big Bambu" sculpture atop the Metropolitan Museum of Art's roof garden surround the farm, forming the shape of a turkey—in honor of the area's resident turkey, Zelda.
Bamboo poles surround the thriving urban farm
Fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, broccoli, beets, peppers, collard greens and herbs are growing on a one-acre stretch of land in Battery Park.
Colorful flower blossoms accent the greenery, including towering sunflowers with cheery bright-orange petals.
Sunflowers complement the greenery
The farm grew from a request by Millennium High School students who approached the Battery Park Conservancy with their desire for a vegetable garden. Today, nearly 700 students from neighboring schools lend their green thumbs to the program. Students from each participating school take care of their plot, and can harvest their crops for school use.
Participating schools plant fruits, vegetables and flowers on their plots
Likewise, city folks of all ages can dig into the soil as a volunteer, or even adopt a plot to grow their own fruits and vegetables. It's a great way to foster a budding farmer's lifelong appreciation for locally grown produce—to see mini eggplants dangle until they've grown big enough to be plucked.
Mini eggplants dangle until they're suitable to be harvested
Visit the onsite farmstand on Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m., and take home a bag of freshly harvested vegetables or fruits. Pay the suggested price, or donate the amount you wish. Proceeds from the farmstand support continued seasonal work.