GrowNYC

Grow to Learn NYC Congratulates Carson Daly and the Today Show for "shining a light" on the importance of school gardens

A statement by Marcel Van Ooyen Executive Director, GrowNYC

I want to personally congratulate Carson Daly of the Today Show for supporting our efforts to build a garden in every New York City School.  Since its launch in February 2011, Grow to Learn NYC has been working to connect NYC public and charter schools with the funding, training and materials needed for their students to dig in, connect to nature and build more positive attitudes towards healthy foods.

As a result of our partnerships with city agencies, funders and fellow non-profits, 436 schools have registered garden projects with Grow to Learn, giving them access to the garden mini-grants, training, material giveaways as well as opportunities and resources offered by greening and wellness partner organizations--with a focus on supporting schools in underserved communities like the South Bronx, Central and East Harlem and Central Brooklyn.

To date, Grow to Learn has distributed $517,000 in 331 garden mini-grants to schools. And one hundred percent of funds raised for mini-grants go directly to the schools to allow them to purchase what they need from local retailers so their learning garden programs can bloom.  

We are deeply grateful to Mr. Daly and the Today Show for highlighting the need to expand gardens to all schools and look forward to seeing more school gardens bloom around the city. 

GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen profiled by the New York Times

The New York Times recently profiled GrowNYC's Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen in its Sunday Routine column.

Check out what our boss is up to!

#GivingTuesday 2013 is coming…

How do you give back?

We’ve all heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but what about #GivingTuesday?

This year on Tuesday, December 3, GrowNYC is joining a national movement to celebrate and encourage giving: a day when charities, families, students, businesses, community centers, and others come together for #GivingTuesday - a day dedicated to celebrate giving and encourage more, smarter giving during the Holiday Season. Mark your calendar. #GivingTuesday 2013 is Tuesday, December 3rd.

#GivingTuesday is about doing what you can to give back. It’s about showing that all of us can do so much more with our wallets than just consume. Last year #GivingTuesday included more than 100,000 individuals participating in ways that matter to them.

All of us here at GrowNYC know that you care about making a difference, and that's why we invite you to join #GivingTuesday. Donate, spread the word, volunteer for groups you care about (we hope that includes GrowNYC!) and encourage your friends to give in lieu of gifts or just because.

So mark your calendar and on December 3rd take action in ways that means something to you.

#Giveback this #GivingTuesday!

To learn more go to givingtuesday.org.

Be sure to follow us on twitter @grownyc, and share how you give back with #givegrownyc

GrowNYC Partners Launches!

GrowNYC is proud to announce the launch of GrowNYC Partners, a professional consulting service for food, farming, gardening, and recycling projects.

GrowNYC Partners will help businesses, foundations, and government agencies transform and empower their consumers and communities, spearheading sustainability througout New York City's private sector and beyond.  And as a non-profit with 40 years of success, we are dedicated to providing simple, cost-effective solutions.  

Whether you are interested in building a rooftop farm, a courtyard garden, or a citywide food systems strategy, GrowNYC Partners can help.

Learn more about GrowNYC Partners or email us for more info!

GrowNYC and Brooklyn Brewery Launch Greenmarket Wheat Beer

GrowNYC and Brooklyn Brewery are excited to announce the launch of Greenmarket Wheat, a beer collaboration between local farmers, malters, and brewers that captures the flavor of regional agriculture in a bottle.  

Greenmarket Wheat is a wheat beer made with raw wheat from North Country Farm in Watertown, NY, Pilsner Barley Malt from Valley Malt in Hadley, MA, and Wildflower Honey from Tremblay Apiaries, Chemung County, NY. 

The idea for Greenmarket Wheat grew from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2012 Farm Brewery License legislation aimed at expanding the growth of craft breweries and increase demand for locally grown products to brew beer statewide.

"Our Greenmarket Regional Grains Initiative works with regional farmers to devote more acreage to growing grains. Creating partnerships to move their product into the hands of bakers—and now brewers—has helped their businesses scale up production," said Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC. "Greenmarket Wheat is a collaboration of local growers, millers, malters and brewers who will all benefit from the sale of this new product, not to mention consumers who can purchase a refreshing ale they can feel good supporting. Shoppers come to the Greenmarket to eat local. Now they can drink local. We couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Brooklyn Brewery and our producers to bring local grains into the spotlight."

Greenmarket Wheat will be available for sale by the bottle on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Union Square Greenmarket.

Big Apple Crunch Takes New York!

The Big Apple Crunch is an attempt to set the world record for the "Most Participants in an Apple-Crunching Event." This event will take place on FOOD DAY - October 24, 2013. New Yorkers can participate by finding a crunch near you: at any of GrowNYC's Greenmarket Farmers' Markets or another location near you or by hosting a crunch yourself! We want it to be the crunch heard 'round the world!

Please pledge to take a bite with us at 12pm or at any time during the day that works for you. RecordSetter.com - a New York City based organization tracking new world records - will be tracking our progress towards having the "Most Participants in an Apple-Crunching Event!"

Register your team at bigapplecrunch.com

Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools


GrowNYC formed a partnership with Wagner Middle School in Manhattan called Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools, funded by NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin. Under one roof, we are providing support from five GrowNYC programs: Learn It Grow It Eat It, Grow to Learn School Gardens, Greenmarket Youth Education, Recycling Champions and Environmental Education. For an entire year, GrowNYC staff is educating young people about how to lead lives that improve their personal health and that of the environment around them; so that eating, growing, learning and going green become second nature.

On the recycling front, we recently helped Wagner launch a school-wide cafeteria recycling program – 1,200 students in grades 6-8 sorted everything from trays to milk cartons, placing them in their proper containers with help from dozens of student volunteers and Green Team members. 1,200 students recycling milk cartons for one year will save 31 trees!

To keep it fun, grades are competing to see who can reduce their overall waste – on a weekly basis, the amount of waste will be calculated and the winning grade announced on Fridays. At the end of every month, the grade that has reduced waste and recycled the most will receive special “Out-Lunch” privileges. Wagner has averaged a daily reduction of 9 bags of garbage or 17%, while generating an extra bag of recyclables.

The contest, designed by the Green Team, was the culmination of an outreach campaign they undertook to educate their classmates. Working with their advisor, teacher and sustainability coordinator Jessica Gordon, students created posters, morning announcements, and a PowerPoint. The success of the program could not have been possible without the support and help of Wagner’s administration and staff.

Some of GrowNYC's Best Volunteers

We are truly thankful for the time volunteers commit to helping GrowNYC provide resources for a better NYC. Meet a few of our awesome volunteers! JOE BUCK As an Open Space Greening volunteer with GrowNYC, Joe has led teams of volunteers at Greening's biggest event of the year, the Annual Spring Plant Sale, which distributes plants to over 500 neighborhood garden projects every year. Why he does it: I enjoy the opportunities with GrowNYC and the community gardens because I get to tap into my imaginary “Inner-Gardener” in the midst of the urban jungle. “To be of service” was instilled in me growing up, so it feels natural to lend a hand. Besides, being self-absorbed is far more exhausting. The best part: Getting dirty! My job is a suit and tie. So having the opportunity to dig in the dirt, learn about a flower or vegetable or help create an oasis in what was once an empty lot is magical. It sounds bit corny, but I mean it. The impact: It connects resources with needs! It gives people the opportunity to step out their comfort zones and actually be part of the solution. Each one teach one, right?! NANCY RAPHAEL As a recycling volunteer with GrowNYC, Nancy has helped teach New Yorkers about composting and contributed to successful recycling at large events. Why she does it: I thoroughly believe that it takes a collective effort to make a difference and enjoy working with GrowNYC staff and fellow volunteers who have dedication visible in their faces. I do not view my volunteering experience as giving up my Saturday or Sunday, or as sacrificing my sleep. Instead, I see it as contributing my time to making a big difference in changing the carbon footprint of New York and I am proud to be a part of such a large task. The best part: The fun of engaging with New Yorkers and asking them to take care of the city they live in and think of the world they are a part of as well as connecting with fellow volunteers. I also enjoy the camaraderie between recycling volunteers that makes for a successful effort. The impact: As people become more and more conscious, they will feel compelled to volunteer their time and recycle at home and everywhere they may be--picking up stuff on the ground or advising others to recycle. ERIN EASTERN As a Greenmarket volunteer with GrowNYC, Erin staffs Union Square Greenmarket's Market Information Station and answers customer questions while assisting with cooking demonstrations and other market promotions. Why I do it: I volunteer because I believe in the farmers market/food justice movement and enjoy being helpful to the Market Managers so that they can run one of the best Public Markets in the world. I am proud to be a small part in the success of Greenmarket. Also, I love being outside rain or shine. As an indoor worker during the week, I genuinely miss the time I spent working outdoors and the feeling of being out there (especially when the weather is beautiful, of course). The best part: Having a community that is separate from my work, family, and friends. The people I meet through Greenmarket cross the usual cultural boundaries (e.g. urban/rural, young/old, farmer/organizer) and broaden my social world. I enjoy meeting the other volunteers and learning how they came to Greenmarket; making new friends that also have an interest in food justice, urban growing, CSA's, and a myriad of other cool things unrelated to food like film studies, United States law, and sports. The impact: The larger impact of Greenmarket is huge and I like thinking about how I am part of what they accomplish: Encouraging New Yorkers to interact with their food producers and learn where their food comes from; providing underserved communities access to fresh, healthy foods; creating a learning environment for schools and media; incubating small businesses and helping farmers to stay on their land.

We Need a New Tagline!

You know us best. You see us in your neighborhood leading recycling workshops, operating farmers markets, collecting textiles and food scraps for recycling and compost, and engaging NYC school kids in restoration projects. We are your resource for making New York City a greener, healthier City. Come up with a short, action-oriented tagline or even 4 or 5 words you associate us with. Tell us how you and GrowNYC work together to improve our city. If we pick your tagline, we’ll give you a shout-out on our blog and on Facebook and will give you a great prize! Email your submissions to ideas@grownyc.org.

Deadline: Feb. 29

Starting 2012 on a Healthy Note

EBT Yesterday, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stopped by Union Square on the first market day of the New Year to applaud an increase in use of food stamps at GrowNYC Greenmarkets across the city in 2011. Food stamp purchases at Greenmarkets increased from $505,166 to over $620,000 in 2011, a 23 percent increase from 2010.  Some markets reported nearly $6,000 in food stamp sales in a single day. In 2011, approximately 75% of food stamp dollars at Greenmarkets were spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, while EBT spent on baked goods dropped by nearly 5 percent. Families are choosing nutrition first by spending their limited food dollars on the healthiest options available at the farmers market. At the same time, these dollars are reinvested in our regional economy as increased revenues for farmers. The Union Square Greenmarket had the highest food stamp sales of any market at $151,813 in 2011. Greenmarket partnered with the NYC Food Bank to offer food stamp screenings for more than 250 New Yorkers at Union Square to determine if they qualify for Food Stamps, providing valuable public education and outreach on the program. GrowNYC is deeply grateful to Speaker Quinn and the New York City Council for their support of this program. In 2006, the City Council began partnering with GrowNYC to provide funding for EBT scanners, signage, community outreach, merchant account fees and dedicated staff members to operate the machines at the Greenmarkets. The program has been highly successful and this year EBT was accepted at 43 Greenmarkets. Read more about our EBT program, find a Greenmarket near you that accepts EBT, or read NY1's coverage of our great 2011.

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