Greetings from the President and CEO

Image Executive Director


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 livable 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 in hands-on environmental education that gets them outside planting, meeting the farmer and more

• 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!

Feel free to drop me a line at

See you outside!

Marcel Van Ooyen
President and CEO

About Marcel

Marcel Van Ooyen is the President and CEO of GrowNYC and former Legislative Director for the New York City Council.

Mr. Van Ooyen took leadership of GrowNYC in 2006 and under his leadership, GrowNYC has vastly expanded its efforts with new initiatives including: Fresh Food Box - a weekly affordable food mix for low-income residents, teen run farm stands in underserved communities, and NYC’s first all local food hub: Greenmarket Co. GrowNYC’s Food Stamp in the Farmers’ Market initiative is considered a National model, with $1,000,000 in SNAP sales in 2013. Marcel has also spearheaded the development of new programs in response to needs in our city, including Grow to Learn NYC: Citywide School Gardens Initiative, a public public-private partnership with the Mayor’s Office created to inspire, promote and facilitate the creation of sustainable school gardens in every New York City public school.  

Marcel earned his degree at the University of California Irvine and has his JD from Seattle University School of Law. He is the former Legislative Director for the New York City Council, where he wrote and ensured the adoption of more than 30 environmental laws.

It's farmers market season in New York City! View our full schedule of seasonal Greenmarkets and Farmstands opening soon. 

  • Food Access & Agriculture

    Our network of Greenmarket farmers markets, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box sites, coupled with GrowNYC Wholesale, ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food.

  • Zero Waste

    We provide food scrap drop-offs, clothing collections, Stop 'N' Swap® community reuse events, and zero waste trainings to make resource conservation easy for all.

  • Green Space

    We build and rejuvenate community gardens and urban farms in all 5 boroughs, and support even more gardens through volunteer days, technical assistance, school garden grants, & more.

  • Education

    We foster future environmental stewards by providing 66,000 children each year with programs that provide meaningful interactions with the natural environment.