Pass on Plastic

Every year, the New York City Department of Sanitation collects over 3 million pounds of trash including over 10 billion single-use plastic bags. In an effort to reduce the number of plastic bags distributed at our Greenmarkets, several producers are now selling reusable tote, bread and produce bags directly from their farm stands. The producers listed below are committed to reducing their usage of plastic bags at market and we hope Greenmarket shoppers will join in.  

Bags available include: Greenmarket Tote, Small Produce Bag, Large Produce Bag, Large Bread Bag

Bread Alone Bakery
Fishkill Farm
Glebocki Farm
Hot Bread Kitchen
John D Madura Farm
Lani's Farm 
Locust Grove Fruit Farm
Migliorelli Farm
Morgiewicz Farm
Oak Grove Plantation
Phillips Farms
Prospect Hill Orchards
Red Jacket Orchards 
Rexcroft Farm
Ronnybrook Farm
Samascott Orchards
Two Guys From Woodbridge
Wilkow Orchards 
Windfall Farms

Prepare for Possible Weather Events with our Resilient NYC Community Garden Guide

In light of recent forecasts, which include the possibility of Hurricane Joaquin making landfall over the Eastern United States next week, GrowNYC is advising gardeners to consult our 2014 publication Resilient NYC Community Garden Guide

The guide, published in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, is a practical manual on making your garden more resilient, including step-by-step guidelines to minimizing storm damage.

From preventive pruning techniques to ways to secure garden features, we hope this guide will serve as a practical resource for you and your green space.

Get the Guide!

GrowNYC Pilots Green Beetz Health-Based Curriculum in 10 NYC Public Schools

Beginning in Fall 2015, GrowNYC will partner with Green Beetz to deliver the organization’s holistic food-based curriculum to over 300 elementary school students city-wide. GrowNYC will distribute and support teachers in implementing Green Beetz’s health-based curriculum to 10 elementary schools over the course of a one-year pilot in collaboration with Grow to Learn. Read the full press release.

Green Beetz’ mission is to empower middle schoolers to navigate the complex issues surrounding food in the 21st century. Green Beetz' innovative, holistic curriculum incorporates media and inquiry-based activities, inviting students to consider how food impacts the environment, their bodies and the world around them. The Green Beetz curriculum was developed in collaboration with The New York Academy of Sciences to ensure its alignment with age-appropriate STEM topics and Common Core State Standards. Since the non-profit’s founding in 2013 by Dr. Anna Chapman, Andrew Chapman and Tracey Kemble, the organization has worked in East and Central Harlem to test its holistic model.

Included in today’s announcement is the release of “Captain Trash Bag,” a Green Beetz original video promoting the curriculum. 

Beer and Spirits of New York Pop-up

Thanks to funding from Empire State Development, GrowNYC is hosting a rotating cast of New York State brewers and distillers paired with a local restaurant at our Union Square and Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets every Saturday until November 21. Each week shoppers will have the opportunity to sample and purchase beer and spirits made of local ingredients, taste market-fresh dishes that complement the craft beverages on offer and purchase regionally grown flours, wheat berries, pastas, and dried beans from our Greenmarket Regional Grains Project.

Over the past five years, the Northeast has seen a resurgence of interest in small grain production coinciding with innovative grain based product development in the food and beverage sectors. Consumer demand for local foods along with policy initiatives such as Governor Cuomo’s Farm Brewery and Farm Distillery legislation, and the work of Greenmarket’s Regional Grains Project have helped fuel the grain renaissance in New York State. 

GrowNYC is thrilled to provide a marketplace for these innovative craft brewers and distillers to introduce their New York State products to Greenmarket shoppers. Check the Beer & Spirits of New York Pop-up webpage for updates on each week's participants.    

In particular, the craft beverage industry has seen dramatic and unprecedented growth. Since 2011, the number of farm distilleries in New York State has increased 450 percent, from 10 in 2011 to 55 today. The number of craft breweries alone has more than doubled from 2012 to 2015, from 95 breweries in 2012 to 207 in January, 2015. GrowNYC was at the forefront of this surge when we partnered with Brooklyn Brewery to help source the ingredients to create a truly local beer. In 2013, Greenmarket Wheat was born and today it is one of Brooklyn Brewery's perrenial brews and is made with 70% local ingredients including NY State wheat, hops, barley and honey. 

The Beer and Spirits of New York Pop-up stand received funding through Empire State Development’s Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program, in coordination with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The program was created to increase the profile, awareness and sales of New York State produced wine, beer, spirits, and hard cider, and provides matching funds for the marketing and promotion of craft beverages. The Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program is administered in alignment with the Governor’s Taste NY initiative, and Taste NY branding will be used throughout the pop-up stand.




GrowNYC Builds 9 New Rainwater Harvesting Systems

This Spring and summer GrowNYC completed several new rainwater harvesting projects and updated several existing ones.

At Governors Island Teaching Garden, we installed 3 systems from a child sized shade structure that collects into 2 - 5 gallon containers and allows children to open and close valves which divert the flow of water either to the containers, a see through hose or a drain to the adjacent rain garden. 

To collect rainfall from the adjacent former Coast Guard housing, a 500 gallon tank was installed to collect from a large area of roof and two 50 gallon barrels collect from a smaller roof area. A flow meter was installed on the 500 gallon tank to monitor water usage. These installations were completed using funding provided by the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute through a grant from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. 6,000 visitors have interacted with the Green Infrastructure projects on Governors Island this season.

At  the Brook Park Community Garden in the Bronx, GrowNYC worked on a week long effort with  community gardeners and volunteers from In Good Company to install 3  new rainwater systems. A 1000 gallon cistern captures rainfall from the downspout of an adjacent home, a 250 gallon tank collects from an existing shed and 2 - 50 gallon barrels store water captured from a chicken coop.

GrowNYC staff worked with 10 youth aged 14 to 18 from Brotherhood Sister Soul in West Harlem to repair an existing rainwater system and install a new system in the Frank White Garden. Each system has 100 gallon storage and collects from existing shade structures in the garden. The youth learned about the New York City combined sewer system as well as getting hands on building experience  developing pollution prevention solutions.

GrowNYC staff completed a shade structure in the Morning Glory Garden in the Bronx which collects rainwater into a 300 gallon tank.

A new 300 gallon tank was installed at the Greenspace on Fourth Garden in Brooklyn. This new garden on land atop a water tunnel access site is a native plant garden where the gardeners installed a rain garden in collaboration with Brooklyn GreenBridge . The overflow from the rainwater system is diverted to the rain garden.

A 1000 gallon rainwater system at the St. John Cantius Garden in East New York, Brooklyn was reconnected to the adjacent building after it had been disconnected due to a change of ownership of the building.

These new and reconnected systems now bring the total number of rainwater harvesting systems in New York City Community Gardens to over 140 systems with the capacity to collect more than 1.5 million gallons of rainfall per year. An interactive map of these gardens and all rainwater harvesting sites can be found here.

GrowNYC Releases Green Design for Students Manual

GrowNYC is proud to announce the publication of Green Design for Students, a manual of all of the major environmental and infrastructure issues that impact our daily lives, such as energy consumption, water treatment, agriculture, waste management, and sustainable construction, written specifically for Grades 7-12.

Green Design for Students was created and overseen by GrowNYC's Director of Environmental Education, Mike Zamm, who has over 45 years of experience in NYC schools designing and teaching topics related to the environment and sustainability. . The manual is designed to augment the common core curriculum and provide exposure to critical real-world issues that are frequently overlooked in a standard lesson plan.

We encourage teachers to use and share the Green Design manual and help educate future generations about these pressing issues.

Please view the embedded manual below or save the PDF for future use.


Five Million Hi-Fives to Greenmarket Composters!

Spring, winter, summer or fall, New Yorkers are increasingly dedicated to building a collective compost pile, facilitated by Greenmarkets and community composters throughout the city.  In partnership with the NYC Department of Sanitation, GrowNYC has diverted more than 5 million pounds of residential food scraps from disposal.  Material dropped off at Greenmarkets is distributed to a network of local compost sites, such as Earth Matter on Governor’s Island, where chickens get the first “peck” of the scraps, and Red Hook Farm, where unwanted scraps are transformed to nurture a new crop of Brooklyn-grown vegetables.   Whether your haul is large or small, we thank YOU for your contributions to this effort!  Learn more about food scrap collections at Greenmarket.    


Greenmarket Video Series Produced by Our Name Is Farm

GrowNYC's Greenmarkets have partnered with Our Name Is Farm to bring you short video profiles of our farmers and producers, along with their products and processes. Our Name Is Farm offers a variety of services in digital media and event production in support of small farmers, artisanal producers, and businesses dedicated to the success of the sustainable food movement. Their mission is to create content and curate experiences that allow consumers to feel empowered by brand knowledge, and therefore, mindful of their choices. Greenmarket hopes that through this partnership we can share the unique stories behind Greenmarket producers and their products and help motivate a new generation of young producers dedicated to the continued success and growth of the sustainable food movement.

We are excited to present you the first video of the series on Sugar Snap Peas with Ron Lamborn featuring Greenmarket farmer, Rick Bishop, of Mountain Sweet Berry Farm. Check back for more videos throughout the season. 

Episode 2 - A Stark Summer: Tomatoes are Coming

Episode 3 - Stone Fruit Summer: Ripe for Peaches

Episode 4 - Whey to Go

Big Lift Winners Achieve Zero Waste!

Eleven Recycling Champions schools participated in this year’s Big Lift: Zero Waste contest. The schools blew us away with their uncontaminated collections that definitively showed what studies have told us: 90% of school waste can be diverted from landfills!

The Big Lift challenged schools to reduce waste and recycle as much as possible during one school day, aiming for zero waste to landfills from classrooms, offices, and the cafeteria. The first place organics collection school, PS 130M, achieved an astounding 93.60% diversion rate and the first place non-organics school, PS 221Q, achieved a 57.78% diversion rate. The average diversion of all participating schools in this year’s contest was 58.88%, exceeding the 50% diversion rate for schools targeted in the Mayor’s Zero Waste Schools program.

In preparation for the Big Lift, participating schools planned publicity campaigns that included announcements, classroom visits, pledge walls, posters, and even video “commercials” shown in every class. These impressive efforts increased student and teacher awareness about recycling, reinforcing classroom and cafeteria recycling practices put in place over the course of the school year.

Meet the winners and their tips for school recycling success:


PS 130 Manhattan, 1st place organics school—93.60% waste diversion
Best Practice: Principal involvement and classroom paper monitoring charts

Mr. Fong is a first year principal at PS 130 Hernando DeSoto in Manhattan. With all of the other demands of his role, he made recycling a priority. Mr. Fong’s hands-on involvement in the cafeteria as students mastered the new organics sorting routine, demonstrated to all in the school the high importance he places on school wide recycling.

Sustainability Coordinator, Wenmin Nicklas, worked with the Green Team to create a system to monitor and display the results of classroom paper recycling. Once a week, each class received a rating based on how well they are separating paper in their classroom. The weekly rating chart is displayed in the hallway by the main office for all to see, prompting students to look at their class’s rating and strive to achieve “smiley stickers” on each Green Team check in. 


PS 90 Queens, 2nd place organics school—87.60% waste diversion
Best Practices: School wide involvement and recycling monitors

At PS 90 Horace Mann recycling education extended beyond the students and staff to include a letter sent home to parents. Custodial staff were key in implementing successful cafeteria recycling, volunteering to monitor the stations until student monitors were assigned. Currently, PS 90 has a monitor system where students from their grades volunteer during lunch hour.


PS 221 Queens, 1st place non-organics school—57.78% waste diversion
Best Practice: Presorting at tables

For NYC's youngest students, sorting recyclables can be a balancing act - many are barely tall enough to see into the recycling bins! Sustainability Coordinators Danielle Rothenberg and Laura Arnold at P.S. 221 noticed that students understood which items were recyclable but had trouble placing them in the bin, so they created a system where students presort all plastic items. Each table has a blue, plastic basket and is assigned a student who transfers the plastic items in the basket to the recycling bins. Presorting has transformed the cafeteria by allowing students to focus just on emptying liquids from their drink cartons, recycling them, and throwing out the tray.


PS 197 Brooklyn, 2nd place non organics school—42.59% waste diversion
Best Practices: Tackling changes one at a time and showing appreciation

Sustainability Coordinator, Phil Richford, has two strategies for success: implement big changes one at a time and continually thanking everyone involved in making recycling a success. Phil implemented tray stacking in the cafeteria as a first step to reducing waste and increasing sorting. Once students were in the habit of tray stacking, the Green Team focused on making sure students separated recyclables from their landfill waste. It only took a few weeks before each habit was a part of the everyday routine. Now that the habits have been formed, students easily adapt to slight changes in the routine such as stacking the new, round, compostable plates introduced at the end of the school year.

Knowing that none of the school’s recycling success would be possible without the custodial staff, Phil always expresses his gratitude and encourages others to do so. Students made thank you posters for the custodians which are proudly displayed next to school’s Big Lift winner announcement.  In turn, seeing the importance of recycling to the school community, the custodians work patiently with Phil to problem solve any issues that arise.

We are proud of what these schools accomplished on the day of the Big Lift: Zero Waste contest. RCP worked with 90 schools in the 2014-2015 school year, helping them to implement lasting recycling programs. Thank you to all of our schools for your efforts to recycle, for making NYC a greener place for all, and for a great year of partnership!

Union Square Greenmarket hosts Leanne Brown for a Signing of Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day

GrowNYC's Union Square Greenmarket is thrilled to be hosting cookbook author Leanne Brown for a signing of her book Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day on Saturday, July 11 from 11 am to 1 pm. We asked the avid home cook and food-studies scholar what inspired her to write Good and Cheap and what she learned about cooking on a strict $4 a day budget, the average US food stamp budget. Even if you aren't working within a fixed food budget, Leanne's book has delicious, healthy recipes and she shared with us some great tips on how Greenmarket shoppers can get the most bang for their buck.  

Why did you decide to write Good and Cheap?

Good and Cheap started as my thesis project for my Master’s in Food Studies at NYU, and I wanted it to be something that would have a life outside of academia. You know, so that more than my Mom and advisor would read it. I came into the program wanting to spread my love of cooking, and that didn’t diminish with my studies. I have always been infuriated by injustices and I became very interested in the Food Stamps (SNAP) program and was constantly frustrated that the poor don’t seem to have much of a voice in the food movement. 

In short, if you don’t have much money, or you are on Food Stamps, there aren’t many resources to help you do that well. There are non-profits all across the country that are doing great work, but not everyone wants to attend a class or has time to do that. The working poor usually have two jobs and kids and not a lot of time and energy. 22% of children in America live at or below the poverty line! and 44% are classified as living in a low income household. I wanted to create a resource that was empowering, that people could use on their own time and in their own way. So I made Good and Cheap. And since it’s a cookbook for people who can’t afford a cookbook, it made perfect sense to release it online as a free pdf.

Typically, when we see recipes geared toward SNAP recipients or those cooking with limited budgets it seems that they are focused more on the quantity of food each recipe makes rather than the taste or enjoyment of eating what is prepared. In Good and Cheap, that is not the case. What was your inspiration for the recipes that made it into the book and was it challenging to make the recipes so diverse in flavor profiles while staying within the $4 limitation?   

It was challenging, but just required getting into the right mindset. Most foods, even some expensive foods, are affordable some of the time, whether it’s when they’re in season or when they’re on sale. The best thing about cooking is that it is possible to have so many different things with just small changes! It’s like magic. Think about eggs! You can have french style omelettes, spanish style tortillas, bake them in tomato sauce for shakshouka, cover them in chilies, scramble them with rice or noodles. Let alone what can be done when you add sugar to the equation and enter the dessert world. There is so much that CAN be done on $4 a day and while you might eat pb&j some days, other days you can have jambalaya.

You’re absolutely right though. The Good and Cheap perspective is about being careful about the bottom line and focusing on value for money rather than pure quantity. I think that the focus on quantity is a mistake that many budget cookbooks have made. People don’t stop having taste just because they are poor! And no one is going to choose to eat in a way that requires work and planning if it doesn’t have the pay off of tasting great and being satisfying! That’s why I say to buy real butter. It costs a little more than cheap oil, but it adds flavor, and you won’t have to use as much.

What are your top tips for a family that is eating on a very limited budget? Any resources they might find helpful in planning their shopping or meals?

1. Buy foods that can be used in multiple meals. If you love black beans and have 6 recipes that you love that use them, buy ‘em! If you can only think of one way you like them prepared then skip them. For me things I always buy and know I’ll always use are eggs, greens, dried beans and grains, cans of tomatoes and dried pasta. Some will keep forever and I know I’ll use them, and some I eat daily. Figure out what works best for you and your family. 

2. Buy in bulk. It’s just basic economics that buying in larger quantities often means better value. But remember to think about the #1 tip and only buy the stuff you will actually use and enjoy!

3. Start building a pantry slowly. If possible—and admittedly this can be difficult for people living on their own—reserve part of your budget to buy one or two semi-expensive pantry items each week. Things like olive oil, soy sauce, and spices (p. 166) are pricey at first, but if you use just a little with each recipe, they go a long way.
4. Think weekly/monthly and think seasonally. Eating well on a small budget generally means buying just a few things and making a few different things out of them. This can seem monotonous, but if you switch up your staples from week to week and month to month, following the seasons, and eating what is cheap, fresh and delicious you will have a varied and exciting diet!

5. More vegetables means more flavor and variety. Put the vegetables and fruits at the top of your list and prioritize them. Yes they are healthy, but they also make meals worth getting excited over! Who wants to eat a big plate of brown?

6. Don’t buy drinks. Simple as that. Prepared drinks are a waste of money. Water is all you need and if you want something else as a treat many drinks can be easily prepared at home.

Cooking Matters, a program of Share our Stength has all kinds of great advice online for eating well on a budget. Also check out where my friend Lauren is designing an app that will help match your budget with a recipes and a meal plan, all using local market data.

What are some tips for Greenmarket shoppers on how to make the most of their dollars at the market?

My tips for farmers market shopping are very similar to those at a regular grocery store. Buy foods that you can use in multiple meals, and if you don’t have much to spend then focus on buying fruits and vegetables, and items in their most raw state rather than prepared foods, some of which can be quite pricy. Buy the local flour rather than the local bread, and the big bunch of carrots and mustard greens rather than the perfectly picked over blends of exotic greens. Those things are marvelous, but tough to fit into a small budget, and you can make great stuff out of your raw ingredients at home.

Another thing, ask the farmer or stand attendant what the best deal is. Just say that you’re trying to save money or don’t have much to spend and you want to make the most of it. Most of them will give great advice! Remember, the farmers aren’t rich themselves so they will know what they would spend on if they were in your position. Take a chance and be open with them and you’ll probably get great advice. Plus if you go often you can establish a relationship and make sure you’re getting the best deals on the best stuff.

What is up next for you and Good and Cheap? Will you keep putting out new recipes or write additional books?

Well I do plan to write another book, but I’m not sure quite what it’ll be yet. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to talk to so many different people all around the country and I plan to do a lot of listening.

The Good and Cheap project has taken on a life of its own and I want to help shepherd it and expand it. In comparison to the scale I’m currently looking at, the appetite for information on how to use limited funds wisely is almost limitless. I want to share more recipes, I hope that leaders in the food world will join with me to share recipes and tips for people with limited incomes. I want all the non-profits using Good and Cheap in their programs to be connected to each other and benefiting from each others experiences. 

I have a lot of big dreams so we’ll see what happens. I’d love to see Good and Cheap, or something like it, distributed with every EBT card. I’d like to see cooking and food shopping taught in schools and made mandatory. I’d like to see classes of kids cooking and sharing lunch together one day a week. I’d love to start a community-kitchen program, like a cooking library where people can borrow equipment and use the space for whatever they want. These kinds of food business incubators already exist and should be expanded, but I’d like to see the same model for people who want to feed their families or neighbors. The same benefits a food business gets from being able to use the big mixer once a week apply to people who would love to make a big batch of fresh pasta and freeze it.

Anything else you’d like to add for those trying to watch their food budgets or even for just any home cook?

There are so many messages everywhere, from our televisions to our grocery stores, that tell us cooking is hard. But cooking is not innately difficult; it’s just a basic skill that requires practice, and the benefits of that practice are a joyful and delicious life! Compare that with packaged foods, which offer little in the way of immediate pleasure, yet cause your health and wallet to suffer in the long term, not to mention your sense of self-worth. If we can change our national attitude about cooking, we can all be a lot more satisfied with the way we eat—oh, and healthier, too. Just start cooking and don’t be hard on yourself. Let yourself be imperfect and follow your own taste, you’ll get new pleasure out of eating if you just let yourself. 

Download a free copy of the cookbook, Good and Cheap: