Zaro Bates operates and lives on a 5,000-square-foot farm on Staten Island, which may make her the city’s only commercial farmer-in-residence.
By Kenneth R. Rosen
New York Times
March 10, 2017
Ms. Bates had hardly seen farmland as a child. Her parents, who moved to Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, in the early 1990s, rarely took the family upstate. They had the backyard of their home, but no green thumbs between them. The yard was a play space.
After graduating from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell, where she studied developmental sociology, Ms. Bates volunteered as a groundskeeper at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Mass.
“That was the first time that I drove a tractor, did wood chipping, shoveled heaps of snow in the Berkshires winter, then planted in the springtime and just worked outside with a team of people through the seasons,” she said. “That was my first experience with that type of work and really falling in love with that.”
Afterward she intended to travel, maybe visit South America. Her plans were postponed by an apprenticeship at Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop and urban farming consultancy group, where Ms. Bates farmed under the tutelage of the chief operating officer, Gwen Schantz.