Staten Island building hires city’s first “resident farmer”

The farmer will manage an onsite vegetable garden

TRD New York /
Jan.January 31, 2016 11:00 AM

Urban farming has been fashionable for quite a while now. But one Staten Island apartment complex has accomplished a first for the city: hiring a resident farmer.

The first-of-their-kind farmer will run a small organic farm, as well as rooftop beehives and a compost operation at the $150 million, 900-unit Urby rental complex in the Stapleton section, according to the New York Post.

Zaro Bates, who has extensive urban farming experience, will receive around $40,000 a year and a free apartment for her work.

“A farm as a selling point, an amenity, like a gym — that’s what this is,” Frank “Turtle” Raffaele of the Queens-based cafe chain Coffeed, told the Post. “It’s going to be really game-changing.”

Coffeed is partnering with Ironstate Development to get the initial 3,000 to 5,000 square feet of street-level crops growing.

Once it’s all in bloom, the farm will supply herbs, greens, heirloom tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and cucumbers to an on-site Coffeed restaurant. Veggies will also be sold to tenants and visitors in the complex’s grocery store.

Studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments will range in price from $1,700 to $2,700 a month [NYP] Christopher Cameron

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