Countdown to Project Farmhouse!

September 28, 2016
Posted in GrowNYC

Scheduled to open doors in November, Project Farmhouse is GrowNYC’s new sustainability and education center. We envision a place where New Yorkers of all stripes can get closer, to our food, to the land and to our neighbors.  Project Farmhouse will serve as a classroom for cultivation—of ideas, and relationships, of our city.  A broad, dynamic range of programming will get hands dirty, plant ideas and foster healthier, greener decisions and actions.

In our state-of-the-art flex space, complete with an education kitchen and multi-media classroom, a new farmer will take a course that will help them establish their own farms in NYS.

Young people will chop, cook and eat eggplant, tomatoes and other produce from our region as they learn to "eat your colors" for good health by choosing what's in season and locally available.

Community gardeners can learn about how to install a rainwater harvesting system in their garden to conserve water and prevent pollution.

Project Farmhouse is a space for everyone!

Project Farmhouse is supported by the following generous donors: 

Sustainer $100,000 +:
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer 


Patron $50,000 - $99,999:
David Tisch

Benefactor $25,000 - $49,999:

Sponsor $10,000 - $24,999:

Anna Chapman - Breville USA - BAND Foundation - City Hydroponics - Escape Maker - Lani's Farms - Liz Neumark - New York City Council Member Rosie Mendez - New York Community Trust (Colin Gardner Fund) - New York Community Trust (Himmelberg Fund) - NYCitySlab - Ohrstrom Foundation - Pratt Industries - Sweetgreen 


Supporter $5,000 - $9,999:
The Caliban Foundation - The Chester Kitchings Family Foundation - Jo-Ann Makovitzky - Robert J. Kafin - Eugene Schneur - One Five Hospitality - Charles Ramat - Katherine & Nick Scharlatt 

Friend $250 to $4,999:
Amy Bell - Marian Bach - Jordan Barowitz - Ned W. Bandler - Bridgewood Fieldwater Foundation - Thea Charles - Vicki Contino - Erica & Anand Desai - Wendy Ettinger - Everard Findlay - Mary E Geisser - Interbrand - Interior Design Media Group - Barbara Janowitz -  JetBlue - David Littefield - Karen E. Meara - Ruth Reochl - Stella Strombolis - Nancy Wolf - Ninth Avenue Association of NY

Volunteer Profile: Jonathan Kong

July 4, 2016
Posted in Community Gardens

Volunteers are a major source of strength for nonprofits and GrowNYC is fortunate to have the time, effort and talents of so many dedicated New Yorkers. Whether they are corporate groups giving back to the community by helping with a garden build for a neighborhood or school or a single individual who feels passionate about what GrowNYC does, we are extremely grateful.  Want to volunteer with GrowNYC?

Jonathan Kong started volunteering with GrowNYC in 2014, quickly establishing himself as a tireless worker and enthusiastic supporter of all things GrowNYC.  But in 2016, Jonathan has taken things to a new level: Creating and undertaking The Greenmarket Challenge: a quest to volunteer at all 54 Greenmarket farmers markets in 1 year.  

We spoke with Jonathan what inspires him, which Greenmarket is his favorite, and much more:

How long have you been volunteering with GrowNYC?

This is my third year.

What is it about GrowNYC that inspires you to work with us?

I really like the environment, working outdoors, getting to interact with the public, doing hands-on activities such as the cooking demos, and learning something new about myself everyday.

Favorite activity when volunteering?

Cooking demos are always fun to do because I get to see the actual ingredients I'm using and use them with the recipe. Outreach is great since I get to see the diversity of people who live in different neighborhoods.

How many different Greenmarket locations have you volunteered at?

So far about 30, but I plan to volunteer at all of them by the end of this year.

Do you have a favorite Greenmarket?

I like Union Square a lot because there's a lot of different activities going on down there and it's really easy to get to. I also have favorite markets for each region: Forest Hills for Queens, Columbia for Upper Manhattan, Tompkins for Lower Manhattan, Fort Greene for Brooklyn, and Parkchester for Bronx.

Favorite fruit and/or vegetable?

I tend to go for tropical fruits like mangos, pineapples and coconuts, but they don't sell them at the markets.

What would you tell someone who was considering volunteering with GrowNYC?

Volunteering with GrowNYC will help you improve your social skills, build confidence in yourself, and feel comfortable working with other people.                                                                                                                         

Giant Arch Pops Up in Union Square Greenmarket

November 15, 2015
Posted in GrowNYC

Anyone walking through Union Square Greenmarket this Saturday will find themselves looking at a giant orange arch made from cardboard tubes – representing a peek of GrowNYCs newst venture, Project Farmhouse: a new center for sustainability and education in the heart of New York City.

The arch will be up for five consecutive market days (November 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21), and will allow visitors to lean about Project Farmhouse. Anyone who makes a donation of $10 or more has a chance to pick at random a thank you gift, ranging from JetBlue TrueBlue reward points, kitchen appliances by Breville, gift certificates to restaurants, Greenmarket Bucks to shop at Union Square Greenmarket and more.  The arch is generously sponsored by TD Bank and is the concept of Interbrand, designed by Shift Space Design and features recycled cardboard tubes manufactured for and donated by Pratt Industries.

Project Farmhouse will be public education space of nonprofit GrowNYC. Opening in 2016, the farmhouse is a place where people can come and explore sustainability issues with us through the lens of food, horticulture, art, architecture and more.  It’s a classroom of cultivation. A permanent, physical space dedicated to getting our hands dirty, planting ideas and nurturing healthier, greener decisions and actions.

To learn more, visit

Project Farmhouse Arch Installation is generously sponsored by TD Bank.

Project Farmhouse is supported by the following donors: Breville USA, Bridgewood Fieldwater Foundation, Charles Ramat, Eugene Schneur, Gotham Bar and Grill, Interbrand, JetBlue, Jo-Ann Makovitzky, One Five Hospitality , Karen E. Meara, Liz Neumark, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, New York City Council Member Rosie Mendez ,Pratt Industries, Robert J. Kafin, TD Bank,The Caliban Foundation, The Durst Organization, The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, The New York Community Trust (Colin Gardner Fund),  The New York Community Trust (Himelberg Fund), and Whole Foods.

Arch Installation donated itams are from the following Donors: American Test Kitchen, Bluebonnet Nutrition, Bodi Licious, Breville USA, ChicoBags, Crafted Hospitality, Dream Hotel, DSW, Gothan Bar & Grill, Great Performances, Green Mountain, JetBlue, LiteWing Naturals, Museum of Natural History, NCM - America’s Movie Network, New York Jets, Room & Board, Schmidt's Deodorant, Shake Shack, Shutterfly, Signatureurban, Sweet Green, TD Bank, Terra Cycle, The Hain Celestial Group, Timberland, Trish McEvoy, Two Boots, Weleda, Workman Publishing, and World Policy Institute.

Happy Birthday To Us!

May 13, 2015
Posted in GrowNYC

GrowNYC, the city's essential environmental resource, is celebrating 45 years of service with a birthday party at our most iconic project - the Union Square Greenmarket - one of 50 Greenmarkets we operate.

Why should you care?

Free cake and cool t-shirts!  Check out our new limited edition t-shirts featuring a throwback design by Robin Willis. This t-shirt could be yours for only $20 bucks at our 45th birthday part in Union Square Greenmarket on Monday, May 18 at Union Square Greenmarket! OR if you donate $100 or more today.

Big thanks to Robin Willis for his fab design. Check out more of his work here.

Watch GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen's TEDx Talk

March 30, 2015
Posted in Greenmarket

Watch GrowNYC's Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen take to the stage to deliver a TEDx talk about scaling up local food distribution through Greenmarket Co., New York City's first and only food hub dedicated to supporting regional food producers by making their products available to wholesale buyers throughout the city.


GrowNYC thanks Governor Cuomo for his continued support of farmers and healthy food for all New Yorkers

December 9, 2014
Posted in GrowNYC

Governor Cuomo announced a slate of initiatives at the "Upstate-Downstate Farm to Table Agriculture Summit" in Manhattan last Thursday, all focused on linking upstate producers with New York City in order to increase city dwellers’ access to fresh, New York State grown and produced foods. GrowNYC has played an integral role in increasing New York City’s consumption of New York State farm products while putting more money directly into the pockets of small and midsized farmers, and we look forward to working alongside the State to continue growing these initiatives.

“Currently, low-income communities throughout New York City and the state lack access to fresh, healthy foods and small to midsized farmers cannot fairly compete with industrial sized farms from the west coast and beyond,” says GrowNYC Executive Director, Marcel Van Ooyen. “We are extremely thankful to Governor Cuomo and the State for recognizing the importance of continuing our state’s rich agricultural tradition and for investing in the financial health of our family farmers as well as the physical health of New Yorkers of all income levels.”

“We are thrilled to hear Governor Cuomo is prioritizing so many programs that we see as integral to linking upstate and downstate economies and providing access to healthy food for all New Yorkers,” says GrowNYC Board Chairman, Robert J. Kafin, Esq. “New York State boasts some of the best farmers and food producers in the world and there is no better marketplace than that of the 8.5 million residents of New York City to help ensure they are able to continue their work and inspire the next generation of farmers, bakers, jam makers and beyond .”

For over 40 years, GrowNYC has worked hard to get New York State grown products to those who need them most, but there is still more to be done. We are grateful to the Governor for pledging financial support to help expand food box programs like GrowNYC’s own Fresh Food Box, which brings fresh produce at an affordable price directly to those who need it most. Additionally, we are grateful for his support to establish a Regional Food Wholesale Farmers Market along with a Regional Food Hub Task Force which will increase upstate farmers’ ability to access the vast New York City market while also increasing city dwellers access to fresh, local foods. With the generous support of the Governor and the State of New York, we look forward to continuing GrowNYC's efforts to ensure New York State makes farming and farmers an anchor of our economic and environmental sustainability.  

#GivingTuesday is almost here!

November 26, 2014

#GivingTuesday is back and we're proud to be a part of it for the second year in a row.

Coming after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday acknowledges that we don't just take, take, take. We give back too! This year, on Tuesday, December 2nd, be a part of this growing global movement by taking action in a way that is meaningful to you. #GivingTuesday is about doing what you can to give back. It's about showing that all of us can do so much more with our wallets than just consume.

This year we have an extra special treat: the first $5,000 that we raise on #GivingTuesday will be matched dollar-for-dollar!

The #GivingTuesday campaign is a platform for you to contribute to your community and to help make this the biggest giving season yet. Your donation to GrowNYC helps give schools the tools they need to get learning outside, brings NYC's youngest to experience the outdoors through field trips to different urban farms, offers community leaders the tools they need to keep growing, helps New Yorkers recycle smarter, and supports new farmers and Greenmarket producers.

All of us here at GrowNYC know that you care about making a difference, and that's why we invite you to join #GivingTuesday. Donate, spread the word, volunteer for groups you care about (we hope that includes GrowNYC!) and encourage your friends to to give in lieu of gifts or just because.

Mark your calendar for December 2 and take action in ways that mean something to you.

Together, #letsgrownyc!
To learn more go to
Be sure to follow us on twitter @GrowNYC and use #letsgrownyc. We'll be sure to retweet you!

Here are some sample tweets to get you started on spreading the word:

  • Be a part of a new worldwide tradition of giving. On #GivingTuesday, #letsgrownyc.
  • Black Friday. Cyber Monday. What about #GivingTuesday? Together, #letsgrownyc!
  • Remember, it's not how you give or what you give, it's THAT you give. For the second year, #letsgrownyc on #GivingTuesday! 

Happy Giving!

Grow to Learn NYC Congratulates Carson Daly and the Today Show for "shining a light" on the importance of school gardens

May 30, 2014
Posted in Community Gardens

A statement by Marcel Van Ooyen Executive Director, GrowNYC

I want to personally congratulate Carson Daly of the Today Show for supporting our efforts to build a garden in every New York City School.  Since its launch in February 2011, Grow to Learn NYC has been working to connect NYC public and charter schools with the funding, training and materials needed for their students to dig in, connect to nature and build more positive attitudes towards healthy foods.

As a result of our partnerships with city agencies, funders and fellow non-profits, 436 schools have registered garden projects with Grow to Learn, giving them access to the garden mini-grants, training, material giveaways as well as opportunities and resources offered by greening and wellness partner organizations--with a focus on supporting schools in underserved communities like the South Bronx, Central and East Harlem and Central Brooklyn.

To date, Grow to Learn has distributed $517,000 in 331 garden mini-grants to schools. And one hundred percent of funds raised for mini-grants go directly to the schools to allow them to purchase what they need from local retailers so their learning garden programs can bloom.  

We are deeply grateful to Mr. Daly and the Today Show for highlighting the need to expand gardens to all schools and look forward to seeing more school gardens bloom around the city. 

#GivingTuesday 2013 is coming…

November 14, 2013
Posted in GrowNYC

How do you give back?

We’ve all heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but what about #GivingTuesday?

This year on Tuesday, December 3, GrowNYC is joining a national movement to celebrate and encourage giving: a day when charities, families, students, businesses, community centers, and others come together for #GivingTuesday - a day dedicated to celebrate giving and encourage more, smarter giving during the Holiday Season. Mark your calendar. #GivingTuesday 2013 is Tuesday, December 3rd.

#GivingTuesday is about doing what you can to give back. It’s about showing that all of us can do so much more with our wallets than just consume. Last year #GivingTuesday included more than 100,000 individuals participating in ways that matter to them.

All of us here at GrowNYC know that you care about making a difference, and that's why we invite you to join #GivingTuesday. Donate, spread the word, volunteer for groups you care about (we hope that includes GrowNYC!) and encourage your friends to give in lieu of gifts or just because.

So mark your calendar and on December 3rd take action in ways that means something to you.

#Giveback this #GivingTuesday!

To learn more go to

Be sure to follow us on twitter @grownyc, and share how you give back with #givegrownyc

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