Growing up on Long Island, I vividly remember the school trips to our local farm, Benner’s Farm in Setauket. It was always magical, whether in spring or fall. Farms of course, are more important than just the food they produce. They’re also repository of history–a physical reminder of America’s agricultural and colonial roots. And the most recent news is that growing up on or near a farm may make you less susceptible to allergies and asthma. All these reasons are why it’s great that New York City still has a working historical farm right in the middle of the urban fabric.
The Queens County Farm Museum is in fact the oldest working historical farm, dating back to 1697, set on 47 acres of land now surrounded by cul-de-sacs and gridded streets. There’s an impressive variety of flora and fauna, including what appear to be alpacas! Admission is free and the farm is open daily year-round. There are guided tours on weekends, hayrides from April to October, and a corn maze in the fall.
I like the balance the farm makes between history and modernity, highlighting the traditions that have remained throughout the last few centuries while adapting to sustainable agricultural practices. Crops are rotated, composting is practiced, and all produce is sold locally within New York City. Its mission statement says it all:
The mission of the Queens County Farm Museum is to preserve, restore, and interpret the site, its history and owner’s lifestyles. 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 sustainable agricultural and horticultural practices.
The Queens County Farm Museum is also hoping to receive funds via Partners in Preservation, a community call-to-action in which your vote can determine $3 million dollars in grant money to historic sites in New York City. The farm is hoping to restore windows and clapboards on the main farmhouse, built circa 1772, replace broken windows on the greenhouse and fix an adjacent structure.
Click here to vote for the Queens County Farm Museum in Partners in Preservation, and find them on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Untapped Cities on Twitter and Facebook. Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.
The video of Queens County Farm was produced by Reel Works, a filmmaking and mentoring organization that provides skills and a creative outlet for at-risk teens in New York City. They’ve made a total of 17 films for Partners in Preservation which you can check out on YouTube.
Queens County Farm [Map]
73-50 Little Neck Parkway
Floral Park, New York 11004-1129
Untapped Cities is an official blog ambassador for Partners in Preservation, a community-based initiative by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to raise awareness of the importance of historic places. For complete coverage, follow our Partners in Preservation category.