Make some room on the subway, New Yorkers: A 15,000 square foot mobile urban farm is now roaming the streets of Manhattan, sort of.
Creating one of the city's largest urban farms, Riverpark Farm sprouted up in September 2011 as a partnership between the Riverpark restaurant and the Alexandria Center for Life Science. The farm, which is located next to the restaurant, supplies much of the ingredients for its menu.
The farm is "mobile" because the more than 100 types of crops are planted in stackable one cubic foot milk crates due to the current location of the farm (an empty site next to the restaurant that will eventually require that the crops be relocated as it is destined to become the West Tower of the Alexandria Center). Crops include greens such as kale, lamb's quarters, arugula, and a rotating seasonal variety of fruits and vegetables including cucumbers, eggplants, radishes, beets, beans, and carrots.
According to the restaurant's website, "Riverpark's chefs visit the Farm daily to discuss harvestable plants with the farmers so that they can determine the menus for the following day. Produce that is used on the Farm is picked that very day. Farm to table." Through the work of just two farmers, the Riverpark farm produces 2,000 pounds of produce per month in 7,400 milk crates, with more than 6,000 vegetables, herbs and flowers growing. And 90 percent of Riverside's organic refuse is turned into compost.
Riverpark restaurant is located at 450 E 29th St—just 100 feet from the farm—and sits in a garden plaza overlooking the East River. It was founded by restaurateur Tom Colicchio and features a rotating menu that incorporates the seasonal produce grown at the farm.
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Image: Riverpark Farm