FINANCIAL DISTRICT — This urban farm won't need much sunlight.
The Battery Conservancy will grow a new "Forest Farm" this spring, filled with mostly edible plants that thrive under the shade of trees.
Plants in the more-than-20,000-square-foot garden will include some familiar fruits and veggies, like blueberries and blue oyster mushrooms, as well some lesser-known items, such as a mango-like fruit called Paw Paw.
The new farming plot will be located in Battery Park, near the Battery Labyrinth, a series of circular patterns, created from granite stones, to honor those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Battery Conservancy decided to grow the new farm as the group planned the temporary move of the larger one-acre Battery Urban Farm. That farm, now located near the Staten Ferry Terminal, will have to relocate this spring as a new bike path is being constructed along the park. The temporary Battery Urban Farm will be built right next to the new Forest Farm.
As the Conservancy decided where to relocate the farm, it noticed there was a lot of shade in other available parts of the park, said Nicole Brownstein, a spokeswoman for the group.
“We realized how shady the area was so we decided to utilize that space,” said Brownstein. “We think it’s the city’s first Forest Farm.”
Aside from the shade, the farm, which is being built with help from local high school students, is different from other farming plots.
Students and volunteers working on the farm will be able to wind through the shady land, which will offer more of a foraging-in-the-woods experience than a typical farm's harvest.
“It won’t have the organization of a typical farm, where you see tomatoes growing in one section, let's say,” said Brownstein. “In the forest farm, you’ll feel like you’re roaming through, picking wild fruits and vegetables.”
Other plants will include wild garlic, known as ramps, as well as wild beans, called thicket beans.
The Conservancy hopes to break ground on the Forest Farm, as well as the temporary space for the adjacent Battery Urban Farm, in the next few weeks.
The Conservancy will begin offering public programs at both farms on April 1, Brownstein said.
The Battery Urban Farm will head back to its original home when the bike lane construction is done next year. The Conservancy, however, plans to keep the Forest Farm running in the new location.