After laying quiet for a full season, the East Meadow Farms property is being prepared for the upcoming spring and summer by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) – the .
CCE Interim Executive Director Deborah Colfer told Patch that they are waiting on the property’s owner, Nassau County, to issue the certificate of occupancy for the space before they can begin moving into the building and attached land. She said that once the certificate of occupancy is issued, they will be “open in four weeks in some sort of form,” with a full opening anticipated in the spring.
“We are exploring and setting up. As soon as the keys are handed to us we are tilling,” she said, adding that they are currently working with their horticulture and advisory committees to determine a plan on how to section off the gardens with paths and best utilize the area. “We will start as soon as we get the keys.”
The property was preserved under the Nassau County Environmental Bond Act in 2008 when the from the Marks family. Bernadette and Danielle Brennan ran on the land for several years until the CCE in October of 2010 to operate on the property.
“What I was hearing from the community is that they didn’t want anything to be built on the land, that it was really important that it remain a farm, and that it was maintained as a farm,” Colfer said. “That is what we do. We can utilize the farm as a way of showing and helping to preserve that open space.”
The East Meadow Farms will be the site of the CCE’s Horticulture Center and Demonstration Gardens, which is moving from its current location in . The master gardeners, horticultural staff and the diagnostic center — something that allows community members to bring in soil, plant and other specimens to be tested — will be based out of the East Meadow Farms.
“We will be open and our horticulture staff will be there,” Colfer continued. “That is the wonderful thing — people will be there. I think it is going to be an asset to the community because it is in a residential area.”
She added that the farm is going to have a variety of gardens, including those for roses, herbs, vegetables, and butterflies, as well as Long Island native plants and trees. Community plots will also be available. During operating hours, the public will “have an opportunity to walk the path and see the gardens,” Colfer said.
Though the CCE will continue to do education programs out in the community, Colfer said that the barn will provide a space to house programs — a new and “exciting” prospect. Activities will include the master and junior master gardener program, which is popular at some of CCE’s other locations, as well as the possibility of nutrition demonstrations, among others.
“As we move along, we plan on having different programs that the community can sign up for,” said Colfer, noting that program itineraries will be available via the CCE website, a bulletin board at the center and email list once they are decided.
The CCE is also planning to have a farmers market, though the exact details haven’t been worked out yet, and its annual plant sale at the East Meadow location. Both of these events will be open to the community.
“We are looking forward to the spring of 2012. If anyone in the community has a question or concern, they are always welcome to call me,” Colfer added.
If interested in volunteering at the farm, please contact Colfer at 516-433-7970, ext. 16.
How do you plan to make use of the new East Meadow Farms? Tell us in the comments.