GrowNYC and the Sierra Club of Puerto Rico "floated up" Manhattan's Fifth Avenue at the festive National Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday, June 16. The green team volunteers hauled clear bags stuffed with recyclable materials collected from the audience onto the float, giving some 2 million spectators a remarkable snapshot of waste reduction efforts at the event. Volunteers collected more than 489 pounds of recyclable materials--a 54% increase from last year.
GrowNYC's free event recycling services included volunteer recruitment, outreach to parade float participants before the event, education on recycling rules and the creation of an event recycling plan to reduce waste at the parade.
GrowNYC was thrilled to host US Department of Agriculture’s deputy secretary, Krysta Harden, for a tour of our Union Square Greenmarket and lunch on Monday, June 1. Despite the torrential downpour, Deputy Secretary Harden spent plenty of time walking around the market, sampling products and chatting with Greenmarket farmers about the challenges and rewards of farming in our region.
Harden herself comes from three generations of farmers in southwest Georgia, and you can hear it in her accent. As Deputy Secretary, she has placed a large focus on ensuring the success of the next generation of farmers and recognizes that in today’s dynamic business climate farmers need more than just a passion for the land but also practical business training and access to land and capital.
GrowNYC's FARMroots Director, Christopher Wayne, introduced her to several graduates of our FARMroots beginning farmer training program, including Nestor Tello of Tello’s Green Farm in Coxsackie, NY, one of the very first graduates of the program, as well as Jane Hodge, Karen Washington, and Michaela Hayes, three of the women who now operate Rise & Root Farm in Chester, NY and recently graduated from the program.
L to R: USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, Cheryl Huber (GrowNYC Greenmarket), Nestor Tello (Tello’s Green Farm), Christopher Wayne (GrowNYC FARMRoots), Jane Hodge, Michaela Hayes & Karen Washington (Rise & Root Farm), Olivia Blanchflower (GrowNYC Wholesale and Distribution), Mark Izeman (NRDC), Dennis Derryck (Corbin Hill Farm), Marcel Van Ooyen (GrowNYC)
Additionally, Harden spoke with female farmers from Ole Mother Hubbard Dairy and Apple State Hilltop Family Farm who have worked with FARMroots to implement strategic marketing plans intended to help increase their at-market sales. These women shared their personal journeys into agriculture as well as some of their delicious products. She invited them to participate in the new Women in Agriculture mentoring program that she launched at the USDA to provide a forum for sharing experiences and best practices.
On a more personal note, the deputy secretary loved the rainbow carrots she found at Norwich Meadows Farm and said turnips are her favorite vegetable. She remarked that the farmers market is one of the only places where you can get them with the delicious tops still attached!
Grow to Learn helps New York City schools to build and expand school gardens that are sustainable, responsive to their communities, and transformative for student learning. With over 500 schools in our network across all five boroughs, Grow to Learn has been thinking hard about how to continue to grow new gardens while still providing the hands-on technical assistance that existing school gardens need.
Our amazing staff have been planning, filming, and editing these short instructional videos for school gardeners. We plan to have a full suite of instructional ‘how-to’s’, addressing everything from building basic gardening structures to safe tool use to seasonal organic gardening practices.
Check out our first two installments: How to Build a Raised Bed and Best Practices: the Power Saw and make sure you check back for more in coming weeks!
GrowNYC, the city's essential environmental resource, is celebrating 45 years of service with a birthday party at our most iconic project - the Union Square Greenmarket - one of 50 Greenmarkets we operate.
Why should you care?
Free cake and cool t-shirts! Check out our new limited edition t-shirts featuring a throwback design by Robin Willis. This t-shirt could be yours for only $20 bucks at our 45th birthday part in Union Square Greenmarket on Monday, May 18 at Union Square Greenmarket! OR if you donate $100 or more today.
Big thanks to Robin Willis for his fab design. Check out more of his work here.
A new season of garden-based programming for public school students has begun on GrowNYC’s Governors Island Teaching Garden. From April to November, we'll teach thousands of kids about where their food comes from and how to cook simple and nutritious recipes using garden-grown produce.
Among our newest additions to the garden is a solar cooker, made by our friends at GoSol, a Finnish social enterprise devoted to spreading the knowledge of how to build low-tech, high power solar concentrators.
GoSol is currently crowdfunding to publish free construction guides, launch projects and create an online hub where people around the world can participate in the open development of these sustainable energy technologies. Read more about their great work at www.gosol.org/FreeTheSun.
Last week in the garden, we had a spectacularly clear day and were able to use the solar cooker with a group of high school students. We chopped green beans and mixed them with oil and spices in a frying pan. We then placed the pan on the solar cooker and asked two students to help use the cooker’s lever to move its giant wall of mirrors into place.
Within a few seconds of aligning the mirrors, enough light from the sun was reflected to the cook surface to cause the beans to start to sizzle!
The Wholesale Greenmarket is now open for the 2015 season! Buy fresh, affordably-priced plants, flowers, and produce direct from farmers from New York State and New Jersey.
The market is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 2am-8am: the early morning hours are tailored to buyers such as food retailers and restaurants, but the Wholesale Greenmarket is open to the public. Whether you are a business owner or a home gardener, a community organization or just cooking for a big family, join us bright and early for great deals on produce and plants in wholesale quantities.
290 Halleck Street (at Viele Ave)
Open Tuesday through Saturday
April 4 – Dec 31, 2015
2 AM to 8 AM
Please note that mainly plants are sold from April-June, with produce starting in July. Please see the Wholesale Greenmarket page for individual farmer contact information.
Watch GrowNYC's Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen take to the stage to deliver a TEDx talk about scaling up local food distribution through Greenmarket Co., New York City's first and only food hub dedicated to supporting regional food producers by making their products available to wholesale buyers throughout the city.
The afternoon will feature a consumer preference tasting of heritage wheat from the Value-Added grains variety trials at 2 pm, followed by a panel discussion at 3 pm on the history of grain production in the Hudson Valley, the science underlying the culinary functionality of heritage grains, and how we can use these breeds to address health and wellness issues and environmental imperatives. Panelists include: Steffen Schneider, farmer at Hawthorne Valley Farm, Maureen Costura, anthropolgist and food historian at the CIA, and Elizabeth Dyck from the Organic Growers Research and Information-sharing Network (OGRIN) and will be moderated by Chris Loss from The Culinary Institue of America.
Tickets are $10 for the general public and free for CIA students with ID.
GrowNYC’s Regional Grains Project is co-hosting a month long tasting series on Tuesday evenings in February at SingL Lounge. SingL Lounge’s popular two year-old Tuesday tasting series run by Master Sommelier Roger Dagorn will spend the month highlighting distilleries making their spirits with local, Northeast-grown grains.
Tickets are $25 and include samples of three spirits and snacks. There will be two tastings per evening, the first at 6:30 pm and then again at 7:15 pm. The tastings will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about the distilling process of each spirit directly from the distillers, as well as how these distillers are helping to spearhead the current renaissance of grain growing in the region. Staff from GrowNYC will also be on-hand to discuss the organization’s Regional Grains Project and sell a selection of local grains.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, residents in one Chinatown complex took time to “unstuff”—closets and drawers, that is—bringing 2,500 pounds of unwanted clothing to a special collection in their building.
In 2012 GrowNYC hosted an Earth Day textile collection as part of a larger community event in Chinatown, attracting residents from the nearby Confucius Plaza Apartments, who asked for more convenient opportunities to recycle unwanted clothing, shoes, linens and other textiles. With the help of our Manhattan Recycling Outreach Coordinator, the co-op held the first of what is now a bi-annual collection at the 762-unit apartment complex. GrowNYC advised management on the logistics of setting up a collection, connected them Wearable Collections (who also collects materials from Greenmarkets) and provided outreach and education assistance, from promoting the collection to educating residents about recycling with the help of bilingual volunteers. In the past two years the building has hosted six events and collected over 6.5 tons of material that will be reused or recycled into new products. Plans are underway to establish more frequent collections as resident demand for this service shows no sign of slowing, and building staff appreciate the lighter loads they must manage when taking out the trash.