GrowNYC Schedule Changes Due to COVID-19

March 31, 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.

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 Online Ordering 2020

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

Food Scrap Drop-Off and Clothing Collection 
Collections at all food scrap & clothing drop-off sites are cancelled until further notice.
Sign up for Food Scrap Drop-Off Alerts
Read our blog post - How to Keep Composting in NYC during COVID-19

GrowNYC Fresh Food Box

Suspended (April 2-8 only) Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Project H.O.P.E.
East Harlem Health Action Center
Halsey Community Garden (now operating at Brooklyn MS 35)
Suspended Hunter College
Brooklyn Army Terminal
Centre Street
Department of Health
Location Change

Family Health Center of Harlem (participants can order and pick up at East Harlem Health Action Center on Thursdays)

Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church/Halsey Community Farm (now distributing outside of Brooklyn MS35 on Lewis Ave. and MacDonough St.)

Open
(operating outdoors)

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Project H.O.P.E.
East Harlem Health Action Center
Uptown Grand Central


Volunteer Orientations
All GrowNYC volunteer orientations have been postponed until further notice. 

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

GrowNYC School Gardens
CANCELLED: Wednesday, April 1: GrowNYC Education Social 

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.
CANCELLED (with potential for hosting digitally): Tuesday, March 24: Fresh Connect Food Box Community Training 

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

Most GrowNYC Greenmarkets are OPEN

March 30, 2020
Posted in Greenmarket

Dear GrowNYC Greenmarket Community:

GrowNYC's 50 open-air Greenmarket 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. 

View real-time updates on market closures and GrowNYC program schedule changes.

As New York City and State respond to COVID-19, we want to update you on the steps we've taken--and recommend to you--to maintain Greenmarkets as vital community spaces in this time of uncertainty.

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
  • Assigning additional GrowNYC staff on the ground to regulate customer flow and ensure physical distancing
  • Only Producers and their staff may handle products. Customers must not touch any produce or products until after they have purchased
  • Market staff will separate farm stand spaces with at least 10 feet of distance between the tents, more where possible, to reduce congestion
  • There is no sampling of products at markets until further notice
  • There is no selling of apple cider by the cup
  • All Producers must wear protective gloves
  • 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
  • All staff processing credit/debit/snap transactions must wear protective gloves
  • We will provide additional hand sanitizers at our market manager stations

We also encourage you to protect yourselves, your fellow shoppers, and our Producers and their employees. 

  • Maintain a 6' distance between yourself, Greenmarket staff, farm stand employees, and other customers
  • If you are sick, stay home
  • Do not pick up any products or produce at the farm stands, 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 

For now, our markets are open for business. View this slideshow of positive responses we have received from our customers. 

Greenmarkets March 2020

 

With your support, GrowNYC Greenmarkets have been operating through good times and bad for the past 43 years, building an interdependent regional food system that fosters community and nourishes our urban and rural neighbors alike. Together, we will get through this.

Thank you for your continued support,

Marcel Van Ooyen, GrowNYC President and CEO, & Michael Hurwitz, GrowNYC Director of Food Access and Agriculture

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!

Keeping Up Composting During COVID-19

March 28, 2020

Keeping Up Composting During COVID-19

Due to the need to limit person-to-person contact and redirect personnel to essential services during the COVID-19 outbreak, all food scrap drop-off sites in the city, including the ones managed by GrowNYC, are closed until further notice. Beginning Monday, March 23, any food scraps left at closed Food Scrap Drop-off sites will be disposed of as trash. GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets remain open for food access purposes only, so while you can continue to get fresh, local produce at our markets, you can’t compost there for now.

The good news?  The heroes at the NYC Department of Sanitation continue to deploy core operations to keep the city safe and sanitary, including curbside garbage, recycling, and composting collections.  While the Curbside Composting program is not yet available to all New Yorkers, now is a critical time to use your brown bin if you have it, and to share it with friends and neighbors who don’t.

If all 3.5 million NYC households used the brown bins they were provided, we could compost 434,000 tons (868 million pounds) of food scraps, yard waste, and food soiled paper in a year. Using your brown bin is one positive thing you can do right now--keep NYC composting during this difficult time, when many New Yorkers are no longer able.


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.  

3)      Learn to Love Your Brown Bin

Whether you’ve never tried the curbside composting service, or never fully adapted to the new habit, now is a great time to do something positive for NYC! While recycling is mandatory for all NYC residents, composting food scraps and yard waste is currently optional. Nevertheless, 3.5 million residents receive this service and now is the time to take advantage of it. 

Handy Tips: 

  • If it grows, it goes.  Unlike composting at home, organic waste collected by the city can include meat, bones, and greasy food scraps. Learn more
  • Start at your comfort level.  Not quite ready to go whole hog?  Try storing the week’s apple cores, coffee grounds, and food-soiled paper napkins.  Add more items as you get used to this habit.  
  • Line your bin with a clear plastic bag to keep it clean, and set out every week for collection (find your schedule here).
  • Keep lid closed and latched between uses. 
  • Reduce odors by refrigerating or freezing scraps and placing in brown bin closer to set-out day.  Add dried leaves, baking soda, or shredded newspaper for added odor prevention.  
  • Find more guidelines and tips on how to use the brown bin here and a guide for superintendents here.

4)      Phone a Friend

Apartment dwellers in neighborhoods with curbside composting may be able to connect with residents or supers who regularly set out their brown bins for collection and ask them if they’re willing to share access.  Try reaching out to block associations or social networking services such as Facebook neighborhood and Buy Nothing groups, or NextDoor. We’ve already witnessed people mobilizing to share their brown bin on social media and it’s heartwarming!

 

Farmers Markets Deemed Essential Businesses

March 24, 2020
Posted in GrowNYC

Dear GrowNYC Greenmarket Community,

Many of you have heard recent calls by elected officials to further increase social distancing at parks and other outdoor gathering places. Be assured that GrowNYC is committed to implementing stringent social distancing at our food access points; it is a vital action everyone must take in our shared efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Also please know that the safety of our customers, our staff, our farmers – and all New Yorkers - remains our number-one concern during this extremely difficult time. These are not just words. We have taken (and will continue to take) decisive action to create the safest places to access fresh produce. We have been ahead of the curve. Our current protocols are being used as a model for farmers markets across the nation.

To give just a few examples, we have already banned the public from touching produce, and we require that only gloved farm staff handle the selection and bagging of products. We’ve discontinued product sampling and reconfigured our markets, barricading food from direct public access and dictating additional space for social distancing. (A full list of our current food safety and social distancing protocols, as well as those we are in the process of implementing, are listed below.)

And, with the support of the city, we are doing more each day to increase social distancing. This includes spreading our farmer tents further apart; taking over additional public space to expand market footprints; increasing safety signage; and redeploying staff from our other programs to enforce social distancing. We are working hard on all of these and other safety protocols. In fact, GrowNYC is temporarily pausing (for two days only) its Greenmarket operations until this Wednesday, March 25, 2020. During this time, Greenmarket staff will prepare additional measures we can take to ensure your safety, as well as that of our farmers and staff.

While it may be easy to confuse our essential operations at parks and other public spaces with non-essential public activities that have been prohibited or discouraged, it is a simple fact that people must eat -- even in a crisis, especially a crisis that has shuttered many usual food access points.

Healthy, fresh produce is more vital today than it ever has been. For example, our markets process over $1 million in SNAP/EBT (formally known as food stamps) and Health Bucks (a city SNAP incentive program) each year, as well as $2 million in Farmers Market Nutrition vouchers, which serve WIC recipients and seniors. These programs are only redeemable at farmers markets like Greenmarkets and cannot be used online or at grocery stores. (Go here for more information on these programs.)

It is important to note that under Governor Cuomo’s recent Executive Order, food outlets like our Greenmarket Farmers Markets and GrowNYC’s other food access outlets are designated as an “essential business.” (A copy of the governing language is copied below, and the full Order can be found here.)

We are in constant contact with state and city health officials, and we continue to adapt and modify our operations. We believe that open-air farmers markets, with transparent chains of custody, reduced travel times from farm to table, and proper safety and social distancing, are critically important places for the public to access the food they need. And we are making them safer and better each day.

Our farmers and staff appreciate the outpouring of support that we’ve received over the past several days on social media regarding our intense efforts to keep our markets open as a way for New Yorkers to get fresh, healthy food during this crisis. We’re also taking note of all concerns that have been expressed and folding them into our evolving safety measures and policies.

These are difficult times for everyone. It’s important that we all support each other and treat each other with respect and kindness.

Thank you for your support in these challenging times.

We invite you to contact us with any questions or concerns at info@grownyc.org.

 

Stay safe and be well.

Marcel Van Ooyen

President/CEO GrowNYC

 

GrowNYC’s/Greenmarket’s Safety and Social Distancing Protocols:

In addition to the already implemented safety protocols listed below, we are planning further safety measures. At all markets where we have the ability to spread out (down a sidewalk or into other adjacent vacant space), Producers’ tents will be separated at least 10 feet from one another. For those markets where this is not an option (like the Union Square Greenmarket), we will reconfigure markets and limit the number of customers shopping at any given time. At all markets we will provide clear demarcations to keep shoppers at least 6 feet apart, and we will engage additional staff on the ground to help customers and Producers navigate these new systems.

Already implemented safety protocols:

  • Only Producers and their staff may handle products. Customers must not touch any produce or products until after they have purchased (as mentioned above)
  • Market staff will separate farm stand spaces with at least 2 feet of distance between the tents, more where possible, to reduce congestion
  • There is no sampling of products at markets until further notice
  • There is no selling of apple cider by the cup
  • All Producers must wear protective gloves
  • 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.
  • All GrowNYC staff and Producers must stay home if they are sick
  • All staff processing credit/debit/snap transactions must wear protective gloves
  • We will provide hand sanitizer at our market manager stations

Please respect our market staff on the front lines and the farmers behind the stands who are coming into the city to feed us.

Governor's Executive Order

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced he is signing the "New York State on PAUSE" executive order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone. It includes a new directive that all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22. Guidance on essential services under the executive order is as follows:

ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES OR ENTITIESincluding any for profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure, are not subject to the in-person restriction.

For purposes of Executive Order 202.6, "Essential Business," means:

4. Essential Retail, Including:

  • grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
  • pharmacies
  • convenience stores
  • farmer's market
  • gas stations
  • restaurants/bars (but only for take-out/delivery)
  • hardware and building material stores

Women's History Month, Staff and Farmer Picks

March 5, 2020

For our celebration of Women’s History Month this year, we asked GrowNYC staff and producers to tell us about those women, famed or unsung, who influenced their passion for food, gardening, and/or the environment.

We’ll be adding more magnificent women throughout the month as submissions come in. Check back soon!

 

Maria (Baldassarre) Naglieri, (1902-1997) born in Santo Spirito, Bari, Italy, submitted by GrowNYC's Green Space Director, Gerard Lordhal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Eldest of five, my maternal grandmother was raised on a Mediterranean farm with olive groves, vineyards, and an almond orchard. She first introduced me to arugula, focaccia and dandelion and mint omelette. She lived through WWI, raised 5 children, four sons returned from WWII.

Her cooking secrets included: nothing out of a can, good Italian olive oil, semolina flour, anchovies, and sea urchins (to tease her grandchildren with), homemade cavatelli pasta, and, of course, her own homemade tomato sauce. Canning plum tomatoes, making wine in the fall and planting a spring garden with basil, arugula, and mint were annual events in my childhood.

Cipollini onions were her holiday favorite, which I would often find for her in the Belmont section of the Bronx."

 

Dolores Huerta, submitted by GrowNYC’s School Gardens Coordinator Laura Casaregola 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“When I moved to California for college, I was surprised to find that classes were canceled on March 31st for Cesar Chavez Day. I started looking into the farmworker labor movement in California in the 1960s and was inspired by a key figure: Dolores Huerta. She was at the forefront of the Delano grape strike and co-founded the United Farm Workers. She coined the famous organizing phrase, "Sí, se puede!" Her activism for a more just food system includes a fight for labor, civil, LGBTQ, immigrant and women's rights, and even at age 89 these days, she is still active on the scene. Although classes and work are not cancelled for it, California recently declared April 10 as Dolores Huerta Day.” 

 

Dorothy Darlene Donoghue Schupp Crawford, submitted by GrowNYC’s Communications Specialist, Catherine Crawford

“Growing up in the 80’s in the suburbs of San Francisco, Mom always had two huge compost piles going in our back yard.  All of our food scraps went in one of two bowls: dog or compost. I felt like the only 7-year-old in the Bay Area regularly brandishing a pitchfork after dinner (from the only family in town that had dogs but never bought dog food).”

 

Suzie Carollo, submitted by GrowNYC's Food Access and Agriculture Assistant Director, Liz Carollo

"While most of the other girls my age were learning important life lessons like how to dress and look presentable, my mom was cramming as many neighborhood kids as possible in the station wagon and taking us to the beach to fish and hunt for shells, or picking up a pack of raw chicken wings and teaching us how to set a trap for blue crab. In this photo she is leading a lesson for me on operculums."

 

Frances (Fannie) Griscom Parsons, submitted by GrowNYC’s School Gardens Director, Kristin Fields


“She started the first school garden in 1902 in Hell’s Kitchen, right next to the Hudson River railyard - aka "Death Avenue" -- and a bunch of factories, because she wanted to teach kids to be urban citizens. It was such a hit that there's still a garden on site today at De Witt Clinton Park.” 

 

Lynn Loflin, submitted by Lela Chapman, Sales and Relationship Manager for GrowNYC Wholesale


“Lynn is retiring from Lenox Hill Teaching Kitchen this year. She has been a huge partner to GrowNYC Wholesale and instrumental in helping NYC institutions incorporate more fresh food and a farm-to-table model.”

 

Wendy Rizzo, submitted by her husband, Joe Rizzo of Blue Oyster Cultivation

“She's the co-owner and founding farmer of one the farms that started the current wave of small mushroom farms. Twelve years ago, she quit her executive position in Manhattan, moved to the Finger Lakes and helped start Blue Oyster Cultivation from scratch.” 

 

Mary Emmett, submitted by Jodie S. Emmett de Maciel of Beth’s Farm Kitchen

“At two years old, my parents purchased 100 acres in SE Michigan and started planting apple trees. My father worked for General Motors while my mom transformed the land from an abandoned field to a thriving cider mill business.  I played under the table at farmers markets in the fall while she connected with all the growers in the Ann Arbor area - and eventually built not only a viable farm-based business but a cultural phenomenon that has created fond memories for generations of fall-time visitors."

 

 

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