Friday, September 28, 2012

How about a Farm Incubator in NYC?

we are continuing in our conversations with the National Parks Service in order to sign an agreement for a one-season farm trial at Floyd Bennett Field. As we mentioned in a previous update, NPS is currently holding a comment period for the General Management Plan (GMP) for Gateway National Recreation Area (GNRA). The plan that is selected will dictate the use and long-term priorities for the land and resources in GNRA, including Floyd Bennett Field. The new GMP will be introduced this fall, and we need to make sure that food production and farming education are part of the plan.

We are asking you to comment on the GMP before the comment period closes on October 5th at 11:59PM EST. The page with the proposed alternatives and comment section is HERE. If you read the proposed alternatives, you will notice that none of them specifically mentions growing food! We need to change this. The most flexible management alternative presented by NPS is Alternative B: Discovering Gateway:

Through widespread outreach and improved community connections, Gateway becomes a popular destination for recreation, education and interpretive experiences in the Northern New Jersey/New York area. By offering a multitude of recreational opportunities, NPS and its partners attract a greater diversity of visitors to the park and increase awareness and enjoyment of Gateway’s historic resources and the natural environment.

This alternative offers the most flexibility around land use and encourages partnerships and community engagement. We believe that these will lead towards the use of Floyd Bennett Field as a public resource that furthers food justice, community participation, and environmental sustainability
Please take a moment to comment and express your support for a Farm Incubator Project at Floyd Bennett Field. We have included some suggested text here, feel free to use this and add any additional thoughts and comments that you might have.

1. Which draft management alternative best helps Gateway carry out its purpose?
Alternative B: Discovering Gateway
2. Which draft management alternative do you favor and why?
Alternative B is the best management plan for Gateway because it offers the most opportunities for community involvement in shaping the priorities of the park. Gateway is in a unique position as a national park in such a dense urban area and the park should respond to the diverse interests and needs of a large population. Partnerships with local groups and residents will help leverage resources that will sustain, improve, and preserve the resources of the park.
3. Are there other ideas important to you that are missing from these draft management alternatives?
A farm incubator and education center at Floyd Bennett Field would be an incredible asset to the park, the Jamaica Bay community, New York City, and the surrounding area. Floyd Bennett Field possesses a large base of underutilized land that would be well-suited to an agricultural project. Sustainable agriculture practices enhance habitat for insects and birds and contribute to the protection of soil and water quality, all of which are important in the Jamaica Bay watershed.
The large and vibrant community garden at FBF has already shown how food production can bring together people from across different backgrounds and neighborhoods. A large-scale farm incubator project has the potential to improve food access, community involvement, and environmental quality in the Jamaica Bay area while encouraging recreation and physical activity and a greater connection between residents and nature.

Please share this with friends, family, and colleagues near and far! 
Gateway is a national resource and everybody should have a say in its future.

The Floyd Bennett Farm and Education Center Leadership Team (like us on FACEBOOK HERE)