GrowNYC COVID-19 Response

April 21, 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. 

Collections at all food scrap & clothing drop-off sites are cancelled until further notice.

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
  • 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 

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
  • Allowing only Producers and their staff may handle products. Customers must not touch any produce or products until after they have purchased
  • Separating 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

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. 

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