Students from PS 276 weeding out chickweed

Students from PS 276 weeding out chickweed

Yay – spring is here and we couldn’t be happier!  Classes have returned to the farm to start pulling up those pesky weeds, amending the farm’s soil with fresh compost, and planting many, many seeds.

Our first graders have been caring for lettuce and scallion seedlings back in their classrooms, and this past week they finally got to move them out to the farm. What should we cook with these ingredients – delicious scallion and herb pestos? Fresh springtime salads? Our students are very excited to continue watching their plants grow and we cannot wait for harvest time.

We’ve also had some amazing Farm Field Trips from PS 8 in Brooklyn. The 5th grade classes got a lot of work done from planting arugula, lettuce mixes and radishes to harvesting compost and finding tons of decomposers. We spent our class learning about the seeds we eat, and before we planted any in the ground we learned about the different parts of a seed and how they germinate. The students were surprised to realize how many seeds end up in their daily meals – from peanuts to black beans, the accidental apple seed and the wheat and cacao in their chocolate chip cookies.


Students from PS8 planting spicy lettuce mix

Students from PS8 planting spicy lettuce mix

At the end of the class the students reflected on their favorite parts of the visit. It was clear that the compost was a hit:

“I liked composing with my friends.”

“I liked seeing people getting excited about touching the worm.”

“I liked smelling the compost.”

“I liked feeling and finding the worms.”


And best of all:

“I loved everything about the Battery Farm. I like getting to be here and be outside.”


What a way to start off the season!


If you missed this article from Downtown Magazine‘s website, have a look at what Mike Hammer had to say about our recent cultivation event in TriBeCa:

Warrie Price, the 1994 founder and president of The Battery Conservancy, spoke to Downtown residents about the past, present and future of The Battery at the TriBeCa home of Mark and Debbie Kopinski on October 2.

Price shared photos of the formerly dilapidated Battery, covered in cement and asphalt and suffering from decades of neglect, and spoke about the vision she had for the future of the historic park. Through design, horticulture and even agricultural initiatives, Price has created extraordinary change in the exemplary park for not only the millions of global visitors who visit annually but also a welcoming oasis for the Downtown community.

Among the attendees were neighbors, parents of children who participated in Battery Urban Farm’s City Seedlings summer program and civically engaged New Yorkers.

The Battery Conservancy, a privately funded nonprofit organization, has made great design a priority in the park. Price invited Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf to New York to design a horticultural master plan for The Battery in 2002. Oudolf’s commission at The Battery paved the way for his work with the High Line. The Battery Conservancy is also working with Show Canada—famous for its set designs for Cirque du Soleil and this past summer’s London Olympics opening ceremonies—to fabricate SeaGlass, the ride to “the bottom of the sea,” which is set to open to the public in Battery Park in 2013. And Frank Gehry’s first playground design, Playspace at The Battery will begin construction in 2014.

Price also outlined the success and popularity of Battery Urban Farm, which stems from a request by Millennium High School students who expressed a desire to grow vegetables in the park. The result is the one-acre farm at the southern tip of Manhattan that provides 1,500 local school children with learning opportunities and access to fresh vegetables and herbs grown by their own hands.

Lauren Kaplan, coordinator of Battery Urban Farm and Volunteer Services, and Henry Sweets, assistant farm manager, highlighted the myriad educational opportunities and shared stories of children lining up to eat turnips and holding worms in their hands for the first time.

Interactive food demos, potato sack races, farm tours and live music will all be part of The Battery Conservancy’s next event, the Battery Urban Farm Harvest Festival, on Saturday, October 13.

Follow The Battery Conservancy on Facebook and Twitter. See the park’s before-and-after photos here.