A Look at the Battery Urban Farm, a True Downtown Oasis

A Look at the Battery Urban Farm, a True Downtown Oasis

On a recent weekday morning in Battery Park, a group of students were busying themselves in a vegetable plot, working together to harvest ingredients for a salad. Nearby, a few adults tended to a row of kale. These were not rogue gardeners or urban foragers, but volunteers for the Battery Urban Farm — an unexpected yet very welcome feature in the downtown landscape. At the farm, visitors will find dozens of rows of edible and non-edible plants, a composting setup and plenty of pollinators, all set against the backdrop of Lower Manhattan’s towering skyscrapers.

“I think what’s nice about a space like this is that it allows for many different experiences,” Adam Walker, program manager at the Battery Urban Farm, said. “It allows for students to conquer and reconsider their fear of bees and make connections with the wildlife and the plants that are a critical part of our environment. It allows for people that need a break from the city to find some quiet and find a moment to really take in the natural world and find peace here. It allows for those who want to work hard and get their hands in the dirt to do that.”

Walker also explained that a major goal of the farm is to provide opportunities for student visitors to learn about collaboration and the role that we all play in the ecosystem. Pointing to the students on the farm, he said, “A lesson like this, where they’re making a salad, it’s called Salad to Share. It’s all about working together to create something. In so much of what we do, we’re talking about sharing space with each other and with the wildlife that live here. We’re talking about how we can be doing work to support those that need food, or support the bees and the birds that need habitats.”  

When the gate to the farm is open, visitors are invited to walk around the grounds, learn about the different herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables through educational signage, and even sample some of the edible plants themselves. For a more structured experience, visitors can register for a free tour of the farm, gardening workshops, and other events through the website

Another way the Battery Urban Farm engages with the community is through donating produce grown on the farm to hunger relief organizations, including the Coalition for the Homeless. When the Alliance visited the farm, the group of adult volunteers were harvesting crops to be donated. Other volunteer tasks include weeding, mulching, planting and layering and turning compost. 

“You get to be outside, you get to have your hands in the dirt, you get to feel productive,” Mieka, one of the volunteers, said. “At the end of the shift, they usually let you take something that you’ve been working on. So you get to enjoy a little bit of the fruits of your own labor.” 

As Walker put it, “I hope that this farm can give different people what they need in different ways.”

The Battery Urban Farm is located in the Battery between the Oval and the SeaGlass Carousel. It’s open to the public between April and November when staff are present for programs. Typical open hours are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Weather and staff schedules may result in changes to the hours. Learn more here.

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