Grow to Learns kicks off Dining Out for School Gardens week

Today, GrowNYC and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City—co-founders of Grow to Learn: the Citywide School Gardens Initiative—were joined by Deputy NYC Parks Commissioner Larry Scott Blackmon, Chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern and staff and families at PS 154 in Windsor Terrace to highlight the critical nutrition lessons gardens provide and kick-off a week-long promo, Dining Out for School Gardens.

Students at PS 154 were outside participating in a cooking demo with Chef Michael Anthony and Whitney Reuling, Garden to Cafe Coordinator for the Office of SchoolFood, as part of Harvest Day, where students serve up what they’ve grown in the garden in their cafeteria.

PS 154 was recently awarded a Grow to Learn mini-grant to amend garden beds, purchase composters and lights so they can grow seeds indoors. After registering their garden on, they received donated plant materials and technical assistance from Grow to Learn Partner Green Thumb, and their Harvest Day and other nutrition curriculum comes from participating in Garden to School Café, another partner in Grow to Learn.

From June 24 – 30, you can visit participating restaurants and help NYC youth gain better skills, habits and knowledge about growing, eating and preparing food. All of the Dining Out for School Gardens restaurants, will donate a percentage of the sales of one or more menu items towards supporting school gardens.

A new farm for the Tellos

It’s been almost twelve years since Nestor and Alejandra Tello first joined the New Farmer Development Project in 2000 as the project’s first farmers. They’ve now become one of the project's true success stories, growing from modest beginnings with a few hundred chickens to a flock of 4000 lay-ers, on-farm honey production, and some diversified vegetables to boot.

Most recently, after 10 years of renting land, Nestor and Alejandra were finally able to purchase their very own 25 acre farm in Coxsackie, NY late last year.

Tello's Green Farm keeps its loyal customers happy at 8 Greenmarkets and 3 CSAs throughout New York City.

Click here for more info about the Tellos and the New Farmer Development Project.

Dining Out for School Gardens

Grow to Learn NYC: the Citywide School Gardens Initiative, a program co-founded by GrowNYC, knows that gardens, cafes and cafeterias are classrooms too, so we asked NYC chefs to lend their support and expertise.

Chefs are an integral part of shaping how we eat and how we view food so it’s only natural that they take part in GrowNYC’s Grow to Learn school gardens program. In gardens, in farmers markets, in schools and in restaurants NYC chefs are helping to advance the good food/good health movement by:

  • Teaching students how to prepare healthy school lunches, snacks, and meals using fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs
  • Encouraging healthy eating habits by demonstrating the natural deliciousness of farm fresh foods
  • Introducing young people on the cusp of adulthood to possible career choices

From June 24 – 30, you can visit participating restaurants and help NYC youth gain better skills, habits and knowledge about growing, eating and preparing food. All of the Dining Out for School Gardens restaurants, will donate a percentage of the sales of one or more menu items towards supporting school gardens.

Your participation will help ensure that New York City’s youth are getting outside and growing–and making the connection between what’s in the garden with what’s on their plates by visiting these restaurants:


Back Forty – Sauteed tokoyo turnips (side dish)

Elsewhere Restaurant – Eat Drink Local Week prix fixe menu

Gotham Bar and Grill – a special $25 Greenmarket menu

Gramercy Tavern – Eat Drink Local Week prix fixe menu

The Green Table – local artisanal cheese plate

Henry's – Greenmarket square meal

Hung Ry – Eat Drink Local Week prix fixe menu

I Trulli – special Greenmarket Tasting Menu

Má Pêche - mushroom + asparagus appetizer

Mae Mae Café - Veggie burger

Northern Spy Food Co.

Riverpark - Mascarpone Ravioli

Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto culatello locale

Battery Park City Shake Shack - summer blackberry cobbler milkshake

Trestle on Tenth - Greenmarket strawberry sundae and spinach gnocchi

‘wichcraft – Asparagus frittata, roasted free-range chicken, and marinated zucchini sandwiches


iCi - A special Eat & Drink Local Menu ($46)

Rose Water – Eat Drink Local week menu

The Vanderbilt – Fleischer’s Heritage Pork Loin

Interested in supporting Grow to Learn NYC?  Donate today!
(choose Citywide School Gardens as your program designation)

Grow to Learn is a program of GrowNYC and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. Learn more at

To add your restaurant to this promotion, contact Julie Walsh at

Solar ovens in Union Square

This afternoon, teens from our environmental education program were out cooking food at the Union Square Greenmarket in their pizza box solar ovens. One oven went above 200 degrees!

Win a school recycling program!

GrowNYC is teaming up with, a local digital news service, to award one lucky Manhattan school with a Recycling Champions Program. GrowNYC will provide the winning school with staff and student recycling workshops, a school-wide environmental event and technical assistance to improve the schools recycling program. The K-12 public school with the most votes wins. The contest ends June 30 and the program will begin in September - vote now!

GrowNYC’s Recycling Champions Program works hands-on with multiple schools across NYC to develop model, lasting school recycling programs. By working directly with faculty, administration, students, and custodians in a school, Recycling Champions aims to create best practice guides, resources, and tools that will be made available to every school in NYC. During its first year, Recycling Champions outreached to 8,013 students and 643 classroom teachers.

Enter a school in the contest!

29 Mini-Grants Awarded to NYC School Gardens!


Grow to Learn recently awarded 29 Mini-Grants of up to $2,000 to help NYC schools keep their gardens growing. Schools will use funds to purchase soil, tools, seeds, hoses, wheelbarrows, gloves, and even provide professional development and garden training for teachers. "We evaluated over 60 competitive proposals, and looked for projects that are well planned, sustainable and have a positive impact on children related to nutrition and environmental education," said Grow to Learn Coordinator Erica Keberle. If your school has not yet applied for a Grow to Learn Mini-Grant, our next application deadline is June 30, 2011. Those schools that did not receive a Mini-Grant during the last round are eligible to reapply. Past Mini-Grant recipients are not eligible to reapply. Now is the perfect time to register your garden with Grow to Learn and apply for a Mini-Grant. Special thanks to Bank of America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for their generous support of Grow to Learn Mini-Grants. The 29 grantees are: Bronx Dewitt Clinton High School University Heights High School PS 43 Jonas Bronck & Mott Haven Academy Charter School Brooklyn Alternate Learning Center - John Jay Community Roots Charter School High School for Public Service Kurt Hahn School Bedford Village School, Public School 3 The Clinton Hill School, PS 20 PS 29 John M. Harrigan John W. Kimball Learning Center, PS 107 PS 149 Danny Kaye PS 154 PS 230 Doris L. Cohen PS 261 Philip Livingston Park Slope Elementary and Middle School, PS/MS 282 The William Penn School, PS 321 Manhattan LaGuardia Arts High School Muscota New School & Amistad Dual Language School John Melser Charrette School, PS 3 The William T. Harris School, PS 11 River East Elementary School, PS 37 PS 110 Florence Nightingale Manhattan Middle School for Scientific Inquiry, MS 328 Manhattan School for Children, PS 333 American Sign Language and English Lower School, PS 347 Queens East-West School of International Studies John Bowne Elementary, PS 20 Staten Island Intermediate School 49 Berta A. Dreyfus

Compost pilot hits 41,000 lbs

Since launching our compost pilot collection at several Greenmarkets on March 5, participation has grown by "greens and browns." Over eight weekends we have collected more than 41,000 pounds of food scraps at select markets in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The pilot runs through June 25, so come show your support for composting this spring!

Learn more about GrowNYC's compost initiatives.

Learn It, Grow It, Eat It spring interns talk nutrition

Learn It, Grow It, Eat It started it's annual spring break internship five years ago after hearing from high schoolers how bored they were during their week off. Last week, 8 students from 3 high schools (Bronx International, Bronx Regional and LaGuardia high schools) worked together for 2 days in Wishing Well Community Garden getting veggie plots ready for spring and then putting together a nutrition education label reading workshop which they presented to staff at the Novetel Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

The presentation featured the debut of LGE's latest interactive display, "Chubby Comes to America," a look at the mind-boggling amounts of sugar in favorite children's drinks and foods. Staff at the hotel were truly surprised by what the teens had to tell them and asked if they could come to their children's school to do the same. Intern Alhassan Yaya said, "I feel very proud that i had the opportunity to teach adults things that they didn't know." Another intern, Kassandra Ramos, really enjoyed "doing something positive with students from other high schools."

Wholesale Greenmarket now open for the 2011 Season

Last Friday marked the opening of the 2011 season at the Wholesale Greenmarket. The restaurants, garden centers, landscapers, and everyday shoppers in attendance were thrilled to see the colorful offerings on display. Coming from as close as 15 minutes outside the city, our growers brought in an assortment of flowers, herbs, and shrubs to help city residents get a head start on their spring planting.

Get more information about Wholesale Greenmarket.

New Fulton Fish Market
800 Food Center Drive
Hunts Point, the Bronx

Monday – Saturday, 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Get your soil's pH tested

We are no longer accepting soil for testing. See the link below for other testing facilities.

GrowNYC will be offering $5 soil pH tests from now until Friday, April 1st.

Interested gardeners can send a tablespoon of soil from the first 6 inches of their garden, in a plastic bag, to:

Attn: Soil Test
51 Chambers Street, Room 228
New York, NY, 10007

Make checks or money orders payable to GrowNYC.

Please note that we will only be testing your soil's pH. More information on where to get your soil tested for toxins and chemicals can be found at Grow to Learn NYC's soil testing page.