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Queens Chronicle

Hunters Point South gets GrowNYC urban farm

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Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2015 10:30 am

As of May 15, the first residents have moved into Hunters Point South Crossing, one of the two towers that are part of the much-anticipated real estate project in Long Island City, the city’s largest affordable housing development. Last year, more than 92,000 people applied to live there.

Last Thursday, representatives from The Related Companies, the real estate firm managing the buildings, unveiled a new urban farm situated on an open-air deck on the 14th floor of Hunters Point South Commons. The garden, started by the nonprofit GrowNYC, also features an apiary with more than 13,000 bees. GrowNYC members will turn the farm’s maintenance over to residents.

“We tried to make a garden that was interesting for the tenants and the children as well,” said GrowNYC’s Gerard Lordahl, above, who pointed to beds that were shorter to the ground.

Plants include arugula, stevia, edible marigolds, berries and heirloom varieties of tomatoes, some of which could have been found in Thomas Jefferson’s garden, Lordahl said. There are also several herb varieties, which GrowNYC member Sebert Harper, right, will use in workshops making natural goods such as tea and rosemary-derived germicide.

In the future, a bicycle-powered blender will aid in creating smoothies made out of strawberries, top right, harvested from the farm.

David Graves, top center, a beekeeper, introduced newly arrived bees, which were shipped by mail from Georgia. The garden will have a honey extractor. The bees will pollinate the nearby park.

“The reason I keep them on rooftops in the Berkshires is because of black bears coming out of hibernation,” Graves said.

—Cristina Schreil

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