Your Greenmarkets

January 19, 2017

If you're like us then you can't wait to take a break from the world and visit a market this weekend to give yourself an opportunity to breathe deep, take in all of the sights, smells, sounds, and flavors, and visit with your neighbors and farmers. We were recently reminded of a Wendell Berry quote that perfectly encapsulates our market communities. 

"A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves." - Wendell Berry 

All of Greenmarket's staff is going to the market this weekend...some of us just have to work, but all of us feel the pull to get out there. Here are our reasons and we'd love to hear yours

"Because the farmers market is where I go when I want to see my neighbors and be with my friends, whether to commiserate or celebrate."

"I'm going to the farmers market this weekend to be surrounded by my friends and my community and good food!" 

"Because our work - connecting urban and rural economies and communities - is particularly vital and meaningful right now."  

"Because I can ask the farmers questions."

“Because that’s where the food is.”

“Because my team – Go Steelers! – is in the AFC Championship and I need to pick up something to braise.” 

“Fuel the body, fight the power”

"Even when I'm not at work, I still visit my closest neighborhood Greenmarket because my local Greenmarket is where I feel connected to my community and neighbors. It's a place where we can convene around good food, talk recipes, and get excited for what we're about to cook."

"Because I want to connect with people who grow our food." 

"To get a new recipe."

"Because the brisk 20 mintue walk there is enough time to breath, clear my head and think about what I want to eat that week, but still leave room to get inspired if I see an ingredient I hadn't considered. And my compost bag is really full, gotta drop it off."   

"Because I wanna see what they’ll be cooking up at the market info tent!"

Greenmarket New Year's Resolutions

January 18, 2017
Posted in Greenmarket

With the new year just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about your resolutions. This year, why not make some resolutions you can actually stick to? Here are some of what we'll be doing to improve ourselves, our city and our environment in 2017.

1.   Say goodbye to plastic bags, for good. Greenmarket is committed to reducing plastic usage at our markets and several of our farmers are now offering reusable totes, bread and produce bags for sale. In 2017, make it a priority to make sure you always carry a reusable tote and produce bags and let's cut down on the amount of plastic we put into landfills.
2.   Drop off your food scraps. Since Greenmarkets began collecting food scraps for composting, we’ve collected over 7 million pounds of food waste that would otherwise be in a landfill. The rich compost created from these scraps is then used in community gardens, parks and other green spaces. Composting has never been easier with 22 of our year-round markets accepting food scraps.
3.    Clean out your closets AND your junk drawers. Old textiles can be dropped off at 20 year-round markets or find a Stop ‘N’ Swap in your neighborhood to bring unwanted clean, reusable, portable items such as clothing, house wares, games, books, & toys so they can find a home with someone else. You might also find something you need for your home!
4.    Become a Greenmarket Volunteer. Greenmarket hosts volunteer orientations every month and provides opportunities to help, both indoors and out in the elements, year round.
5.    Sign up for your first Winter Fresh Food Box. Our popular Fresh Food Box program has expanded the number of Winter Fresh Food Box sites to 10 this year. Pick-up locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan provide access to a pre-packed selection of affordable fresh produce from December to May. 
6.    Boost your workouts with ancient grains. The high-protein, low-gluten grains our Regional Grains Project sells at their stand are the perfect base for clean, simple meals after the indulgent holiday season. Try this wheatberry salad with kale and butternut squash for a healthy, protien packed lunch or dinner. 
7.    Introduce a friend to the Greenmarkets. Shopping at a Greenmarket is not just about fresh, healthy, local food, it’s about the community. Make a shopping date with a friend who has never shopped at Greenmarket and show them the enormous bounty our region has to offer right at their finger tips each week at their local Greenmarket.
8.    Eat at a restaurant committed to sourcing their food locally. For those nights you just don't feel like cooking (never, right?), there are many restaurants around NYC that purchase from Greenmarket and Greenmarket Co. all year long.      
9.    Get your hands dirty. Looking for a fun way to bond with your coworkers while doing some good? Get your company involved and sign up for a corporate volunteer day to help build or refurbish a community garden in the city.
10.  Visit Staten Island. A trip on the Staten Island Ferry is always a nice ride but it’s even more fun now that you can visit our St. George Greenmarket year-round.    

 

An Interview with Efrain Estrada from United We Stand Community Garden

January 4, 2017
Posted in Community Gardens

United We Stand selects

On East 137th and 138th Streets in the South Bronx, four contiguous community gardens flourished for more than 25 years. Hundreds of Mott Haven residents tended to flowers, grew food, and met one another. Then, in 2015, a fire broke out in the neighborhood, burning infrastructure across the garden block. The City was forced to close all four gardens and the site lay dormant.

Starting in February of 2016, the NYC Parks Department’s GreenThumb program began the gargantuan task of rebuilding the entire site. With help from the Department of Sanitation and the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation, the site was completely cleared, including thousands of pounds of debris and all the internal fences, and a fresh, vacant lot appeared.

GrowNYC joined the effort in May to restore the space to its previous horticultural glory, building more than 100 garden beds, a performance stage, murals, dozens of tables and benches. In September, we finished work on the new United We Stand and 138th Street Community Gardens. You can see the transformation in the before and after pictures, but let Efrain Estrada, a community garden member, tell the story:

“After the fire, the garden was closed. It was very bad: we had nowhere to garden, nowhere to hang out. It looked like a jungle, with a burned casita, and then people started throwing junk in there.

I felt bad that the garden was gone—I felt like a piece of myself was gone. The garden community is a family and the family didn’t have any place to go. I was close to crying. It was 25 years that we had made that garden and then it was gone. But then I thought, let’s go. It was spring and it was time to go again. Let’s start again. And that is where GrowNYC stepped in.

Working with the community and volunteers, we started rebuilding the entire site in the spring and we finished in fall.

People from the neighborhood say it’s beautiful now. We are proud. The people from the neighborhood see this whole new space on 137th Street and 138th Street. They see the flowers and all the vegetables and they love it.”

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