Here for the Long Run Campaign: GrowNYC Needs Your Support

October 21, 2020
Posted in GrowNYC

For the last 50 years, we have believed that everyone can make a positive impact and that collective action is necessary to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

We have worked nonstop throughout this challenging year to:

  • Provide fresh, healthy food choices to New Yorkers in every borough, quickly implementing strict safety protocols that served as a model for farmers markets across the country
  • Launch a free emergency food box program for communities facing food insecurity exacerbated by the pandemic
  • Grow and donate more than 12,500 lbs. of produce (and counting) from our Teaching Garden at Governors Island to neighborhood groups distributing food to their communities
  • Create free digital educational programming and resources for all ages on a brand new distance learning site
  • Build and restore community gardens that provide a place for respite and where neighbors can grow their own food

GrowNYC is facing unprecedented challenges and we need your financial support to keep basic programs going: community gardens, food access sites, composting and environmental education.

Give $50 or more by December 31, 2020 to enter to win 2 JetBlue round trip travel certificates.

DONATE NOW

Rye Week 2020

October 16, 2020
Posted in Greenmarket

GrowNYC is proud to participate in Rye Week, a yearly celebration of rye as an agricultural product in New York State, which will take place from October 17 – 25.

Throughout Rye Week, Greenmarkets across the city will also host a number of craft distilleries selling rye-based spirits and Empire Rye. Five years ago, six prominent New York State distilleries came up with the concept for Empire Rye, a whiskey style for the Empire State. Similar to the way Kentucky has a style of bourbon with strict standards, each Empire Rye distiller must adhere to the same specifications in producing their rye. 

“Not only does New York State’s craft beverage program create jobs, boost local economies, and financially benefit local grain farmers,” says GrowNYC President and CEO Marcel Van Ooyen, “it’s also great for the environment. Small grains are good for the soil when used in rotation with other crops. As the demand for grains like rye increases, so does the health of the soil on New York farms.”

RYE WEEK CRAFT DISTILLERY SCHEDULE

Saturday, October 17: Union Square Greenmarket - New York Distilling Co.
Saturday, October  17: McCarren Park Greenmarket - New York Distilling Co.
Sunday, October 18: Jackson Heights - Standard Wormwood
Wednesday, October 21: Union Square - New York Distilling Co.
Saturday, October 24: Union Square - Van Brunt Stillhouse
Sunday, October 25: 79th Street Greenmarket - Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery
Sunday, October 25: Columbia University Greenmarket -Tuthilltown Spirits

 

GrowNYC's Food, Waste, and Climate Virtual Workshop Series: Part One 10/16

October 14, 2020

GrowNYC's Food, Waste, and Climate Virtual Workshop Series: Part One 10/16

Celebrate World Food Day with us this Friday, October 16, by learning what you can do to support a sustainable food system. We'll explore what makes a food system sustainable and why it is so important for our own food security and the health of our planet.

This virtual workshop is the first in GrowNYC's Food, Waste, and Climate series.  Here's the link to register.

How we grow, distribute, and dispose of our food has an impact on the health of the planet. GrowNYC's Food, Waste and Climate is a three-part series that explores the intersection of food and waste with the fight against the climate crisis.

This series is recommended for middle and high school students and educators. Participants who register as a teacher will be provided access to a google classroom with additional extension materials, discussion questions, and an exit slip that can be shared with students.

Can't make the scheduled times? Choose a time and register for the Recording and Google Classroom ticket and we will send the materials to you the week following the event. (No need to register for both if you are attending the live virtual event as all participants will receive follow up materials.)

Here's a link to more information about the series.

GrowNYC COVID-19 Response

July 27, 2020
Posted in GrowNYC

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit New York City, GrowNYC has responded swiftly to the needs of our community.

Deemed essential businesses, we quickly reconfigured our 80+ food access sites to keep them open and safe for shoppers, producers, and staff. ​We are working with community partners to deliver free Fresh Food Boxes to low income New Yorkers who are undocumented, unemployed, or struggling in high need neighborhoods. Additionally, we have been building out distance learning resources to continue to support educators and the general public as learning spaces move remote.

For 50 years now, GrowNYC has been a resource for all New Yorkers who want to improve quality of life and protect the environment. You can continue to rely on us for access to fresh food, education, green spaces and more.

Thank you for your support and stay safe.
Marcel Van Ooyen

GrowNYC Greenmarkets, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box Sites Map and Schedule

GrowNYC's 80+ open-air Greenmarket locations, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box locations are crucial to the 250 regional farmers and producers who sell through them, as well as to the hundreds of thousands of New York City residents who rely on the them as an essential source of fresh, healthy food.  Eighty-five percent of our farms report that they would not be in business if not for the ability to sell directly to New York City shoppers.

As always, SNAP/EBT is accepted at all GrowNYC Greenmarkets, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box locations. 

*Some Food Scrap Drop-off Sites are re-opening. See our Compost Program page for updates.

*Clothing collections at Greenmarkets are closed until further notice. To schedule a pick-up of textiles for a fee, please contact Wearable Collections

Farmers Markets are Essential Businesses

Farmers markets are open as essential retail busineses while New York State is on P.A.U.S.E. 

GrowNYC Schedule Updates 

View real-time updates on market closures and GrowNYC program schedule changes, and follow us on social media.

GrowNYC Greenmarket Alternative Sales Directory

Many Greenmarket producers are offering a variety of ways to purchase their products, from allowing customers to pre-order and pick up at a market, to direct home delivery and shipping products from their online stores.

All of that information is available in one place at GrowNYC Greenmarket Alternative Sales Directory

COVID Guidelines - Market Safety for Shoppers 

We encourage you to please adhere to the following safety protocols to protect yourselves, your fellow shoppers, and our Producers and their employees. 

  • Wear a face covering inside the market space
  • Maintain a 6' distance between yourself, Greenmarket staff, farm stand employees, and other customers
  • Try to keep your market shopping trip as quick as possible
  • Do not bring your dogs or bikes into the market space
  • Limit your party to 1-2 people and split up to finish shopping quickly
  • If you are sick, stay home
  • Some farms allow customers to handle products and some do not, noted by signage at each stand. If it is a stand with a 'no handling' sign, please do not pick up any products or produce, ask an employee to help you
  • If you sneeze or cough, do so only into a tissue (and immediately dispose of it) or into the crease of your elbow
  • Thoroughly wash your hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds
  • If hand washing is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Wash all produce thoroughly before using it
  • Regularly wash your reusable produce bags
  • Be patient, and kind--we're all in this together 

COVID Guidelines - Market Safety for Producers and Market Managers

We are, and have been since the beginning of COVID-19, in constant contact with city health officials, and we continue to follow their guidance. 

Most of our markets are currently operating, though for safety reasons and in consultation with health officials and other market operators, we have implemented the following best practices: 

  • Dramatically increasing the footprint of our markets to allow for shoppers to be be able to a maintain a healthy physical distance between each other
  • Adding additional chalk//tape lines to keep shoppers at least six feet apart
  • Requiring all market shoppers, staff, and Producers to wear a face covering
  • Assigning additional GrowNYC staff on the ground to regulate customer flow and ensure physical distancing
  • Separating farm stand spaces to reduce congestion
  • There is no sampling of products at markets until further notice
  • All farm stands must use vinyl or plastic table covers for easy sanitizing
  • All producers need to be sanitizing their stands regularly, primarily wiping down tables, terminals, cash boxes, etc.
  • Reminder notices to farmers about proper food handling will be provided
  • All GrowNYC staff and Producers must stay home if they are sick
  • We will provide additional hand sanitizers at our market manager stations

Emergency Food Resources

Information about free meals, food pantries, SNAP enrollment, cash assistance, Medicaid, and food delivery assistance available here.

Additionally, GrowNYC is working with community partners to deliver free Fresh Food Boxes to low income New Yorkers who are undocumented, unemployed, or struggling in high need neighborhoods.

Distance Learning Activities and Resources

Due to school closure and social distancing measures, our Education Programs are currently not operating our Zero Waste and Food & Nutrition programs in schools, School Garden workshops and giveaways, Greenmarket tours or Teaching Garden field trips. In the meantime, we've developed a Distance Learning resource page for educators, families, and students of all ages, including our Virtual Teaching Garden, where you can keep up with planting and projects at our Teaching Garden at Governors Island and explore related activities you can do at home.

Recent Press

Bklyner, Food Carts and Trucks Struggle While Farmers Markets Soldier On Under Coronavirus Conditions
Bloomberg, Farmers Markets are a Lifeline to Growers Hurt by Coronavirus 
Boston GlobeCoronavirus Should Shift Our Focus to a More Locally Sourced Food Supply
Brookings Institute, Farmers Markets are Vital During COVID-19, but They Need More Support
CBS New York, Coronavirus Update: NYC Farmers Markets Open With New Safety Guidelines
Eater, NYC’s Farmers Market Can Be a Calming Oasis of Socially Distanced Grocery Shopping
Food & Wine, How to Shop Safely at the Farmer's Market During the Coronavirus Pandemic​
GoopUnion Square Greenmarket
NBCFood Sellers Enforce Social Distancing to Protect Shoppers
NY1How Food Markets Adapt Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic
Pix 11How to Keep Social Distancing at Farmer's Markets
Secret New YorkMost NYC Greenmarkets are Still Open, Here are Their Rules for Shopping Safely
Staten Island AdvanceStaten Island Greenmarkets to Remain Open with Precautions in Place
TelemundoMercados al Aire Libre en NYC Siguen Ofreciendo Servicio Pese a Cuarentena
The New York Times, Why Outdoor Farmers' Markets Matter More Than Ever
Time Out New YorkNYC Farmers Markets Stay Open with Strict New Social Distancing Protocols

GrowNYC Needs Your Support 

For nearly 50 years, GrowNYC has made it easy for New Yorkers to take everyday actions that benefit the environment. Serving over 3 million New Yorkers every year, our programs encourage all citizens to lead mindful lives, like eating seasonally and locally, conserving resources, and preserving green space. Please consider a donation of any amount, we need your support now more than ever. 

GrowNYC Cooks with Chef David Stample

July 26, 2020
Posted in Greenmarket

Join Chef David Stample for a FREE virtual Happy Hour and farmers market cooking class.

Thursday, October 15: Market snacks with Chef David and seasonal cocktail with Joana Herrera of Mariachi Mexico 

Thursday, October 22: Market snacks with Chef David and seasonal cocktail with Claire Sprouse of Hunky Dory 

GrowNYC Cooks provides a fun, interactive, and informative guided cooking experience right in your own kitchen. All skill levels welcome!

Ingredient lists are provided ahead of time to prepare the meal together during the class. Throughout the 1.5 hour class, held via Zoom on your computer, tablet, or mobile device, you will have the opportunity to ask cooking questions via video or chat.

Get your Mis En Place and let’s get cooking!

Sign up here

 

School is closed, but gardens are growing

June 30, 2020

In a moment where New Yorkers have turned to parks and gardening to ease the mental and emotional strain the Covid-19 pandemic has taken on residents, when the need for education surrounding nutrition and health couldn’t be more critical, the same nonprofits that make green space and nutrition education possible are in danger of going under, while vital city agencies like the New York City Parks Department’s GreenThumb program are facing severe budget cuts.

To date, GrowNYC School Gardens’ program has helped create 824 school gardens, the most in the nation, with a goal of having every New York City school have a garden of its own.

Following the Great Recession in 2010, the School Garden program was founded in partnership with GrowNYC, GreenThumb, and the Department of Education to create sustainable learning gardens in public schools. Since inception, the program has led over 400 free gardening workshops, hosted annual giveaways for seeds, soil, plants, lumber, and tools, and funded 650 yearly mini grants to make school gardens accessible.

The gardens come in a range of shapes and sizes. From pollinator gardens in outdoor raised beds to indoor hydroponics labs producing 25,000 pounds of greens, all share the goals of connecting kids with the natural world, inspiring healthy eating, and building community.

The end of the fiscal year is looming, and nonprofits like GrowNYC School Gardens face a reckoning. Because of government budget cuts, many are letting staff go and slashing program offerings just when the pandemic has generated an all-time high in gardening interest. In early June, GrowNYC’s Beginner Gardener Intensive, a free week of virtual gardening classes, drew over 1300 participants.

In New York City, access to school gardens is not equal. Green space is limited. Lack of resources, garden knowledge, support, funding, and community involvement are the primary reasons school gardens fail. Schools in socially affluent neighborhoods often have active PTAs to support maintenance and fundraising, while schools in lower socioeconomic areas often do not. These factors, coupled with the environmental challenges of growing in New York--rats, contamination, legal obstacles to obtain growing spaces-- make non-profit partners essential.

This is especially true for schools in underserved communities.

If we look at communities disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, they have the following in common: all are located in low socioeconomic areas with the least access to green space and the highest rate of diet-related diseases, primarily impacting people of color.

And yet the possibilities for gardens to flatten the curve in inequality are endless. In Corona, Queens, the garden at PS 14 was built in a concrete schoolyard after a science teacher, Bianca Biblioni, attended a Raised Bed Building workshop and picked up tools and seedlings from GrowNYC giveaway events outside of school hours. The garden is used for outdoor yoga, as a performance space for band and violin, and to teach culturally responsive-sustaining STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics.

For Bianca, the garden has been pivotal in engaging students with disabilities and English Language Learners because her students can observe concepts that are difficult to grasp in textbooks. Through the garden, Bianca introduces the ways in which plants are used across cultural diasporas from the Huichol people of Mexico to the Ashanti people of West Africa. They have also grown corn, beans, and squash, known as the “Three Sisters” in Native American culture, to learn about Lenape companion planting.

And last year, after the tragic passing of a student, classmates grew lavender, lemon balm, and mint for the school’s crisis center, where scent was used to soothe grieving students.

Without support from community partners, Bianca says the garden would not exist for her Title One school.

“I’m not sure how we would fund the garden, let alone train future teachers as garden leaders without partners like GrowNYC...Our kids would miss opportunities to connect our garden to the wider world.” Before Covid-19, nutrition education programs were already lacking in forty four percent of all elementary schools citywide according to A Is For Apple, a study of nutrition education programming conducted by Teachers College in March 2018.

Cutting garden programs erases years of work by dedicated volunteers like Bianca, making it disproportionately harder for under-resourced schools to receive the free materials they rely on to keep gardens growing, furthering the gap in education inequality. It is vital that our elected leaders, foundations, and individuals invest in these outdoor learning labs and nutrition education programs now more than ever. The health and wellbeing of our city’s children depends on it.

Author: Kristin Fields is the Director of GrowNYC’s School Gardens program, a former high school English teacher, and the author of two novels. All opinions are her own.

GrowNYC COVID-19 Schedule Changes & Resources

June 29, 2020
Posted in GrowNYC

If there are changes to GrowNYC programming or operations due to COVID-19 this blog post will be information central for up-to-the-minute schedule changes.

GrowNYC Greenmarkets and Farmstands
Most Greenmarkets and some Farmstand locations are open and operating on schedule, changes to the schedule are listed below. Follow us on social media (links below) or GrowNYC's Union Square Greenmarket app for real-time updates about Union Square. 

Greenmarket Alternative Sales Directory
Many Greenmarket producers are offering a variety of ways to purchase their products, from allowing customers to pre-order and pick up at a market, to direct home delivery and shipping products from their online stores. All of that information is available in one place at GrowNYC Greenmarket Alternative Sales Directory 2020

CLOSED GREENMARKETS & FARMSTANDS:
Greenmarket at the Oculus
Bowling Green Thursday Greenmarket
Brooklyn Borough Hall Thursday Greenmarket
City Hall Park Tuesday & Friday Greenmarket
Staten Island Ferry Tuesday & Friday Greenmarket

Food Scrap Composting 
Begenning September, 2020, some Food Scrap Drop-off sites are re-opening. Check our Compost Program webpage for updates.
Sign up for Food Scrap Drop-Off Alerts

Clothing Collections 
Collections at all GrowNYC clothing drop-off sites are cancelled until further notice.
To schedule a pick-up of textiles for a fee, please contact Wearable Collections. ​

GrowNYC Fresh Food Box

Open

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House: Tuesdays, 2:30 pm - 6:30 pm.
Courtesy Hour (for customers at higher risk of infection): 1:30 pm - 2:30pm

 

Project H.O.P.E.: Wednesdays, 2:00 pm – 6:30 pm

 

Uptown Grand Central: Wednesdays, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

 

District 5: Thursdays, 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm
September 3 - November 19

 

East Harlem Health Action Center: Thursdays, 2:30 pm - 6:30 pm.
Courtesy Hour (for customers at higher risk of infection): 1:30 pm - 2:30pm

 

Montefiore's Bronx Health Collective: Fridays, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

 

Bed-Stuy (at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church, 228 Decatur Street):
Saturdays, 11:00 am - 3:30 pm.
Courtesy Hour (for customers at higher risk of infection): 10:30 am - 11:00 am

 

Hunters Point South (at Center Blvd and 51st Avenue)
Saturdays, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
August 22 - November 21

Suspended Hunter College
Brooklyn Army Terminal
1 Centre Street
Department of Health

Student and Adult Tours and Field Trips 
All scheduled adult market tours and DOE school field trips are officially cancelled until further notice

GrowNYC Farmer Assisstance
POSTPONED: Farmer Assistance La Nueva Siembra Business Training Course
CANCELLED: Eastern New York Farmworker Master Class and Blueprint Racial and Social Justice Training at Soul Fire Farm

GrowNYC Wholesale
GrowNYC Wholesale (formerly Greenmarket Co.) is operating and providing wholesale distribution to our customers and partners.

Follow us on social media or the app for real-time updates:
GrowNYC Facebook // Instagram
Union Square Greenmarket Daily List of Producers in Attendance // Union Square Greenmarket App
Manhattan Greenmarkets Facebook // Instagram
Queens Greenmarkets Facebook // Instagram
Brooklyn Greenmarkets Facebook // Instagram
Staten Island Greenmarkets Facebook // Instagram
Fresh Food Box Facebook
Farmer and Producer List and Social Media Links

GrowNYC Statement of Solidarity Against Racial Injustice / Declaración de Solidaridad Contra la Injusticia Racia

June 19, 2020
Posted in GrowNYC

Change starts within. We hear the voices of the many who are coming together to cry out for long overdue corrections to unfair systems that too often and for too long have resulted in loss of income, opportunity, liberty, and life. GrowNYC does not want to pay lip service to concepts critical to our collective survival like justice, equality, police reform, and the end to systemic racism. We want to effect real and lasting change from within.

We say as an organization that Black Lives Matter.

We are committed to listening to and working side by side with our BIPOC colleagues to determine what comes next, and to developing an action plan to build, change, and grow our organizational culture. Accountability is key. We are pledged to:

  • Evaluate actions and resources that increase opportunity, reach, and services for internal and external stakeholders
  • Develop goals and metrics to measure that progress
  • Diversify our Board of Directors and staff in decision-making positions
  • Create a values statement and action plan with the help of a facilitator
  • Ensure that all staff and board have undergone anti-racism/anti-bias training
  • Create accountability guidelines
  • Examine and expand GrowNYC’s programmatic service delivery for greater equity
  • Engage in open conversations

In solidarity,
GrowNYC

***

El cambio empieza dentro de nosotros. Escuchamos las múltiples voces de quienes se están uniendo para clamar por correcciones muy atrasadas a los sistemas injustos que, con demasiada frecuencia y durante demasiado tiempo, han dado lugar a la pérdida de ingresos, oportunidades, libertad y vida. GrowNYC no quiere darse a la palabrería respecto a los conceptos críticos para nuestra supervivencia colectiva como son la justicia, la igualdad, la reforma policial y el fin del racismo sistémico. Queremos efectuar un cambio real y duradero desde dentro.

Declaramos como organización que las Vidas de los Negros Importan.

Estamos comprometidos a escuchar y trabajar hombro a hombro con nuestros colegas del BIPOC (Negros, Indígenas, y Personas de Color) para determinar lo que viene después, y a desarrollar un plan de acción para construir, cambiar y hacer crecer nuestra cultura organizativa. La rendición de cuentas es clave. Nos comprometemos a:

  • Evaluar las acciones y recursos que aumenten las oportunidades, el alcance y los servicios para los interesados internos y externos;
  • Desarrollar metas y métricas para medir ese progreso;
  • Diversificar nuestra Junta Directiva y el personal en puestos de toma de decisiones;
  • Crear una declaración de valores y un plan de acción con la ayuda de un facilitador;
  • Asegurarnos de que todo el personal y la junta hayan recibido entrenamiento en anti-racismo y anti-prejuicios;
  • Crear directrices de rendición de cuentas;
  • Examinar y ampliar la prestación de servicios programáticos de GrowNYC para una mayor equidad;
  • Participar en conversaciones abiertas;

En solidaridad,
GrowNYC

GrowNYC's Distance Learning Resources

March 29, 2020

Due to school closure and social distancing measures, our Education Programs are currently not operating our Zero Waste and Food & Nutrition programs in schools, School Garden workshops and giveaways, Greenmarket tours or Teaching Garden field trips. For a list of all COVID-19 related program changes, please click here.

BUT we miss seeing the students and educators we work so closely with throughout the year! We’re in awe of teachers and students as they undertake the immense task of continuing to teach and learn through new distance learning platforms. To provide some continuity for Green Teams and all those who do so much to promote sustainability work in their schools, we have created a Distance Learning Resource page with online activities, lessons and “virtual” field trips.

We look forward to seeing you all in person soon!

Go to GrowNYC's Distance Learning micro-site!

Keeping Up Composting During COVID-19

March 28, 2020

[Updated 8/7/20]

Food Scrap Drop-off sites and Curbside Composting service were suspended throughout NYC in spring of 2020 due to budget cuts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the following for more information on Zero Waste program suspensions:

The good news? Due to broad public support, the City Council restored some funding to allow GrowNYC and our partners at NYC Compost Project to resume limited services this fall.

Visit our Compost Program page for updates as our food scrap drop-off sites re-open. For a list of currently-open food scrap drop-off locations and residential pick-up services, see @ahealthyblueprint's crowd-sourced NYC Food Scrap Drop-off During COVID-19.

Clothing collections at Greenmarkets remain closed. To schedule a pick-up of textiles for a fee, please contact Wearable Collections

How to Keep Composting When Food Scrap Drop-Off Sites are Temporarily Closed

1)      Reduce Food Waste

Creating less waste is always best.  Learn how to store produce, check the shelf life for fruits and veggies, use up or preserve what you can’t use right away, get creative with your cooking, and learn some foods you can regrow from scraps

2)      Compost at Home

Compost the way New Yorkers did “back in the day” with a home composting system.  Dust off your backyard bin,or order an indoor worm bin.  Either way, composting is a great activity to keep busy, teach kids science, and finally get that pet you’ve been wanting! 

Outdoor Composting

If you have access to private outdoor space, this is an option for you! If you already have an outdoor compost bin, all you’ll need to get started are some leaves and food scraps.  Brush up on outdoor composting with this guide from the NYC Compost Project.  If you don’t yet have a bin, you can purchase online, find plans to make your own, or simply drill holes in a metal trash can. Remember that composting is an active, controlled process that requires effort beyond simply separating your food scraps and putting them outside. Scraps must be covered and properly managed--especially important in an urban environment! 

             Indoor Composting

No outdoor space? Do not despair! You can feed your food scraps to red wigglers, the most adorable and most voracious worms out there.  If you have a lidded plastic bin and a drill, this can be a very cheap DIY project for just the cost of some red wiggler worms, which you can purchase online. If you’d rather buy a ready-to-use worm bin, search online for a bin that suits your needs and style.  

To get started composting with worms, check out the NYC Compost Project’s  indoor composting guide and keep a troubleshooting guide handy for reference as you go.  We recommend freezing fruit scraps to prevent fruit flies and adding small amounts of food at a time as your worms adjust (Note: worms can be picky. They love apples, but aren’t so fond of citrus rinds).  Stick with it and you’ll have fun watching the process and creating food for your plants. 

 

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