Urban farming in the middle of New York City is inherently a curious juxtaposition, but even among the growing number of creatively placed urban farms, the Battery Urban Farm sits in remarkable contrast to its surroundings. The Battery Urban Farm is a a project of the Battery Conservancy, the nonprofit that oversees and maintains the Battery and runs programs for visitors. The Battery Urban Farm is a one-acre educational farm, with over 100 varieties of organically-grown vegetables, fruits, flowers, grains, and companion plants, and is located in the historic Battery. It sits at the very foot of towering Wall Street banks, law firms and major corporations, speaking in soft opposition to the financial engine that drives drive much of our industrial food system.
NYC Foodscape had the great honor of serving as technical consultant to the Battery Conservancy’s urban farm and helped plan and install it during its inaugural 2011 season. Since then, I’ve continued my involvement each season, including having my own plot at the farm last year, but I had yet to visit the farm this season. After the devastation of last Fall’s Hurricane Sandy, which completely wiped out the Battery Conservancy’s office and took a toll on the farm itself, the farm’s future was threatened. Thanks to a crowd-funded campaign, the Battery Urban Farm was back this season, focusing on school programs and public education. As a donor, my thank-you gift was a chance to harvest my dinner, which I eagerly did last week. It was as beautiful and inspiring as ever, and I came away with an assortment of the freshest, loveliest vegetables you could find anywhere.
Among the fresh ingredients I harvested were eggplants, tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, haricot vert beans, kale and collards, and an abundance of herbs, which became a feast of a ratatouille, and a kale salad, with eggplant left for a roasted eggplant salad for another day.
Here are photos from the visit–I had trouble holding myself back from harvesting more than I could carry!
For photos from the Battery farm, including NYC Foodscape garden work, visit NYC Foodscape’s Facebook page.