It’s finally warm in the city. The snow has melted, the pigeons are chirping, and a Mr.Softee truck can be found on every street corner. The spring weather also means that New York City’s urban farms are re-opening for volunteer hours, offering nature-deprived citizens a chance to get their hands dirty. Yeah that’s right – urban farms! Does that sound like an oxymoron to you? It shouldn’t because there are actually 700 farms in New York City alone. These farms range from large-scale rooftop operations to schoolyard projects and small plots of re-claimed land. What they all have in common is that they are making amazing strides in greening our city and cultivating an urban food source. So this spring, break out your work boots and play your part in New York’s urban agriculture movement. Here’s some of our favorite farms!
1. Brooklyn Grange
Brooklyn Grange could safely be called the creme de la creme of New York City urban agriculture. Their two massive rooftop farms equal 2.5 acre of urban farmland, they sell veggies to Roberta’s and also happen to run New York’s largest apiary (more than 30 beehives!). This is a great place for newbies and die hards a like.
When? Every Saturday from May 17th to October 20th.
Where? At their Long Island City flagship farm (37-18 Northern Boulevard, LIC).
How? All you’ve got to do is show up! Enter through the COFFEED cafe and get ready to pitch in (and buy some delicious veggies). Check out their Visit Page for more information.
2. East NY Farm
The amazing East New York Farms Project has been working to empower communities around issues of food justice and sustainability since 1998. They’ve been urban farming since before urban farming was cool! They run two farms (and beekeep of course) and accept volunteers at both locations.
When? April-October, 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month at the UCC Youth Farm (10am-2pm) and 2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month at the Hands and Heart Garden (10am-2pm).
Where? UCC Youth Farm (Schenck Avenue between New Lots and Livonia Avenue) and Hands and Heart Garden (News Lot Avenue between Georgia and Alabama Avenues).
How? No registration needed, just bring yourself! Keep and eye on their Volunteer Page for more information on upcoming opportunities.
3. Added Value Farm
This Red Hook non-profit seeks to empower Brooklyn Youth and transform communities, all while growing a better food system (and some yummy produce). Additionally, their farm is right across from IKEA – make a day out of it!
When? May-November, Saturdays 10am-1pm.
Where? 3-49 Halleck St, Brooklyn.
4. Battery Urban Farm
Maybe you’ve noticed a trend in the farms we’ve given you? Yeah, they’re all in Brooklyn. Lucky for you NYU’ers there is one great option nearby. This one-acre plot grows a huge variety of fruits, veggies, flowers and grains and according to their website the farm is shaped like a turkey.
When? April-Mid October, Wednesdays 4pm-6pm and every 3rd Saturday from 10am-1pm.
Where? Located in Battery Park, at the very tip of Lower Manhattan.