Sustainable agriculture is the practice of growing food in a way that balances environmental stewardship, community development and economic viability.
Sustainable farms recognize
the connection between environmental health, human health and community
health. The Queens County Farm Museum has developed a four-season growing
program using our passively heated cold frames and our historic glass
greenhouse in order to provide fresh produce year round to residents of
New York City. We
are integrating grazing and browsing rotations into our livestock
management in order to improve soil quality, animal health, and restore
a healthy ecosystem on our farm.
The development and diffusion of many of the concepts that guide organic and sustainable farmers today were generated during the early 20th century, the most productive years of farming at the Queens County Farm Museum. The era being revitalized by the Farm Museum is the one in which important historical figures such as Sir Albert Howard, Lady Balfour and J.I. Rodale were farming, researching and writing.
Our farm practices reflect our belief in making connections between historical and environmental preservation as well as healthy food and healthy communities. Our evolving composting program is critical to closing the fertility loop and improving the quality of our soil. The Farm Museum is the only farm in New York City with livestock and we are developing new pasture-based management systems for heritage breeds. We also feature heirloom varieties in our two-acre vegetable field. Rather than depend on chemical fertilizers or insecticides we practice sustainable techniques such as crop rotation, timed planting, catch crops, companion planting, and cover cropping to reduce weed and pest pressure.
Our fresh, nutritious farm products are sold only in New York City; our honey, eggs, herbs, and vegetables travel no farther than fifteen miles. Our main retail location is our Gift Shop, located in the greenhouse complex of the farm. In addition, we sell vegetables, bouquets, and herbs at the Union Square Greenmarket on select Fridays throughout the year. Our produce is also featured on the menus of various prominent restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn that focus on locally-grown, seasonal vegetables. Any overflow produce is distributed to City Harvest and community food banks.
The development of our Agriculture program is critical to our local, sustainable food system. The transmission of traditional farm knowledge and skills is important in preserving the history of farming for future generations. We find ourselves at the center of some very important issues for the city—poverty, nutrition, food security, climate change, biodiversity, humane animal treatment, and preserving local history. As farmers and educators, we hope to play a role in shaping the future while contributing daily to our community in a positive, measurable way.
The mission of the Queens County Farm Museum is to preserve, restore, and interpret the site. Through educational programs, events, and museum services, we educate the public as to the significance of Queens County's agricultural and horticultural past and heighten awareness of present-day agricultural and horticultural practices.