Greenmarket 40 for 40

April 26, 2016

A note from GrowNYC Executive Director, Marcel Van Ooyen:

Forty years ago this July, Greenmarket founders Barry Benepe and Bob Lewis organized a small group of farmers to truck their fresh produce into the city and set up shop in an empty parking lot across from the Queensboro Bridge. It was an experiment of sorts; to see if New Yorkers, dwellers of the concrete jungle, would respond positively to buying farm fresh produce from the region in an outdoor market space. When the farmers’ tables were empty within a few hours, it was clear that they had struck a chord with residents.

Since 1976, GrowNYC’s Greenmarket program has transformed city streets into bustling marketplaces where shoppers are able to connect with the land, agriculture, the city and their neighbors in a way that is impossible elsewhere in today’s world of big box stores and food delivery services. The community that is created when a group of farmers pop up tents and fill tables with what was just harvested is one that is cherished by both farmer and shopper alike. Relationships have been built and nourished in these spaces; education beyond what you can find in any classroom has taken place in these spaces; and lives have been forever impacted in these spaces by what started as merely an experiment.

Over the course of the years, we’ve heard so many stories of the myriad ways Greenmarket has affected our farmers, shoppers, chefs, tourists, city dwellers and countless others. In celebration of our 40th season we are chronicling and sharing these stories in what we are calling the “Greenmarket 40 for 40.” These stories are not just about the incredible food you can find at the market, although there will be some of those. These are stories about lives intersecting with one another, paths changing course, communities and businesses being built, and lessons being learned all in the wake of that fateful day in 1976.

Each week, from now until the end of this year, we will be sharing one of these stories with you here on our blog and you can also find them by following GrowNYC on Medium.com. We hope these stories will make you smile, make you laugh or maybe even shed a tear. We also hope these stories will inspire you to donate $40 to GrowNYC as a part of our $40 for 40 campaign so we can continue to bring the community of Greenmarket to New Yorkers for the next 40 years. We have some special vintage themed gifts for those that do.  

5/17/16: The Best City Views Are for the Bees by Gabrielle Langholtz
5/10/16: Poetry Takes Root at the Greenmarket by Stacey Harwood-Lehman
5/3/2016: A Day in the Life of a Greenmarket Manager
4/26/16: Five Lessons Learned from Shopping at the Greenmarket by Chef Peter Hoffman
4/19/16: Health & Wellness for All New Yorkers at the Greenmarket by Women on Wheels
4/12/16: The Birth of Divine Brine by Robert Schaefer 
4/5/16: Final Call for the Earl of Edgecombe: My Last Day at Silver Heights Farm by Lee Houck
3/29/16: 40 Years of Greenmarket: The Rebirth of Farmers Markets in New York City by Marcel Van Ooyen

 

GrowNYC Create Fair at Union Square Greenmarket

April 22, 2016

GrowNYC Create Fair

Friday, May 13

Union Square Greenmarket – north end by the Pavilion

10am – 2pm

Art Contest Winner Ceremony – 12pm

Walk through for loads of fun, hands-on activities including: cooking demos and food samples, take home DIY Seed Planters with something ready to grow, recycling games, nutrition education workshops, and check out the top 10 art contest submissions and watch the winners announcement !

Greenmarket Turns 40: What's in store for the next 40 years?

March 28, 2016
Posted in Greenmarket

On Wednesday, March 23, Greenmarket Director Michael Hurwitz presented at a New York City Food Policy Center discussion on GrowNYC's Greenmarket program celebrating its 40th Anniversary. What began with 12 farmers July 16, 1976, in a parking lot on 59th Street has grown to over 200 farmers/producers in over 50+ Greenmarkets throughout New York City. Here is the transcript from that presentation. 

Some New Yorkers, but not most we find, know that Greenmarket is part of a larger non-profit, GrowNYC, founded 46 years ago by Mayor Lindsay and Marian Heiskell, in order to provide New Yorkers with the skills and opportunities to positively impact the environment and their communities. 

I’m very proud to be part of an organization where our recycling brethren at the Zero Waste Programs funded by NYC Department of Sanitation collected over 6 million lbs of food scraps at our markets over the last 4 years. Where the Grow to Learn program is helping to build a school garden on or near every public school in NYC, offering micro-grants and technical assistance. Where over 5,600 youth will visit the farm on Governors Island operated by our Open Space Greening program and learn about their connection to food and community. 

We do this work in partnership with hundreds of community groups, the NYC Parks Department, Department of Transportation, Department of Sanitation, City Council, Mayor's Office, the Governor's Office, Ag & Markets - the list goes on. And our programs touch millions of New Yorkers lives each year. 

Greenmarket is about to enter our 40th season, celebrating our birthday on July 16. What began with 12 farmers in a lot on 59th street and 2nd Avenue, has grown to 54 market locations throughout the 5 boroughs, over 2500 days annually, and works with 204 Producers from 250 miles to the north, 170 miles east and west, and 120 miles to the south.

Despite our incredible successes over the past 40 years, the challenges that led to our creation still exist today and the need to connect the food dollar to farmers remains as important as ever. We continue to lose farmland at alarming rates in our region and we know that many New Yorkers still have little or no access to regionally grown food. 

Most people when they think about Greenmarket think only about our retail markets. They may not know that we operate the largest food access at farmers’ market program in the country through our Healthy Exchange Program, or that we serve over 6,000 youth annually, including offering a 10 part standards-based curriculum developed in partnership with Columbia University's Teachers College to 600 5th graders in their schools. 

Our Beginning Farmer Program, formerly the New Farmer Development Program, just graduated its 15th year of new and beginning farmers. Of the 11 graduates, 9 will be working on a farm this season. In 2015 the team arranged 17 season-long on farm mentorships and helped start 7 new farms, including one that while only being a ¼ acre is selling directly to 3 restaurants. In the last 4 years of training, over 80 percent of our graduates have come from traditionally socially disadvantaged communities, of which over 60% are women. This statistic is crucial in our achieving our mission, for we are uniquely positioned to place our graduates in thriving markets. Therefore we are able to support these new businesses while ensuring the diversity of communities in which we are located have access to culturally traditional foods and can purchase from farmers with shared or common histories. Fifty percent of the farmers that sell at Greenmarket have done so for less than 12 years, and we have an incredible group of growers that truly are our future. And for those growers we also offer a zero interest loan through Kiva Zip where we put in the first 30% of any loan up to $10,000. The first 4 loans were funded within 5 days and donors from 4 continents. 

That said, 40% of our farmers will retire in the next 15 years and of those, 40% have no identified successor. To address this, 5 years ago we expanded our NFDP and created FARMroots, which offers business and succession planning support and works to bridge our aspiring and retiring farmers. FARMroots also provides ongoing technical and marketing support for any grower in our program, and we offer a 25/75 percent cost sharing mechanism for outside consultants supporting our farmers legal and business needs. FARMroots also helps our grower community navigate the systems in which they interact, from advising on FSMA, assisting with grant writing and other income opportunities, creating market channel assessments, and in times of crises, such as post storm or in the event of crop failure, identifying and securing resources to support the impacted farms. 

Recognizing that direct farm sales account for 2% of food purchases on the best day, and that farmers’ markets are just one of many models to address farmer decline and food access, in 2012 we celebrated the birth of Greenmarket Co., our wholesale distribution arm. Now housed in a 5000’ warehouse on Cassanova Street in Hunts Point, Co. is the confluence of the wholesale farmers market, our Youthmarket and food box programs, and distributes over 2 million pounds of food annually throughout the 5 boroughs, all while paying farmers prices that are set mutually, not by commodities traders. Our model furthers the Greenmarket mission, we help farms scaled for wholesale remain viable by ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to their products. 65% percent of the food we deliver goes to underserved communities, and as we break up pallets and not cases, Gramercy Tavern gets the identical products as the Queensbridge Food Box. 

The establishment of Greenmarket Co. has allowed our Youthmarket program to expand to 16 sites, and our Fresh Food Box, one the most affordable options for food in the City, now operates in 24 locations. Our team has worked with the City’s Procurement department to discuss innovative ways to structure bids to allow for more regional products. Greenmarket Co. also serves as a capacity builder to other organizations: to date, we have helped more than 40 CBO’s facilitate their own food access and nutrition programming and over the next 2 years, we'll be training additional organizations to operate their own collaborative buying programs. It is our dream to expand our infrastructural capacity and hope to break ground on the Regional Food Hub this season. 



We’ve been busy growing our programs, and yet the focus of Greenmarket remains and will always be our retail markets. 204 farmers’ businesses rely on those markets for survival, and millions of New Yorkers depend on them weekly to shop for food, meet their neighbors, discover some new ingredient, and to take a break from the monotony of city life. Our markets remain the most dynamic, diverse and robust places to buy food in New York City. 

Our 40 years demonstrate that we are not a trend; for food has been sold in public spaces for thousands of years. And they are a testament to the farmers that work 20 hour days, 6-7 days every week, travel thousands of miles annually, and are willing to brave the outdoors, in all weather, year after year. And those farmers are at the market, engaging the communities that sustain them and who are raising their children and grandchildren on those farmers’ products. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood with Fred Wilklow at Brooklyn Borough Hall and a shopper will stop by and introduce him to their child. Meanwhile Fred knew that parent as a 2 year-old. 



Our markets are truly centers of community activity. We want everyone to smell and taste their way through; for community groups to set up and let folks know what else is happening in the neighborhood and how they can get involved. And they create economic opportunities for local businesses, including the informal tamale maker that walks through the market or sets up across the street. We’re currently engaged in a 2 year study with Cornell evaluating the economic and social impacts of downstate markets on the rural communities in which participating farms operate.

Our markets are places where farmers can test new products or varieties; the ugly food trend now popping up is what we call normal every day produce.  Our collective job as farmers and staff is to educate the consumer on what those varieties are, how to prepare them, preserve them, make stock from the bones- I was terrified of celeriac until I tasted then manager Lela Chapman’s cooking demo on the corner of 57th street and 9th Avenue in 2007. 

The perfect example of the power of our markets is the work of the Greenmarket Regional Grains Project. For years we heard from our farmers and consumers that our baked goods did not showcase regional agriculture and live up to the expectations of Greenmarket. In 2008, led by June Russell, we spent 2 years working with our FCAC and baker community to enact a rule that required all bakers use 15% local flour, and instituted a point system for eligibility, that also required local eggs, sweeteners, fats, flavoring, and incentivized fair trade and other items. Today our bakers average over 40% local grain; but the project has grown into something much larger. Greenmarket staff now operates a bi-weekly grain stand, where we aggregate products from 19 producers, all too small for an individual stand to be economically viable, and we play 4 crucial roles. 1. We educate consumers about heritage and rare grain varieties, thus generating demand for the products; 2. We are creating the efficiencies for these producers and their distributors to access to the New York City marketplace, which we define beyond the borders of our markets; 3 generating crucial income to those grain growers, who know currently they can make more money with an acre of gmo corn that red fife; and in doing so are encouraging more farmers to plant these varieties on their farms, which leads to healthier soils, increased revenue, and more beer and booze for you and me. We are not just some marketplace that moves food; we are a mission driven non-profit that creates viable spaces to support farms and build community. 

In the last ten years there has been an enormous rise in demand for local products- and we celebrate that and pridefully take some credit for it.  We simply want to ensure that the other and new providers also place the grower and the community benefits equally to their own. We’ve witnessed the rise in Faux-cal- fake local; we know that some new delivery companies went out of business leaving the farmers in compromised positions. But it is in all of our collective interests to see the growth of regional agriculture, and we will support any effort that does so responsibly.  
 
In this our 40th season we look forward to the opening of Project Farmhouse, our first ever permanent home where we can enhance our educational programming and offer meeting and training space to other nonprofits engaged in sustainability. We will continue to help develop new farmers, support existing ones, and strive to make our markets better every day. What’s amazing is that even after 40 years we still have so much to learn and work to do. On July 16th, 1976, I don’t think Barry and Bob had any idea that the Grains project would exist. But they believed in a concept and laid an incredible foundation that allowed for so much good work to happen and evolve. 

Grow Your Garden with EBT

March 24, 2016

Spring is here and it's time to start getting your backyard and window sill gardens planted! Greenmarket producers offer a variety of plant starts for a small window herb garden or more extensive gardens of fruits and vegetables. Shoppers using their EBT cards are also able to purchase any seeds or plants that produce food. Growing your own food is a great way to have fresh produce on hand even when you can't make it to a Greenmarket. Here are five more reasons why you should grow your own produce:

5 Reasons to Grow Your Own Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs

1.  Improve Your Health
Homegrown vegetables, fruits and herbs are more nutritious than store-bought ones—the less time that passes between harvesting produce and eating it, the fewer nutrients lost. Fresher taste better too!

2.  Know Your Food
The best way to gain control over where your food comes from is to grow it yourself. Growing your own food ensures that your vegetables, fruits and herbs are not exposed to the harmful pesticides or chemical fertilizers that are often used on industrial farms.

3.  Save Money
Growing your food can save you money. Gardens require minimal start-up equipment, and each plant can yield many vegetables and fruits. Compared to the cost of the seeds or seedling, vegetable, fruit, and herb plants are a great bargain.

4.  Teach Your Kids
A great way to teach children about where food comes from or how it’s grown is to show them firsthand. And, you can incorporate science, math, nutrition, and even history lessons—all while playing in the dirt.

5.  Have Fun
Growing food is fun! Watching a seedling transform into an edible plant, nurtured by the sun and your work, is incredibly satisfying. In a time when many of us spend hours in front of a computer every day, the chance to get your hands dirty can be a welcome and fun hobby.

Calling All Artists: GrowNYC Contest

March 22, 2016

Tell Our Story

We are looking for artists to channel their inner environmentalist and create a two-dimensional work of art inspired by GrowNYC's work in NYC: think Greenmarkets, gardens, recycling, compost, habitat, ecosystems and more. 

We'll put your work up for a public vote and present the top ten at our Union Square Greenmarket this May. 3 lucky winners will win prizes!

Enter

Starting March 21, submit your artwork via the linked form below in the following formats: BMP, JPG, PDF, PNG, PSD, TIF. Files should be no larger than 25 MB. Online submissions only. The submission deadline is 12 midnight on April 18. See Rules Here.

*Please note submission does not guarantee entry in the public voting stage of the contest. 

To Enter Click Here

 

Prizes!

First Place: A gourmet four-course Lunch and wine pairing for two at Gotham Bar and Grill + a $100 gift card to Blick Artist Supply + GrowNYC Prize Pack + and your signed artwork or design printed and walking around NYC on limited edition GrowNYC swag + your artwork on display at a one-day GrowNYC event at Union Square Greenmarket in May 2016

Second Place: A $100 gift card to Blick Artist Supply + GrowNYC prize pack +your artwork on display at a one-day GrowNYC event at Union Square Greenmarket in May 2016

Third Place: A $100 gift card to Blick Artist Supply + your artwork on display at a one-day GrowNYC event at Union Square Greenmarket in May 2016

Top 10: Your artwork featured on our voting page and at a one-day GrowNYC event atUnion Square Greenmarket in May 2

New Voices to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!

March 3, 2016

The Recycling Champions Program is singing praises to MS 443K New Voices School of Academic & Creative Arts students. The New Voices Green Team hosted a recycling and compost assembly program as part of their 1st organics collection and recycling program in the cafeteria. Later that day all 537 students created only 2 small bags of trash during lunch; everything else was recycled and composted!

Created by the NV Green Team students and Amy Musick, Chorus Teacher and Sustainability Coordinator, thier lively presentation incorporated video, music and live performance. And the results speak for themselves!

Cafeteria Composting/Recycling start date: 2/26/2016
BEFORE: 7 Mixed Trash Cans distributed throughout the cafeteria
AFTER: Compost/Bucket/Tray Stacker Station, plus a Green Bin/Blue Bin

Be a Greenmarket Market Manager!

February 20, 2016

Greenmarket is currently hiring seasonal market managers to manage our 53 Greenmarkets throughout the five boroughs. Click here for the job description, and read below for a first hand account of managing a Greenmarket from former Market Manager, Kathleen Crosby. 

From the streets of New York, our market manager Kathleen Crosby reports back on a typical day in the life managing the Tompkins Square Greenmarket, which has been transforming a corner of the East Village into a neighborhood center of sustainability every Sunday since 1997.

4:45 a.m.: Alarm goes off. I decide not to hit the snooze button this morning, and disable two other back-up alarms. I make a strong cup of tea and breakfast: Ronnybrook maple yogurt with peaches, bee pollen, chia seeds, and grape nuts.

5:25 a.m.: Carry bike downstairs and head off. It is not light out yet and the Brooklyn roads are empty.

6:05 a.m.: I arrive at the market site, before any of the farmers. Humidity is at about 80% and Tompkins is smelling RIPE.

6:50 a.m.: The first producer of the day, Red Jacket Orchards, arrives at market.

7:20 a.m.: I set up the market info table and tent. The Greenmarket van is filled to the BRIM today with equipment. A 40 pound kettle ball falls out as I open the back door, then work to cram my 10x10 ft. tent into a 7 ft. space between a tree and sign post. Decide on which recipes to display and put out our many pamphlets and handouts. Today we’re featuring tomatoes, so I go grab a bunch of heirlooms for a display.

7:50 a.m.: Harry arrives on the scene. Harry is a long time resident of E. 7th St. and knows all the best spots in the East Village. He usually wears a hat that says "stud" but not today. I'm thinking I should get him a little button that says "Honorary Mayor of Tompkins Square." Each week, Harry helps Jimmy Stannard of Stannard Farms set up and break down, gives breaks to workers throughout the day, and greets people he knows well by howling like a wolf. His friend "Red" walks by. He howls and she howls right back.

9:00 a.m.: Plaster farmers' stands with signage promoting EBT, Health Bucks, frequent shopper promotion signs, plus signs about our upcoming Salsa-off event.

9:15 a.m.: Pam from Ronnybrook feeds me ice cream (it's a tradition we have). Today's flavor is stracciatella.

9:30 a.m.: Do the market report. Today, all the farmers have complied with the rules: on time, farm sign out, price signs out, product labels on honey, meat, eggs, etc; tents weighted down, boxes of produce not sitting directly on the ground, meat, eggs and dairy chilled. Everything is in order. While at Norwich Meadow's stand, one of the Tibetan workers hands me a hot samosa.

10:00 a.m.: Quetsy from Meredith's Bakery needs a bathroom break. I sell a few scones and gluten-free loaves of bread.

10:15 a.m.: Now to work on my a-frame sign. First the letters are too big. Erase. Then too small. Erase. A regular comes up and talks to me for 20 minutes about the history of the East Village. How it has changed!

10:30 a.m.: Finish setting up the info table. Grab some peppers and tomatoes to decorate my stand with. Swiping EBT & Debit/Credit cards and giving out tokens and health bucks. Checking off frequent shopper cards. Try to get more people to sign up for the Salsa-off.

10:45 a.m.: Pam literally spoon-feeds me some of her second batch of ice cream, strawberry this time.

11:15 a.m.: A couple of neighborhood residents who are trying to start a CSA next week approach me about fruit. I introduce him to Jimmy Stannard and they work out prices.

11:30 a.m.: Go pick up some ingredients for the cooking demo. Since we're featuring tomatoes, I grab some ripe juicy ones, a few ears of yellow corn, a bag of okra, and some hot and sweet peppers. All donated by the farmers. Arielle, my helper, chops away. I run to the local Chinese take-out join to pick up a quart of rice to serve the dish. We'll call it...a summer stew.

12:00 p.m.: Do a little social media. Walk around and see what looks good. The sun is hitting Norwich Meadow's beautiful tomatoes just right. Post to instagram, check. Post to twitter, check. Post to facebook, check.

12:30 - 2:00 p.m.: Hand out samples into tiny cups until it's all gone. I think we have some okra converts. The key is slice it thin and toss it in the pan for a few seconds at the very end. Man is it getting hot.

2:10 p.m.: Samples are gone. Now we get to lunch. I'm having some zucchini pasta ribbons with basil, almonds and pecorino.

2:45 p.m.: Harry comes over with an idea. He thinks we should put together a little box of goodies from the market and give it to the owner of the Odessa restaurants across the street. The Odessa Cafe and uber dive-y Odessa Bar have long been fixtures of the EV, but unfortunately Odessa Bar had to close its doors a few days ago. The people at Odessa Cafe have been good to the market over the years letting us use their bathroom and serving up cheap iced coffees. I grab a crate from Jimmy and fill it up with an assortment of produce, bread, pie, and juice from all the vendors. Harry escorts me over and introduces me to the owner. He apparently doesn't come to the restaurant often, so I'm glad to have the opportunity to thank him. He happily accepts.

3:30 p.m.: An indie film location scout approaches us about using farmers' stands in a scene they're shooting in Tompkins Square park.

4:00 p.m.: Look at the salsa-off list and 3 more people have signed up!

4:30 p.m.: Haifa from Norwich Meadows finds out that I don't really eat meat. "You'll have an amino acid deficiency when you get older!" she exclaims, and thrusts some chicken into my hands.

4:45 p.m.: City Harvest arrives on the scene. They double park on 7th. I meet this week’s volunteer and give them some bags to collect unsold produce from farmers to donate to pantries.

5:05 p.m.: The first of Toigo's three trucks arrives from Carroll Gardens, soon followed by their second, much larger truck from Stuytown. Pura Vida packs up a little late, so these two trucks are double parked on 7th. I move my van and Acevedo's small truck so I can fit the smaller Toigo truck in.

5:15 p.m.: Pura Vida leaves but Toigo's big truck can't make that wide turn from 7th onto Ave A because of the City Harvest truck that is still double parked. I ask the CH driver if he can kindly go around the block to let Toigo through. He's cool about it.

5:20 p.m.: All the farmers have packed up for the day except for Meredith's, so now it's my turn. Play van-tetris for a half-hour getting all of the weights, tables, tents, bins, a-frames, racks, and banners in order.

5:50 p.m.: Forgot about the a-frame I have on 1st Ave. Run over and pick it up.

6:00 p.m.: Get a few bags of peaches, plums, and nectarines from Toigo, who are usually the last to leave.

6:10 p.m.: Say my goodbyes and start packing my backpack and bike panniers. Got too much stuff again, have to bungee some squash and peppers on the top of my bike rack.

6:15 p.m.: DANG! Somehow a peach got into my bag of EBT supplies and smashed right up against the keys of my terminal. Classic!

Environmental Ambassadors at NYCHA

February 12, 2016
Posted in Recycling | Tagged recycle, volunteer, NYCHA, recycling



Over the past year, an exciting thing has been happening: recycling is rolling out at NYCHA developments citywide.  As a partner in community engagement, GrowNYC has provided recycling education at workshops and events, aiming to change the way more than 400,000 New Yorkers take out the trash. 

This winter, GrowNYC is launching a new volunteer program for NYCHA residents who want to see this program succeed.  Through our Environmental Ambassadors program, we will train volunteers to educate neighbors about recycling at their developments.  After completing two, 2-hour workshops, Environmental Ambassadors conduct 12 hours of local outreach to encourage participation in the NYCHA Recycles! Program.  Volunteer benefits include field trips, gear, gift bags and a certificate of service signed by the DNSY commissioner and a NYCHA executive. 

Live at NYCHA and want to make a positive change where you live?  Learn more and register today!

GrowNYC's zero waste programs funded by the NYC Department of Sanitation. 

Greenmarket Winter Schedule Changes

February 12, 2016
Posted in Greenmarket

Inclement weather in the city or in the greater region does affect markets;  markets may close early, or snow-bound farmers may not be able to make it into the city.

There are no weather related updates at this time. 

Get real-time, up-to-date information here: 
Union Square Daily List of Producers in Attendance 
Manhattan Greenmarkets Facebook
Queens Greenmarkets Facebook
Brooklyn Greenmarkets Facebook 
Staten Island Greenmarkets Facebook

 

GrowNYC Builds 7 new gardens in 2015!

December 17, 2015
Posted in Community Gardens

GrowNYC's garden program had an eventul 2015, full of new gardens, rejuvenations of existing spaces, and several innovative garden projects that help make New York a greener city.

We built 7 new community gardens this year, giving the city 80,000 square feet of new open space.  These new gardens include:

Additionally, our garden program did major rejuvenation projects on 7 community gardens and 1 school gardens, totaling 72,000 square feet of existing green space that was transformed.  All of this work is done alongside great partners, including GreenThumb, 596 Acres, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, FDNY, and New York Botanical Garden's Bronx Green Up.  

Throughout 2015, GrowNYC built 12 new green infrastructure elements in gardens, including:

  • 10 new rainwater harvesting systems, in Crotona Park East (BX) East Harlem (MN), Governors Island, Greenpoint (BK), Mott Haven (BX), and Park Slope (BK).
  • 1 new bioswale, in East Harlem.
  • A new aquaponic shipping container at an urban farm in Far Rockaway.

GrowNYC completed our second year of programming at Governors Island Teaching Garden, an urban farm that provides free educational programming for public schools students and summer camp groups from March to November, as well as holds open hours for the general public on weekends during the general Governors Island open season.  

We made some great additions to our farm space in 2015, including a high tunnel greenhouse, a solar oven, a rain garden, and several rainwater harvesting systems.

This year's Governors Island Teaching Garden programming included:

  • Working with more than 2,500 kids from more than 60 school groups
  • Interacting with more than 5,000 visitors from the general public during weekend open hours.

This fall, GrowNYC helped build T5 Farm at JetBlue's Terminal 5 at JFK Airport.  The 24,000 square foot farm features more than 4,000 recycled milk crates growing blue potatoes - the same variety that TERRA gives away on JetBlue flights - as well as other herbs and vegetables.  T5 Farm was created in collaboration with GrowNYC Partners, a consultancy arm of GrowNYC that returns profits to the mission-based activities of GrowNYC - like the 7 new gardens we built this year.

We also continued our efforts to bring community gardening to affordable housing developments.  2015 marked our fourth year of working at Via Verde, where a 5,000 square foot rooftop garden is enjoyed by the building's residents.  GrowNYC also ran seasonal workshops about gardening, healthy eating, and much more.

In Long Island City, GrowNYC helped to design a 2,300 square foot rooftop farm on top of Queens' newest affordable housing complex, Hunter's Point South. The farm features 13 oversized raised beds and a beehive, and will also host a GrowNYC-run Fresh Food Box for building residents.

We'll be back working at T5 Farm, Via Verde, and Hunter's Point South in 2016, working to continue bringing innovative programming to each one.  We can't wait!

 

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