Greetings from the Executive Director

Dear New Yorker,

Thank you for visiting our site.  GrowNYC is working alongside residents like you to create a healthy and more sustainable New York City for generations to come.  

We work with communities block by block, person by person. On any given day in the five boroughs, residents now have access to more than 50 Greenmarkets where they can purchase fresh, healthy, local produce and more from small farmers who keep 35,000 acres in production.

Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have improved their recycling know-how, and taken advantage of alternative disposal options for textiles, cfl lightbulbs and electronics as a result of the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education.

Through Greenmarket's EBT initiative, we have made New York City the national leader in connecting food stamp users with farm fresh produce. And by doing so, were delivering the most nutritious food to the people and communities who need it most.

Residents can garden, play, and relax in 60 green spaces and play lots created, and hundreds more assisted by Open Space Greening staff and volunteers.

The eyes of more than 34,000 young people have been opened to environmental issues facing our cities and given the tools and opportunities to help find solutions, including planting 17,000 trees to protect our water supply and remove carbon dioxide from the air.

As a non-profit, our work is only possible because of the generous donations of our supporters. If you want more information about our wonderful programs or would like to support these efforts, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes for a greener NYC,

Marcel Van Ooyen
Executive Director

About Marcel.

Marcel Van Ooyen is the Executive Director of GrowNYC and former Legislative Director for the New York City Council.

Mr. Van Ooyen took leadership of GrowNYC in 2006. Over the last 10 years at Marcel’s initiating, GrowNYC has vastly expanded its efforts with new initiatives including: Fresh Food Box, Youthmarket Farm Stands, Learn It Grow It Eat It education program anchored in the South Bronx as well as NYC’s first all local food hub: Greenmarket Co.  GrowNYC’s Food Stamp in the Farmers’ Market initiative is considered a National model, with $1,000,000 in EBT sales in 2013. By responding to a diverse community and ramping up efforts, affordable, healthy, fresh food is getting into the hands that need it most across the city. Marcel has also spearheaded the development of new programs in response to needs in our city, including Grow to Learn NYC: Citywide School Gardens Initiative, a public public-private partnership with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC created to inspire, promote and facilitate the creation of sustainable school gardens in every New York City public school.  

Marcel earned degrees in Social Ecology from the University of California Irvine and from the Seattle University School of Law specializing in Environmental Law. After graduating from law school, he worked for the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council in Washington State, where he conducted the environmental review of proposed power plants. As Legislative Director for the City Council, he wrote and ensured the adoption of more than 30 environmental laws, including the city’s landmark green buildings legislation, lead bill, clean air codes, recycling requirements, environmental purchasing laws, and many more.

On Monday, July 11, we launched the “Oh SNAP!” educational campaign with a live mural painting on a Greenmarket, Co. delivery truck. The “Oh SNAP!” campaign was designed to draw attention to the fact that GrowNYC’s network of Greenmarkets accept electronic benefits cards (EBT) and shoppers can use their SNAP benefits to purchase farm-fresh produce from the region’s mid-sized family farmers.

  • Greenmarket

    Our network of farmers markets, Youthmarkets, Fresh Food Box pick-ups, and Greenmarket Co. ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food.

  • Recycle

    We blanket the five boroughs with resources like textile and food scrap collection, Stop 'N' Swaps, and free training to make waste reduction easy for all.

  • Garden

    We build and rejuvenate community & school gardens in all 5 boroughs, and support even more gardens through volunteer days, technical assistance, school garden grants, & more.

  • Teach

    We foster future environmental stewards by providing 60,000 children each year with programs that provide meaningful interactions with the natural environment.