Zaro Bates operates and lives on a 5,000-square-foot urban garden on Staten Island, which may make her the city’s only commercial farmer-in-residence.
The farm itself sits in a courtyard between two buildings at Urby, a development with 571 rental apartments that opened in Stapleton last year. Ms. Bates draws a modest salary and gets free housing, which sounds like a good deal until you discover how much work she has to put in.
The 26-year-old oversees a weekly farmstand on the complex premises from May through November and donates to food banks. In her repertory? Some 50 types of produce — greens, summer vegetables, flowers, herbs and roots. She does this with help from her business partner and husband, Asher Landes, 29.