Million Pound Challenge, explained

November 8, 2010

GrowNYC's textile recycling program recently announced the Million Pound Challenge, an effort to reach more New Yorkers in order to help them recycle their unwanted clothing, linens, and shoes. We spoke to Christina Salvi, Assistant Director of the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, about textile recycling, why it's important, and how far along we are with the Challenge.

Where did the idea for the Million Pound Challenge come from?
6% of NYC's residential waste stream consists of textiles, like sheets, towels and unwanted clothing. That's 193,000 tons a year, which means that New Yorkers throw away 733 pounds of textiles every minute.

We've been collecting clothing and textiles at select Greenmarkets since 2007. We were in the process of evaluating our promotion of this program when the latest numbers came in at 750,000 pounds collected. So we thought, "Let's go for a million!" Right now we’re around 900,000 pounds.

Where have those 900,000 pounds of textiles been going?
We partner with Wearable Collections, a textiles recycling company that gives a certain percentage of their proceeds back to charitable organizations. They not only accept material at some of our markets, but also provide collection bins and do pickups at residential buildings.

Wearable Collections takes the material to a sorting facility where items are designated as usable or non-usable. The usable items will go to secondhand markets like thrift stores. Materials that are stained, ripped, or otherwise non-usable are further sorted into grades like cotton and synthetic blends. These textiles are then distributed to different markets and manufacturers that can turn them into things like car seats, insulation, and industrial rags.

Where can people drop off their stuff?
We are hoping to continue expansion of the program, but for now we have weekly drop-off sites at 8 markets in 3 boroughs on 4 days of the week. We also have special collections taking place during the Million Pound Challenge, like at the Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket on November 2, 9, 16 and 23.

People can bring any clean and dry textiles including clothing, paired shoes, sheets, towels, hats, bags and belts. We offer receipts for tax deductions as well.

People should wash everything before they donate?
Yes. It's okay if things have stains, but they should be laundered before donation. You can bring them in a plastic bag or just pack them in a reusable bag that you can empty into bins at the drop-off site.

What happens if you reach 1,000,000 pounds?
1,000,000 million pounds is a nice big number, but we see it as a great place to start. Keeping textiles out of landfills helps reduce disposal costs for taxpayers and prevents landfilling of materials that could create powerful greenhouse gasses. It will be great to reach a million pounds, but we will need to keep working to divert more material from going to waste; what it would mean is that we've made that many more people aware and have activated them to participate in recycling.

Greenmarket turkey guide

November 3, 2010
Posted in Greenmarket

Your guide to locally-raised Thanksgiving gobblers

Whether you’re looking for a traditional just-like-mom’s White Broad-Breasted or you swear by the succulence of a Heritage Bourbon Red, Greenmarket has the turkey you need for your Thanksgiving table.

To get your bird in time for turkey day, visit the appropriate Greenmarket or call the farmer soon!

Hoosick River Poultry
Craig Acton, Farmer
Pasture-Raised White Broad Breasted Turkeys
$4.00 per pound

Where to order:
Abingdon Square Greenmarket
Jackson Heights Greenmarket
Tompkins Square Greenmarket
or by contacting the farm at 518.686.5564

Orders taken now until sold out

Pick Up:
Tuesday, November 23rd at the St. Mark’s Greenmarket (10th St & 2nd Ave)

DiPaola Turkey Farms
Art DiPaola, Farmer
Broad Breasted Turkeys
Whole turkey $3.39 per pound
Bone-In Breast $5.89 per pound

Where to order:
97th Street market open Wednesday before Thanksgiving for pick-ups
Abingdon Square Greenmarket
Brooklyn Borough Hall
Carroll Gardens Greenmarket
Columbia Greenmarket
Cortelyou Greenmarket
Fort Greene Greenmarket
Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket (Sat + the Wed before Thanksgiving)
Greenpoint Greenmarket
Inwood Greenmarket
Jackson Heights Greenmarket
St. George Greenmarket
Tribeca Greenmarket
Tucker Square Greenmarket
Union Square Greenmarket (Wed)
or by contacting the farm at 609.587.9311

Orders for whole birds taken now until sold out

Pick Up:
Any market you ordered from

Quattro’s Game Farm
Carmella Quattrociocchi, Farmer
Eastern Breed Wild Turkeys, $7.49/lb
Heritage Bourbon Red Turkeys, $8.59/lb
White Holland Domestic Turkeys , $3.99/lb

Where to order:
Union Square Greenmarket (Sat)
or by contacting the farm at 845.635.8202

Orders taken now until sold out

Pick Up:
Saturday, November 20th and Wednesday, November 24th at the Union Square Greenmarket

Violet Hill Farms
Paul Dench-Layton, Farmer
Pasture-Raised Broad Breasted Turkeys
$4.75 per pound

Where to order:
Union Square Greenmarket (Sat)
or by contacting the farm at 845.665.3718 or visiting their website.

Orders taken now until sold out

Pick Up:
Saturday, November 20th at the Union Square Greenmarket

Garden of Spice
Ben Shaw, Farmer
Pasture-Raised Great White Double Breasted Turkeys
$5 per pound

Where to order:
Union Square Greenmarket
or by contacting the farm at 518.695.6801

Orders taken now until sold out

Pick Up:
Wednesday, November 24th at the Union Square Greenmarket


Norwich Meadow Farms
Zaid Kurdieh, Farmer
Organic Pasture-Raised Great White Double Breasted Turkeys
$6 per pound

Where to order:
92nd Street Greenmarket
Tompkins Square Greenmarket
Tucker Square Greenmarket
Union Square Greenmarket (Mon, Fri, and Sat)

or by contacting the farm at 607.336.7598 or pay online via PayPal on their website.

Orders taken now until sold out

Pick Up:
Monday, November 22nd or Wednesday, November 24th at the Union Square Greenmarket

Interested in learning more about heritage breed turkeys?
Visit The Heritage Turkey Foundation.

Halloween & Candy Apples

November 1, 2010
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged halloween, kids, union square

On Saturday, Market shoppers at Union Square indulged their sweet tooths on candy apples donated from Terhune Orchards, Locust Grove, and Migliorelli Farms and candied by Deb Gavito, owner of Body and Soul Bakery.

Thanks to our wonderful Greenmarket volunteers, who were painting faces and distributing apples all day.

Pumpkin Carving at Union Square

October 25, 2010
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged halloween, union square

Marc Evan and Chris Soria from Maniac Pumpkin Carvers came out to the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday and carved two 150-pound pumpkins. Amazing!

These locally-grown ghoulish gourds will be on display at the market all week so stop by and see them. Sugar pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and decorative squash are available at most Greenmarkets from now until Thanksgiving.

Taste of Greenmarket 2010: A success!

October 22, 2010

Our 3rd Annual Taste of Greenmarket took place on October 6th at The Altman Building and was a huge hit.

Over 600 people joined GrowNYC and 30 of the city’s best chefs and mixologists, who were serving Greenmarket-inspired dishes and cocktails. The event benefited Greenmarket’s Youth Education program.

Thanks to all our sponsors and everyone who attended. See you next year!

Learn It, Grow It, Eat It students in the garden and at market

October 20, 2010

We started our Learn It, Grow It, Eat It (LGE) program in 2005 as a collaboration between our community garden and environmental education programs. LGE students, from four high schools in the Bronx and one in Manhattan, take part in a three-part program: growing food in local community gardens; receiving nutrition education, which they then use to perform health-related outreach activities in their schools and neighborhoods; and operating a Youthmarket community farm stand where they sell the food they grow. Today was the second to last day at their Youthmarket, but the market was still full of produce from their garden. The last market day of the season is next Wednesday, October 27th, at Boston Road and 169th St from 10 AM to 2:30 PM. Take a look at some photos from their garden at Wishing Well Community Garden and from their Youthmarket.

Carlo Petrini at Union Square

October 15, 2010
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged union square


Left to Right: Jim Buccheri of Wild Hive Farm, Mike Yezzi of Flying Pigs Farm, Beth Linksey of Beth’s Farm Kitchen, Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food, and Don Lewis of Wild Hive Farm.


Carlo Petrini, founder of the International Slow Food Movement, visited Union Square yesterday to talk to Greenmarket delegates headed to Italy for Terra Madre next week.

Collecting Sunday night's shower

October 12, 2010

Last night's downpour covered New York City in an inch of rain and caused flooding in some neighborhoods. Storms place a huge burden on the city's sewer system, the effects of which are felt by the local watershed. GrowNYC has helped build over 60 rainwater harvesting systems in community gardens throughout the city. These systems help mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce the demand on the public water supply system, and make it easy for gardeners to water their gardens. But just how much water do they save? The general formula we use for calculating rainwater harvesting potential is that one thousand square feet of catchment area (like a roof) will yield 600 gallons of water per inch of rain. We also take into account the efficiency of the systems and say that 75% of potentially harvestable rain is actually collected. If a typical building's footprint is 20' x 50' (1000 square feet), that means 450 gallons of water could have been harvested by last night's one inch rainfall. A typical 10' x 10' shed could have harvested 45 gallons. For reference, a typical watering can is about 2.5 gallons. More information about GrowNYC's rainwater harvesting program is here. For a PDF guide to building your own system, click here.

A garden grows on Randall's Island

October 8, 2010

For the past 6 months, GrowNYC's Open Space Greening program has been hard at work building a Children's Garden on Randall's Island. The garden features over 30 raised beds, currently growing kale, collard greens, carrots, four varieties of tomatoes, and many other vegetables and herbs. Under the guidance of GrowNYC's Gerard Lordahl, children from the Stanley Isaacs Community Center have been growing vegetables and receiving cooking instruction as part of the Isaacs Center's "The Growing Place" project. The Randall's Island Children's Learning Garden is located within the Icahn Stadium complex. School groups interested in visiting or working in the garden should contact our School Gardens Coordinator.

Muppets take the market!

August 19, 2010
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged cute, kids, union square

The Union Square Greenmarket had a different kind of green visitor on Tuesday: Sesame Street’s Rosita la Monstrua de las Cuevas, the first bilingual muppet, dropped by the Norwich Meadows stand to teach kids about healthy eating.

Photo by Serious Eats.

Recent Posts



More tags