By Bill Parry
For the first time in 30 years, the Queens County Farm Museum is under new leadership, following the retirement of Amy Fishetti-Boncardo last month.
The new executive director of the 47-acre farm in Floral Park is Jennifer Walden Weprin, a resident of Hollis Hills. She brings an impressive resume to the post.
“Amy built an incredibly strong cultural organization here over the last three decades from the ground up, literally. What better organization is there to step into?” Weprin said. “The Board of Trustees and the staff here are focused and dedicated to what it does, the budget is strong and the mission is clear. I’m just going to take it to the next step and grow it to the next level.”
Prior to taking over the Queens County Farm Museum, Weprin served as the Director of Cultural Affairs and Tourism in the office of the Queens Borough President since 2016.
“My two plus years at Borough Hall were fabulous,” Weprin said. “Melinda Katz is such a resource and advocate for the borough and supporting the arts. I represented her on 20 cultural boards around the city, that alone was a full-time job, and I wasn’t just a body in a chair, I was a resource.”
From 2011 to 2016, Weprin worked at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, where she was the director of marketing and external affairs. While there, she designed and implemented a marketing and programming strategy that yielded a 21 percent increase in museum visitors.
“That organization will always be in my heart,” Weprin said. “They are another great Queens organization.”
Now she is thrilled to be at the Queens County Farm Museum which is the second largest cultural institution in Queens, based on annual visitation numbers. The site dates back to 1697 and occupies New York City’s largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland, where 80 varieties of vegetables and over 75 varieties of flowers are grown annually, including 6,000 pounds of tomatoes, 4,000 pounds of zucchini, 2,500 pounds of eggplant and 1,600 pounds of winter squash.
“It’s a farm, it’s a museum, it’s a cultural institution and we teach youngsters conservation,” Weprin said. “It serves a vital resource connecting people to agriculture and the environment creating conversations about biodiversity, nutrition, health and wellness, climate change and preserving local history.”
The farm, which is a New York City Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places and a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City, also composts over 20,000 pounds of food scraps from GrownNYC and 2,500 pounds in tumbler bins from the surrounding communities.
For Weprin, who is married to former City Councilman Mark Weprin, her favorite aspect of her new job is the children who visit on school field trips. Over 37 percent of annual student groups visit during October.
“It’s just amazing to see the children flood the grounds learning new things outside the classroom,” Weprin said. “The hayrides take off from right under my barn-office window and you hear their squeaks of excitement. We didn’t have that at Borough Hall.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr