El Jardin del Pueblo grows in East New York

GrowNYC is proud to announce the completion of El Jardin del Pueblo, a 5,300 square-foot community garden at 2358 Pitkin Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn. El Jardin del Pueblo was originally three vacant lots owned by NYC's Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The community based organization Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation approached HPD with the idea of turning the lot into a temporary hub for community building, urban agriculture, and organic chicken production.

In April, GrowNYC started site work on El Jardin, and brought 50 volunteers from Timberland to the garden for Earth Day 2012. Our Timberland volunteers cleared 2 of the 3 lots, covered the garden with landscape fabric and mulch, built 30 raised garden beds, and installed a 1,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system.

In June, the garden received 25 heirloom chickens, which produce organic eggs that are distributed to the garden's members.

In September, GrowNYC and volunteers from Bank of America cleared the 3rd vacant lot, laying down landscape fabric and mulch, and prepping the site for further development.

In October, GrowNYC and volunteers from Swiss Re developed the 3rd lot, building 5 raised beds, constructing and raising a 200 square foot shade structure, installing a 500 gallon rainwater harvesting system, and building 2 picnic tables.

A huge thanks to all of our volunteers, to NYC HPD, and to Cypress Hills Local Development Corp!

The Gift of Good Rye

Lovers of rye, unite! For those who think rye is just for monster pastrami sandwiches served to tourists at Carnegie Deli, think again. The versatile whole grain played the starring role in every dish of a dinner served in late September as part of the ongoing Rye Bread Project. The project was co-founded by Copenhagen-based chef and regional farming advocate Trine Hahnemann, and is part of a larger movement to reintroduce heritage rye grains to the northeastern U.S. It kicked off two years ago with a similar feast of traditional Nordic, rye-infused recipes. This time around, though, a significant new development was cause for celebration: the generous donation of 24 varieties of heritage rye seeds by the Norwegian-based Svalbard Global Seed Vault - a feat that took Trine these interim two years to accomplish. In the ceremonial capstone of the evening, Trine handed Greenmarket's Regional Grains Director June Russell a burlap satchel containing a symbolic handful of the seeds, grown by Danish farmers, which create a grain superior to the cover crop rye used in the U.S. A much larger donation of these seeds is en route to Agronomist Elizabeth Dyck of OGRIN, who will then distribute them to farmers in the region who will plant them as the beginning of a long-term testing process. What better way to celebrate the symbolic re-introduction of rye to our region than devouring it in a succulent array of forms! The lavish feast was hosted by New Amsterdam Market, and served to some of rye’s most devoted advocates in the market’s historic office at the South Street Seaport. Using local ingredients, Trine transformed the extraordinarily nutritious grain into rye flakes for a cauliflower gratin, pastry for a kale-pine nut tart, the nutty cooked whole grain in a butternut squash salad, and the crumble in a traditional Danish apple dessert featuring layers of homemade applesauce and whipped cream. Completing the table was of course the bread: Trine’s delectable rye focaccia, and the beloved Finnish Ruis bread -- a 100% whole grain, flat, round loaf that has been a fixture of Finnish life since time immemorial -- baked by Simo Kuusisto of Nordic Breads. June Russell, one of several speakers at the event, talked about how far the regional grain movement has come in spurring farmers to once again grow crops like heritage wheat, emmer and spelt -- mainstays in the region during pre-industrial days -- thanks to a growing market for these crops among chefs, bakers, millers, malters, and other grain-focused enterprises. Inexplicably, rye has lagged behind these other crops in the grain resurgence. Until now. With the continued success of the Regional Grains Project, the Rye Bread Project, and other exciting efforts promoting the regional food system, we can expect lots more meals like this in New York’s culinary future!

Into the Night: Presenting the Harlem Pop-Up Greenmarket

We're proud to announce the Harlem Pop-Up Greenmarket, New York City’s first nighttime farmers market! The market will take place on Thursday, October 11th from 4pm to 9pm at W. 117th St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd., and is brought to you by GrowNYC, the Frederick Douglas Boulevard Alliance, and Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. Fresh and local fruits, vegetables, cheese, wine, flowers, baked goods, and prepared foods from neighborhood restaurants. Visitors will also enjoy live music, refreshments, and a pumpkin patch. Cash, credit/debit, EBT/SNAP benefits accepted. EBT/SNAP benefit customers will receive an extra $2 Health Buck voucher for every $5 spent. Harlem Pop-Up Greenmarket Thursday, October 11, 4 – 9 p.m. W. 117th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard [map] (on the same site as the Treasure Chest Flea Market)

Greenmarket Producers:

King Ferry Winery – Wine by the glass from Cayuga County, New York Valley Shepherd Creamery – Sheep’s milk cheese, yogurt and gelato from Morris County, New Jersey Hot Bread Kitchen – Multi-ethnic artisan breads and tortillas from New York County, New York Breezy Hill Orchard – Pears, apples, cider and baked goods from Dutchess County, New York Glebocki Farm – Vegetables from Orange County, New York Ronnybrook Dairy Farm – Milk, yogurt, butter and ice cream from Columbia County, New York Nolasco’s Farm – Vegetables, Mexican specialty produce and herbs from Warren County, New Jersey Andrew’s Local Honey – Honey and honey products from Fairfield County, Connecticut Pumpkin Patch sale provided by Nolasco’s Farm.

Harlem Establishments Providing Prepared Foods and Flowers:

Franz James Floral Harlem Shambles Lido 5 and Diamond Harlem Tavern Zoma

Pop Up Greenmarket hosted by Tishman Speyer on Hudson St 9/18 to 9/20

As part of World Green Building Week 2012, Greenmarket and Tishman Speyer will open a pop-up Greenmarket this Tuesday, September 18th, through Thursday, September 20th at 375 Hudson Street in downtown Manhattan. The 3-day market will be home to regionally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, flowers and baked goods. Access is free and open to the public. One Week Only! Hudson & West Houston St, Manhattan 8am - 5pm Tuesday, September 18 Wednesday, September 19 Thursday, September 20

Farms Attending

Tuesday Migliorelli Farm Vegetables and orchard fruit from Dutchess County, NY Red Jacket Orchards Orchard and small fruit, juices, and preserves from Ontario County, NY Nordic Breads Whole grain rye bread from New York, NY Millport Dairy Cheddar cheese, eggs and meat from Lancaster County, PA Wednesday Migliorelli Farm Vegetables and orchard fruit from Dutchess County, NY Red Jacket Orchards Orchard and small fruit, juices, and preserves from Ontario County, NY Nordic Breads Whole grain rye bread from New York, NY Millport Dairy Cheddar cheese, eggs and meat from Lancaster County, PA Paumanok Vineyards Wine from Suffolk County, NY Katchkie Farm Certified Organic vegetables and value added products from Columbia County, NY Binder Farm Plants from Suffolk County, NY Thursday Red Jacket Orchards Orchard and small fruit, juices, and preserves from Ontario County, NY Nordic Breads Whole grain rye bread from New York, NY Millport Dairy Cheddar cheese, eggs and meat from Lancaster County, PA Paumanok Vineyards Wine from Suffolk County, NY Beth’s Farm Kitchen Jams, preserves, chutneys, and pickled vegetables from Columbia County, NY  

Featured Grow to Learn Garden: Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, & Engineering

Grow to Learn NYC: the Citywide School Gardens Initiative was established in 2010 as a public-private partnership between GrowNYC, The Mayor’s Fund, and several government agency partners. Grow to Learn profiles successful school gardens in their monthly newsletter The School Gardens Beet. The September profile appears below. It was a week before the school year officially began yet Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science & Engineering (CSS-MSE)’s garden was blooming with activity as students planted pollinator-attracting perennials, filled beds with soil, weeded, added trellis lines to tomato plants, turned the compost, and painted. Abby (13), Ashley (12), and Ariana (11) led me around their garden, expertly identifying their crops and generously offering me tastes along the way. Constructed by students practicing their engineering skills, the raised beds were lined with plastic and chicken wire to dissuade animals from burrowing inside. As we moved on, some unique and colorful structures caught my eye. The garden has two rainwater barrels painted as a chicken and a pig, and a large brightly-painted wooden shed. The front is painted with chalkboard paint where students list their garden to-dos and create temporary works of art. Ashley pointed out the different tools and supplies in the shed, but was particularly proud of the supply of extra work boots in case a student isn’t wearing proper footwear. Abby was also proud to point out the garden’s six compost bins and their contents.

Abby’s dad built the garden’s most recent addition: the compost tumbler. Made out of salvaged materials, it includes engineering that will enable them to harvest natural gas from the compost! Using student recipes and ideas, they plan to use the gas for cooking in the garden, an activity that the students enthusiastically lead from prep to feast. What were these students doing in the garden during their summer vacation? Ariana expressed that she likes to plant and “growing different types of plants and vegetables is cool.” Ashley loves the garden, it is “a place for me and my friends to gather while helping the environment and still have fun.” Abby agreed and added that being in the garden “is a chance to get away from the city.” Behind the students’ love for the garden is a dedicated and inspirational teacher, Meredith Hill. Meredith’s goal is to make the garden as student-driven as possible. During the month of June, students participate in an elective course focusing on one topic. Abby and Ashley joined Meredith and 30 other classmates in the garden for a Food and Sustainability course where they learned garden care, compost, raised bed construction, and how to prepare meals using produce from the garden, choosing what to plant and cook. The course culminated in the publication of Fresh!, a student-authored anthology created entirely by the 7th grade Food and Sustainability Class and features some of our favorite GreenThumb school gardeners. Students teach skills that they learn to fellow gardeners and the rest of the school community. From Garden to Café harvest events incorporating garden produce into the menu to collecting food waste for composting, the school gardeners have a big presence during lunch at CSS-MSE. Following a student suggestion, the School Food Director allowed students to harvest, prepare and add fresh veggies to pizza as well as distribute samples of garden produce from tomatoes to kale chips. To keep the students’ interest and excitement—and the garden—maintained, Meredith introduced open garden hours during the summer. Students were able to choose their level of involvement with the garden and it provides a chance for students who were not in her class to dig in and help. CSS-MSE’s gardening successes didn’t come without challenges. After two years of having a rooftop garden, new regulations made them unable to use the space. Meredith explained, “I started looking for spaces elsewhere to garden, and a colleague suggested that I check out this space. The site was indeed overgrown and abandoned. Once we discovered it was a Parks Department property, I contacted GreenThumb and we started the process of registering it as a garden. Crucial to this process was finding interested parents and colleagues who helped make connections and offer support to the garden. We received keys about a year later, in the spring of 2010.” Meredith and her students are so grateful for all the support they have received from GreenThumb and Grow to Learn as they have built and improved their garden. Now that the school year has begun, they will transition some of their beds into colder-weather crops, and hope to extend the growing season, thanks to new row-covers from a recent GreenThumb workshop! They plan to hold leaf raking parties in Morningside Park to stow away lots of brown material for their year of cafeteria compost. Meredith will incorporate the garden into her English class this year as a way to demonstrate how gardening supports the Common Core standards. Students are also enthusiastically planning a GreenThumb composting workshop for this October that will be led by 7th and 8th grade students. Keep a lookout in our October newsletter for the exact date, time, and location.

Textile Recycling at Confucius Plaza a Success

On Sunday, August 12th the GrowNYC crew had their second textile recycling event at Confucius Plaza in as many months. OROE volunteers Nga Yan and Shi Chao came out to lend a hand in diverting over 2,250 lbs from the landfills, bringing the total to over 3 tons of materials in just two days! We’d like to give a special thanks and congratulations to the management and residents of Confucius Plaza for their partnership and enthusiasm. Here's to another successful foray in community supported recycling! GrowNYC currently offers weekly textile collection at 19 Greenmarkets. If you are interested in hosting a one-time textile collection in your community, please contact us at (212) 788-7964.

Tompkins Square Greenmarket Iron Chef: Veselka Bowery Vs. Hearth Restaurant

Come see two culinary cornerstones of the East Village in the hot seat at Tompkins Square Greenmarket on September 9th, as Veselka Bowery and Hearth Restaurant / Terroir Wine Bar face off to claim the title of Iron Chef. Each chef will have just an hour to transform a "mystery basket" of market ingredients into a delicious dish.  Traven Rice of The Lo-Down blog and an esteemed panel of judges will crown a winner, and limited samples will be available to the public. Sunday, Sept 9 1-4pm Tompkins Square Greenmarket 7th St at Avenue A Veselka Bowery is an East Village institution, begun in 1954 as a small candy store and newsstand and quickly taking over the neighboring steak luncheonette. It began with a small following of people looking for inexpensive homemade authentic Eastern European food in an underground atmosphere and today offers an extensive menu that features homemade Ukrainian foods along with traditional American diner fare and an eclectic mix of daily specials. http://www.veselka.com/bowery/ Hearth Restaurant & Terroir Wine Bar are both located in Manhattan's East Village. Their food is rooted in the modern traditions of the American kitchen with influences from their Italian heritage. Most important to Hearth is their expression of hospitality. The hearth is the home and they take this sentiment to heart, aspiring in all manner of ways to exceed expectations.  http://www.restauranthearth.com/

Summer Reading: Increase in Farmers Markets in NY

On August 11, we welcomed the Comptroller, his colleagues and partners from across the state and city to Union Square to take a tour of our flagship market, and announce the release of the report.

 

As summer reached its peak with tomatoes and corn in abundance at the market, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a new report announcing the proliferation of farmers markets in New York City and across the state. Since 2000, the number of farmers markets in New York State has more than doubled, and GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets account for 54 of the 138 farmers markets located across the city’s five boroughs. As the report notes, "Farmers' markets have become increasingly important for sustaining regional farms," and through programs like EBT, Health Bucks, and the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, farmers markets are accessible and affordable for all New Yorkers. Best of all, the revenue that is generated goes directly back into the regional economy. Read the rest of the report.

Greenmarket Youth Education Sandwich Smackdown Sept. 8th

Get ready for the inaugural Greenmarket Sandwich Smackdown! This fun, kid-friendly event hosted by the Greenmarket Youth Education Project, will take place on Saturday, September 8th at the Union Square Greenmarket, and will be an opportunity for kids ages 6 to 14 years old to show off their sandwich making skills and love for local food! Teams of kids and adults will be working together to shop for local ingredients at the Union Square Greenmarket to create the ultimate market-inspired snack. Kids and adults interested in forming a team to represent an organization, company or individual group can sign up here. View the flyer:

Birdie visits Union Square to Promote Reusable Bags

Greenmarket and GreeNYC will be promoting reusable bags with GreeNYC mascot Birdie at the Union Square Greenmarket at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, August 8. Stop by to meet Birdie and make a pledge to reduce the use of plastic. Birdie will reward individuals who pledge to make a difference with a reusable tote bag, perfect for stocking up on local produce. More: New Yorkers consume more than 5 billion plastic bags each year. Plastic bags litter our neighborhoods, depletes global natural resources and contribute to carbon emissions and climate change. Littered plastic bags can easily make their way to storm drains and then into our waterways. GreeNYC is the public education arm of PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg’s plan for a greener, greater NYC. GreeNYC works to educate, engage, and mobilize New Yorkers to rise to the challenges of reducing their energy use, living a more sustainable lifestyle, and shrinking the citywide carbon footprint--actions that are critical to achieving the overall PlaNYC goal of reducing NYC’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and improving the quality of the city’s environment. View the event flyer.

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