Proposal To Convert Part of Central Park to Farmland

Horticulturist and farmer Amber Tamm is hoping to convert 14 acres of Central Park’s Great Lawn into farmland, an article by Fast Company reports. The Great Lawn measures 55 acres in total.

In the 1800s, a settlement of African American landowners called Seneca Village was located just west of the Great Lawn. The village was destroyed in 1857, to make way for the construction of Central Park.

So as a tribute, Tamm wants to name it Seneca Village Farm.


The purpose behind the proposal is to use the farm to feed New Yorkers who are in need, many of whom are Black.

To make it a working farm, Tamm tells Fast Company that 14 people would each farm one acre, while mentors would be provided for those interested in learning.

Tamm currently works at rooftop farm Brooklyn Grange, says Fast Company. According to her resume, she also works as a horticulturist and floral designer at Brooklyn’s Petee’s Cafe, and has worked at various farms in New York, California and Hawaii.

While a representative of the Central Park Conservancy tells us that since city parks are subject to strict rules, a project like this may be difficult to approve, the proposal will ultimately get approved or denied by the NYC Parks Department.

Sam Biederman, Senior Advisor and Assistant Commissioner of NYC Parks, also outlined some of the difficulty in approving a project like this. Using Central Park for reasons outside of recreational activity requires a permit, and the Great Lawn only issues seven permits per year (for a maximum period of two days).

While he expressed the challenge of turning over such a significant amount of the Great Lawn, Tamm is soon planning to meet someone from NYC Parks to discuss the project further.

We’ve reached out to both Tamm and the NYC Parks Department. We’ll provide an update once we’re made aware of Seneca Village Farm’s future.

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Featured photos by Flickr user Charles Smith.

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