Queens County Farm Museum has announced its largest agricultural expansion in over 50 years, in honor of its 325th anniversary.
The historic expansion plan for the 47-acre farm includes cultivating an additional five acres of land by 2025; investing in the farm’s Urban Agriculture Workforce Development Program; strengthening upstate and downstate agricultural partnerships; introducing year-round growing techniques; expanding its livestock program; and creating a controlled-environment agricultural showcase to contribute to the city’s urban agricultural curriculum.
The announcement on Monday, Jan. 10, follows New York City’s $26 million investment in Queens Farm’s Education Center, which will be the first new construction on the site in almost a century.
“Three-hundred-twenty-five years of continuous farming in New York City is quite an accomplishment,” said Jennifer Walden Weprin, executive director of the Queens County Farm Museum. “Queens Farm is on the precipice of exponential growth to expand public service through increased food production, job training, employment opportunities, education and cultural programming. We are excited for this journey.”
Queens Farm hired Daniel Morales as its director of agriculture and Christina Leung as the farm manager in order to spearhead the expansion. The pair, along with GrowNYC, will work together to reshape Queens Farm’s Urban Workforce Development Program in order to aid apprentices and create a green workforce.
Morales is a Queens native with seven years of farming experience at Rigor Hill Farm in the Hudson Valley, Shekomeko Farms in Dutchess County and training at Four Season Farm in Maine. He earned a B.S. in environmental studies with a concentration in ecosystems from Binghamton University.
Leung completed Farm School NYC’s Certificate program and came on board at Queens Farm soon after. She was promoted from apprentice two seasons later. In the program, she studied food justice, botany, crop planning and land management.
“What an incredible anniversary — 325 years! Many congratulations to Queens Farm on this milestone, as well as on their 5-acre expansion and for selecting both a new director of agriculture and a farm manager,” said Marcel Van Ooyen, president and CEO of GrowNYC. “We look forward to working together with Queens Farm in our effort to bolster a new urban agriculture workforce development program.”
The farm’s history dates back to 1697, making it one of the longest continually farmed sites in New York state. Today, the 47-acre site is the largest tract of farmland, home to the single largest apiary and the only farm with a full range of livestock in New York City. It recently annexed 1.6 acres of land from the state that was part of the farm’s original footprint.
Queens Farm uses regenerative farming methods and grows over 200 types of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. In addition to shortening the distance from farm to fork, the farm is working toward an aggressive goal of zero waste by 2030.
“New York Farm Bureau values the partnership we have with Queens Farm, an important connection between upstate and Long Island farmers and the more than 500,000 visitors every year to the historic 47-acre working farm and museum. We congratulate Queens Farm on 325 years and its continued growth educating urban New Yorkers about agriculture and showcasing the importance of having a strong regional food system,” said Jeff Williams, New York Farm Bureau’s Director of Public Policy.
To learn more, visit queensfarm.org.