by Nina Zade
Located at the Alexandria Center and bordering the East River, Riverpark Farm is one of New York City’s largest urban farming models. The Alexandria Center of Life Sciences partnered with Riverpark restaurant in 2011 to adopt alternative growing methods and offer “a unique learning resource” for the community.
Zachary Pickens (above), full time urban farmer and farm manager at Riverpark Farm, is in charge of maintaining the crops that provide the Riverpark restaurant with 30% of its ingredients. The crops are grown in converted milk crates, which make them portable and easy to handle in the case of bad weather or relocation.
Arugula (pictured) is one of the staple crops grown at Riverpark Farm. The arugula is protected by greenhouse plastic, which traps heat from the sun to keep the plants alive during the winter months.
These tiny green pea shoots are grown inside Riverpark Farm’s small greenhouse. The greenhouse has limited space and only grows microgreens such as basil, celery, mint, and several others. The greenhouse plastic is used as an alternative for plants that require extra heat.
Riverpark Restaurant offers patrons both an indoor and outdoor dining experience. The restaurant also includes a full bar and can accommodate up to 200 customers. Riverpark’s modern feel is complimented by the contemporary and sustainable growing methods utilized by the farm next door.
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