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Battery Urban Farm is a one acre educational farm, located in the historic Battery, the 25 acre park at the tip of Manhattan. Our turkey-shaped farm is home to over 80 varieties of organically-grown vegetables, fruits, flowers, grains, and companion plants.
We are open for the growing season, from April through November. During this time we welcome local teachers, parents, students and our downtown community to join us in planting, cultivating and harvesting fresh organic produce. We provide an outdoor classroom space for teachers and offer a variety of farm-based learning opportunities. These include lessons led by our Battery Urban Farm Educator during the school year; Enrichment Visits for schools and camp groups; a City Seedlings Summer Program in July and August; and a workshop series as part of our Battery Urban Farm Saturdays. (To read more, visit the Youth Education and Community Outreach tabs above.)
To see what’s happening on the farm this month, sign up for our mailing list where you can receive our monthly e-news. To read our most recent edition, check out the February E-News, or read the December E-News.
The idea for Battery Urban Farm was sparked in November of 2010, when The Battery Conservancy was approached by eight students from Millennium High School. These Environmental Club students asked if they could grow a vegetable garden in the park. The Battery Conservancy embraced this idea, and quickly got to work. Five months, four thousand bamboo sticks, and 352 cubic yards of organic soil later, Battery Urban Farm was born.
From the seeds of this modest idea, we went from serving eight students at Millennium to 860 students at 11 schools in our first year and 1,700 students at 30 schools and community organizations in 2012. We’re growing — fast.
- To inspire and educate student farmers and the general public about growing and eating healthy food
- To promote taste literacy (or in other words, to get kids tasting tomatoes and going crazy for carrots!)
- To increase understanding of sustainable gardening practices
- To foster a strong sense of community in Downtown Manhattan
During our first growing season, we were lucky enough to work with 860 children, 11 schools, and 300 volunteers. In our second year, our numbers doubled: In 2012 we educated 1,800 student farmers from 30 schools and 600+ volunteers — and our produce went to 2 downtown school cafeterias. In a world where obesity and other diet-related illnesses run rampant and many children cannot identify common vegetables in their whole, natural state, there is a growing and pressing need for garden education. Battery Urban Farm fills this need, serving a crucial role as a vital, educational, public green space for our burgeoning downtown residential community and urban children across all of New York City.
But don’t just take it from us! Here is what some of our teachers are saying about Battery Urban Farm:
- “Students really enjoyed watching plants grow from seed to fruit. Many had not known how common foods like tomatoes, peppers and string beans grow.” – Teacher, Millennium HS
- “Students took the veggies home [and] some parents commented that new produce items were introduced to their children’s diet because of the urban farm.” – Teacher, PS/IS 276
- “I was surprised at how much my students were at play in the farm. They learned without realizing they were learning—seeming to forget that we were even at school. I was surprised by their curiosity and enthusiasm.” — Teacher, Cooke Center Academy
- “I’ve grown plants with my students at the greenhouse at our school, but growing in a community farm is so much more rewarding. The level of interaction and inspiration is key: my students get to learn from other people at the farm and share their knowledge with other students and visitors. … This experience has enabled them to have a sense of shared purpose and community.” – Teacher, City-As School
- “There is a sense of responsibility gained in caring for plants – they are bringing this back to the classroom! The way they care for each other and the classroom is definitely attributed to what they are learning at the farm.” — Teacher, PS/IS 276
Or take it from the kids themselves:
- “This is so sweet I love it.” “Can I have thirds?” “This is the best trip ever!” — students during a class radish tasting
- “I would rather stay here and eat salad than go to recess.” – 1st grade student
- “I know what love is for plants: WATER.” — 3rd grade student
- “I love fruits on the farm!” — student after tasting a string bean during a “Parts of the Plant” lesson
- “Thank you for showing me how to harvest now when my plants are ready to harvest I will know how to. Maybe I can show my family so when they have plants they will know how to too.” – from student thank-you letter
- “Is the farm open to the public? I want to bring my mom.” – 1st grade student
Thanks to the enthusiastic hard work of hundreds of community volunteers, residents, student farmers and Battery Conservancy staff, we’re growing — fast — with even more interested students, teachers, class groups and families every day. Your support will enable Battery Urban Farm — and all of our beloved student farmers — to keep on growing.