At GrowNYC, we believe great cities are made better when all citizens live healthy, enriching, fulfilling lives. We have dedicated ourselves to improving New York City since 1970. From our early days of litter, noise and pollution reduction, to our current day efforts around recycling, composting, community gardens, local farming, and access to healthy food, our desire to make NYC a truly green city persists.
We pair education and opportunity so New Yorkers can learn about environmental actions that lessen our negative impact on an already overburdened planet––and then help them take advantage of all that GrowNYC offers to make sustainable choices. Buying local at the Greenmarket. Starting a new garden. Dropping food scraps for composting. Actions that help New Yorkers and our great city to thrive.
Specifically, we are rolling up our sleeves to help all New Yorkers thrive by...
• operating farmers’ markets where we connect New Yorkers with the best our region grows
• engaging youth and aduiltd in hands-on environmental education
• building new community and school gardens and assisting hundreds of existing ones
• doing direct outreach to increase recycling and reduce waste as much as possible
These efforts are possible only with your partnership. Thank you for your support of GrowNYC. Explore our site, sign up for our newsletter, follow us on social media, come out and volunteer, contribute what you can, and most importantly, participate!
See you outside!
Marcel Van Ooyen
President and CEO
Marcel Van Ooyen is the president and CEO of GrowNYC, a renowned environmental nonprofit founded in 1970 and based in New York City.
Since taking leadership in 2006, Van Ooyen has substantially expanded GrowNYC’s programs and services, establishing ways for all New Yorkers to elevate their city and the environment.
During Marcel Van Ooyen’s tenure, GrowNYC has built and expanded several environmental programs including establishing a national model for operating SNAP/EBT at farmers markets, a program that today redeems over $4.3 million in annual SNAP sales across 66 GrowNYC sites. He worked with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to create Health Bucks, the nation's first at-market SNAP incentive program and the first at market OTC redemption program with private health care providers.
Van Ooyen’s strong commitment to providing equitable fresh, nutritious, and local food to all neighborhoods of the City led to the creation of GrowNYC’s Food Box and Farmstand programs. He also championed the expansion of GrowNYC’s Food Hub, New York City’s first and only food hub dedicated to supporting regional food producers. Opening in 2024, GrowNYC’s new state of the art 60,000 square-foot hub facility will dramatically increase capacity to continue to benefit local farmers and underserved New Yorkers.
Broadening green space and education access throughout New York City, Van Ooyen has developed new gardening and educational programs at GrowNYC, including a citywide school gardens initiative. The program supports a network of 900+ schools, nearing its goal to inspire, promote, and facilitate the creation of sustainable school gardens in every New York City public schools, as well as a one and half acre Teaching Garden on Governors Island that any school can visit and learn from. Under his leadership, GrowNYC piloted NYC's first large scale community composting program which set the stage for the Department of Sanitation to adopt a mandatory citywide curbside composting program.
Marcel Van Ooyen earned a degree in Social Ecology from the University of California Irvine before attending the Seattle University School of Law, specializing in Environmental Law. As Legislative Director for the City Council, he wrote and ensured the adoption of more than 30 environmental laws, including the city’s landmark green buildings legislation, lead bill, clean air codes, environmental purchasing laws, and many more. Marcel lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two sons, in walking distance to GrowNYC’s Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket.