marcelLetter from the Executive Director

Dear New Yorker,

The theme of this year’s annual report is “How is New York City better as a result of GrowNYC efforts?” and indeed, the question “how can GrowNYC do more?” is what informs our programming.

We listen and we respond to what New Yorkers say are their pressing concerns about the environment and the future of our city. More than ever, New Yorkers are concerned with eating healthier, recycling more, and greening our streets, rooftops, and blocks. They want to learn more, use less, grow and change for the betterment of all. You asked, we delivered:

More Compost Please With food scraps making up over 20% of the average New Yorker’s garbage bag, finding ways to divert green matter has never been easier – or more important. When food breaks down in a landfill it releases methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which stays in our atmosphere for 12 years. Thanks to innovative GrowNYC partnerships with DSNY, community groups and others, you can now drop off compost at 29 Greenmarket locations. In less than two years, nearly two million pounds of organic waste has been turned into nourishing plant food rather than shipped to landfills. Recognizing the need, potential, and robust participation, the City is now expanding organics collections to public schools and residential buildings.

Gardens Produce More Than Flowers For thirty-five years, GrowNYC has been a mainstay of community gardens and gardeners. We help create them, we help nurture them, and we help people in neighborhoods and schools who want to cultivate, learn, teach and grow. Most recently, we’ve been working closely with NYC Parks Greenthumb and the City’s Obesity Task Force to build gardens in high need areas where people suffer from diet related disease. Gardens are excellent antidotes: here you can grow fruits and vegetables, exercise, and feel your connection to the earth and to your neighbor. Gardens promote health, happiness, and balance.

FARMroots  GrowNYC wants to ensure that the 230 farmers who keep 30,000 acres of land in agricultural  use have the tools and resources they need to stay viable while they sell to New Yorkers at 54 different Greenmarkets. Farming is labor intensive and that’s where FARMroots comes in: we’ve created a one stop shop for our producers to get the professional assistance they need in areas like land acquisition, marketing, product development, legal help and more.

This report contains evidence and anecdotes of just a sample of the work we are doing to make a New York a better city, every single day, and I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to those that make it happen. GrowNYC would not be the standout organization it is without the tireless dedication of our staff and partners. Their leadership, passion, expertise, and enthusiasm are helping to transform NYC into one of the healthiest, most sustainable cities in the world.

Likewise, we would not be the organization we are today without the support of our donors and friends. Their financial and other support help us to continue pushing the envelope of progressive environmental action, year after year.

I encourage you to visit our website grownyc.org to learn how you and GrowNYC can work together to make positive change. Thank you again for your enthusiasm and commitment – you have our sincere gratitude.

Sincerely,

Marcel

Marcel Van Ooyen
Executive Director