NYS Regional Food Hub Breaks Ground

March 30, 2021
Posted in GrowNYC

Three cheers!!! 

Last week, GrowNYC broke ground on the New York State Regional Food Hub (the Hub), a 60,000-square-foot cold-storage facility in the Bronx. 

The Hub will dramatically expand our wholesale distribution infrastructure that makes high-quality, local foods accessible to underserved New Yorkers through wholesale buyers, including institutions and restaurants, and through innovative partnerships with nonprofit organizations. It will also create quality jobs all while strengthening rural communities by supporting New York State farmers. 

The new food hub will work with a range of small- and mid-sized farms, providing unprecedented access to New York City’s wholesale marketplace. The processing facility will also assist Upstate producers and processors in targeting institutional and private sector procurement opportunities. This first-of-its-kind, publicly funded food hub dedicated to supporting regional farmers will serve as a model throughout the country.

Here's a link to the press release for the Groundbreaking, and here's a Q&A with more information about the project. 

GrowNYC FreshConnect Information Session

January 28, 2021
Posted in GrowNYC

GrowNYC is happy to announce our Spring 2021 Training Series!

This free training is available to nonprofit organizations and community groups interested in operating a food box or farm stand in their neighborhoods. Organizations are invited to join us for an informational session on April 6 from 4-5 PM. This overview will help organizations determine which model is the right fit for them. We will provide general FreshConnect background, details about ordering produce through GrowNYC Wholesale, and highlight the differences between a farm stand and a food box. The info session is not required, but if you're still deciding if you'd like to run a farm stand or a food box, this will help you understand the differences and make your decision.

All training sessions are remote via Zoom.

April 20 from 4-5 PM, Farmstand Training 
April 23 from 4-5 PM, Fresh Food Box Training 

Register for our first information session here.  

GrowNYC Virtual Seasonal Job Fair March 31

January 28, 2021
Posted in GrowNYC

Every day, GrowNYC employees see first-hand the impact they have on the environment and the lives of New Yorkers in all five boroughs. We’re a non-profit organization founded 50 years ago, and we operate farmers marketsFarmstands, Fresh Food Box sitesfood scrap collections, and more.

We hire many seasonal staff starting in the early spring.

If you are interested in working for this dynamic organization to provide fresh food for all and reduce New York City's carbon footprint, join our job fair and meet our team!

At the GrowNYC Virtual Seasonal Job Fair, you will meet staff from each of our programs, hear more about seasonal jobs available at GrowNYC, and get a chance to ask questions about working with GrowNYC.

GrowNYC Seasonal Job Fair
Wednesday, March 31
6-7pm
FREE event, please register here.

Job Requirements:

  • We are looking for early-risers who can work outside in various weather conditions and lift heavy equipment.
  • Age 18+
  • Available May - November, including weekend days

Additional Skills Valued (but not required):

  • Proficient in languages other than English
  • Valid New York State Drivers license, and an interest in driving in NYC

GrowNYC positions (seasonal and otherwise) and Greenmarket farm and farm stand job opportunities are posted here: 
GrowNYC job opportunities and Greenmarket farm and farm stand job opportunities.

 

GrowNYC Celebrates Black History Month

January 27, 2021
Posted in GrowNYC

GrowNYC Celebrates Black History Month

February 2021 marks the 45th annual Black History Month. To close our month-long observance of Black History, we happily feature some of the incredibly hardworking and talented staff that make up GrowNYC. Get to know:

  • Tutu, Greenmarket Youth Engagement Coordinator
  • Diante, GrowNYC's Executive Assistant
  • Chantel, Garden Coordinator
  • Akhmose, Fresh Food Box and Greenmarket Team Member

All share their thoughts and experiences as Black individuals navigating environmental and food access spaces, including challenges they have faced.

Tutu Badaru 

Please introduce yourself and describe what you do at GrowNYC.

Tutu Badaru, she/her are my preferred pronouns. I identify as an African woman who was born and raised in Kampala, Uganda. I moved to New York seven years ago to go to grad school and was only supposed to stay for two years. However, somewhere in those two years, I fell in love with the city and its people, so I decided to stay. 

Getting a job at GrowNYC was one of the reasons I decided to stay. I was lucky enough to find a job that combined my professional expertise with my life’s passions. In my role as the Greenmarket Youth Engagement coordinator, I am part of a team that creates a learning environment in our Greenmarkets where students K-12 can engage with locally grown food and its growers. Our fun, interactive Greenmarket School Tours help children gain an understanding of farming in our region and how their food choices impact their bodies, their communities, and their environment.

Do you have certain passions that drew you to your current work?

I have always wanted to work with children. At first, I thought that would be as a pediatrician. However, when my high school Home Ec. teacher introduced me to the field of dietetics, I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do. I was and still am fascinated with the human relationship to food- one that is often underrated but so vital for our survival as a species. 

The American clinical nutrition field is made up of mostly white women, a fact that I was ignorant of before I started grad school. My nutrition program was not an exception to the national demographics. Therefore, in many of my classes, the few BIPOC bore the burden of pushing back on repetitive microaggressions and stereotypical misconceptions that our classmates had about communities of color. Cultural (non-white) foods and norms were often villainized and touted as the reasons for poor health indicators in black and brown communities. No one was talking about the systemic structures which intentionally kept BIPOC in areas with little access to fresh and healthy food. This was before the notion of Food Apartheid became more commonplace. 

So, I turned to Community and Public health nutrition as a way of opting out of a field that did not see BIPOC through a holistic lens. The system was broken and stacked up against folks who looked like me.  I realized that I wanted to be able to work with people and communities outside of the restrictions and limitations of Hospital regulations.

Who are the heroes that you look to in your work?

Dr. Jessica B. Harris for her work on documenting African American food pathways. She was a food writer during times when very few black and female writers were appreciated. I think her work to document the connection of black food in America to its African roots fills a vacuum in American food history. 

Yewande Komolafe, a Nigeran professional chef who just joined the elite ranks of the New York Times food writing staff. Yewande has used her platform to champion African food and bring food like Jollof rice to a wide audience. I think and hope that the more folks interact with cultures outside of their own, the less likely they are to be prejudice. Her appointment to such a mainstream food platform makes me feel like there is room for me too, an African girl from Kampala! Can you feel how excited I am for the future of food?

What are the challenges and opportunities particular to Black members of the environmental or food access space?

There are not enough black or brown people with decision-making roles in the food access space, especially in non-profits that work in communities that are predominantly BIPOC. I find it hard to think that any sustainable work can be done without centering the folks who are most affected and giving them a real voice. I can see glimpses of change in some of these spaces, but not enough to enact real change. 

What would this work look like in a more equitable society?

Food work is often underappreciated and the people who choose careers in it are often poorly compensated. Many black folks who work in this field do so as a sacrifice and in service to their communities. This sometimes means that people who want to do this work are not able to because they cannot afford to make the economical sacrifice. I think the food and nutrition field would be more diverse if we compensated black farmers, chefs, educators, and nutrition professionals more adequately.
 

Diante Webb

Please introduce yourself and describe what you do at GrowNYC.

My name is Diante Webb and I am GrowNYC’s Executive Assistant. I work mostly behind the scenes to support our Board of Directors, CEO, Assistant Director, and everyone else on staff! I schedule meetings, take minutes, draft agendas, plan events, and handle all kinds of administrative tasks.

Do you have certain passions that drew you to your current work?

I’ve always cared about the environment and wanted to learn more. I also love supporting and being a resource for people. So, I think that’s how I ended up where I am.

Who are the heroes that you look to in your work?

My heroes are Black activists, organizers, and everyday Black people working to make this City, State, and Country a better place for everyone. 

What are the challenges and opportunities particular to Black members of the environmental or food access space?

Environmental justice often excludes discussions of environmental racism, which perseveres and disproportionately affects Black people in the United States. We cannot achieve true environmental justice until the most vulnerable populations are acknowledged, accounted for, and protected.

What would this work look like in a more equitable society?

I think this work would include more perspective from and elevation of members of affected communities and their needs. In a more equitable society, grassroots organizations, communities, elected officials, and many more would work together to address the systemic issues behind food access, climate change, and environmental racism.
 

Chantel Kemp

Please introduce yourself and describe what you do at GrowNYC.

Hiya, my name is Chantel Kemp, and I am a Garden Coordinator at GrowNYC. A large part of what I do involves maintaining relationships with community members. The other parts include a weird juggling of corporate structure, earth warrior goddess mode, and navigating NY virtually. The members that I serve are some of the most beautiful souls, and for a long time, NYCHA has been underrepresented and undervalued. The residents of NYCHA have more value than a lot of NY residents see, my work in urban agriculture shines a light on that injustice. 

Do you have certain passions that drew you to your current work?

I have a passion for financial freedom and not having to sacrifice my morals to get it. When I first learned about the Urban AG Industry, I was receiving a stipend. $500 doesn’t do much when you’re struggling to pay bills, however, my saving grace was looking at the job potential and mobility. Salary positions that didn’t rely solely on academia, the AG industry valued my lived experience in a way the academic circles did not. 

Who are the heroes that you look to in your work?

My heroes are the young folks who choose Urban Ag for Summer Youth work. The young people who make the decision every day to support the earth and BIPOC freedoms. The teachers who center their work around equity and BIPOC voices. Last but certainly not least, my heroes are the beautiful POC women, men, and people who paved the way for me. 

What are the challenges and opportunities particular to Black members of the environmental or food access space?

There’s a pain for BIPOC folks in the environmental/green job sector. For the last 100 years or so POC folks have been suffering from some of the most violent forms of environmental terrorism. Mass and egregious pollution in black and brown communities, zero regulations or enforcement for housing standards or carbon emissions. The actual building of an expressway in communities already facing high rates of asthma and a lack of oversight of food corporations in black communities. So, the black and brown people that do the work in this sector are revolutionaries. Fighting not only for the earth’s existence but for the existence of our people on this planet too. #BlackLivesMatter 

What would this work look like in a more equitable society?

In a more equitable society, there would be major investment poured into urban communities through the creation of green jobs, training programs, internships, job shadowing opportunities, etc. There would also be space for economic mobility using a cooperative business model, and investment in creating an Innovation sector in NYC. Re-envisioning our NYC schools and replacing policing and regulations that undermine with more investment in social services, counselors, job training, trade skills, and healthier/tastier food options. Then we could foster and solidify relationships with schools and residents to build a better NYC and NY state.
 

Akhmose Ari-Hotep

Please introduce yourself and describe what you do at GrowNYC.

Greetings, my name is Akhmose Ari-Hotep. I started out at Grow as a Driver and Compost Coordinator then transitioned to the role of teamwork at Fresh Food Box and Greenmarkets. Presently and as of late I have been doing work with BIPOC and the Racial Equity Task Force (RETF).

Do you have certain passions that drew you to your current work?

I am an ‘Earth Steward,’ I am for equity, freedom, and restitution, I am ‘Captain Planet.’

Who are the heroes that you look to in your work?

Hazel M. Johnson, Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Domingo Morales, Ron Finley

What are the challenges and opportunities particular to Black members of the environmental or food access space?

Challenges: The reclamation of education, need for better access to resources, the need for more acknowledgment of our contributions to the field/s, participation in managerial roles, and policymaking. 

Opportunities: To innovate, lead, and still succeed in the face of continued adversity.

What would this work look like in a more equitable society? 

“40 acres and a mule.” Reparations!






 

GrowNYC Schedule Changes Due to Inclement Weather & COVID-19

December 15, 2020
Posted in GrowNYC

If there are changes to GrowNYC programming or operations due to inclement weather or COVID-19 this blog post will be information central for up-to-the-minute schedule changes. Inclement weather in the city or in the greater region does affect markets; markets may close early, or farmers may not be able to make it into the city.

GrowNYC Greenmarkets and Farmstands
Most winter GreenmarketsFarmstand and Fresh Food Box locations are open and operating on schedule, any changes to the schedule will be listed here. Follow us on social media (links below) or GrowNYC's Union Square Greenmarket app for real-time updates about Union Square.  

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 2020

Food Scrap Composting 
Beginning September, 2020, some Food Scrap Drop-off sites are re-opening. Check our Compost Program webpage for updates.
Sign up for Food Scrap Drop-Off Alerts

Clothing Collections 
Begenning November, 2020, some clothing drop-off sites are re-opening, hosted by Wearable Collections. Check our Clothing Collections webpage for updates.

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

GrowNYC Wholesale
GrowNYC Wholesale (formerly Greenmarket Co.) is operating and providing wholesale distribution to our customers and partners.

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

GrowNYC COVID-19 Response

October 17, 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.

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. 

*Some Food Scrap Drop-off Sites are re-opening. See our Compost Program page for updates.

*Some Clothing Collections at Greenmarkets are re-opening. See our Clothing Collection Program page for updates. To schedule a pick-up of textiles for a fee, please contact Wearable Collections

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.

Fellow Farmer - Pre-Order and Delivery

Fellow Farmer is a platform that allows customers to pre-order from the farmers market for pickup, or schedule a home delivery. 

Learn more at Fellow Farmer

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
  • Some farms allow customers to handle products and some do not, noted by signage at each stand. If it is a stand with a 'no handling' sign, please do not pick up any products or produce, 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
  • Separating farm stand spaces to reduce congestion
  • There is no sampling of products at markets until further notice
  • 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
  • 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. 

School is closed, but gardens are growing

June 30, 2020

In a moment where New Yorkers have turned to parks and gardening to ease the mental and emotional strain the Covid-19 pandemic has taken on residents, when the need for education surrounding nutrition and health couldn’t be more critical, the same nonprofits that make green space and nutrition education possible are in danger of going under, while vital city agencies like the New York City Parks Department’s GreenThumb program are facing severe budget cuts.

To date, GrowNYC School Gardens’ program has helped create 824 school gardens, the most in the nation, with a goal of having every New York City school have a garden of its own.

Following the Great Recession in 2010, the School Garden program was founded in partnership with GrowNYC, GreenThumb, and the Department of Education to create sustainable learning gardens in public schools. Since inception, the program has led over 400 free gardening workshops, hosted annual giveaways for seeds, soil, plants, lumber, and tools, and funded 650 yearly mini grants to make school gardens accessible.

The gardens come in a range of shapes and sizes. From pollinator gardens in outdoor raised beds to indoor hydroponics labs producing 25,000 pounds of greens, all share the goals of connecting kids with the natural world, inspiring healthy eating, and building community.

The end of the fiscal year is looming, and nonprofits like GrowNYC School Gardens face a reckoning. Because of government budget cuts, many are letting staff go and slashing program offerings just when the pandemic has generated an all-time high in gardening interest. In early June, GrowNYC’s Beginner Gardener Intensive, a free week of virtual gardening classes, drew over 1300 participants.

In New York City, access to school gardens is not equal. Green space is limited. Lack of resources, garden knowledge, support, funding, and community involvement are the primary reasons school gardens fail. Schools in socially affluent neighborhoods often have active PTAs to support maintenance and fundraising, while schools in lower socioeconomic areas often do not. These factors, coupled with the environmental challenges of growing in New York--rats, contamination, legal obstacles to obtain growing spaces-- make non-profit partners essential.

This is especially true for schools in underserved communities.

If we look at communities disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, they have the following in common: all are located in low socioeconomic areas with the least access to green space and the highest rate of diet-related diseases, primarily impacting people of color.

And yet the possibilities for gardens to flatten the curve in inequality are endless. In Corona, Queens, the garden at PS 14 was built in a concrete schoolyard after a science teacher, Bianca Biblioni, attended a Raised Bed Building workshop and picked up tools and seedlings from GrowNYC giveaway events outside of school hours. The garden is used for outdoor yoga, as a performance space for band and violin, and to teach culturally responsive-sustaining STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics.

For Bianca, the garden has been pivotal in engaging students with disabilities and English Language Learners because her students can observe concepts that are difficult to grasp in textbooks. Through the garden, Bianca introduces the ways in which plants are used across cultural diasporas from the Huichol people of Mexico to the Ashanti people of West Africa. They have also grown corn, beans, and squash, known as the “Three Sisters” in Native American culture, to learn about Lenape companion planting.

And last year, after the tragic passing of a student, classmates grew lavender, lemon balm, and mint for the school’s crisis center, where scent was used to soothe grieving students.

Without support from community partners, Bianca says the garden would not exist for her Title One school.

“I’m not sure how we would fund the garden, let alone train future teachers as garden leaders without partners like GrowNYC...Our kids would miss opportunities to connect our garden to the wider world.” Before Covid-19, nutrition education programs were already lacking in forty four percent of all elementary schools citywide according to A Is For Apple, a study of nutrition education programming conducted by Teachers College in March 2018.

Cutting garden programs erases years of work by dedicated volunteers like Bianca, making it disproportionately harder for under-resourced schools to receive the free materials they rely on to keep gardens growing, furthering the gap in education inequality. It is vital that our elected leaders, foundations, and individuals invest in these outdoor learning labs and nutrition education programs now more than ever. The health and wellbeing of our city’s children depends on it.

Author: Kristin Fields is the Director of GrowNYC’s School Gardens program, a former high school English teacher, and the author of two novels. All opinions are her own.

GrowNYC Statement of Solidarity Against Racial Injustice / Declaración de Solidaridad Contra la Injusticia Racia

June 19, 2020
Posted in GrowNYC

Change starts within. We hear the voices of the many who are coming together to cry out for long overdue corrections to unfair systems that too often and for too long have resulted in loss of income, opportunity, liberty, and life. GrowNYC does not want to pay lip service to concepts critical to our collective survival like justice, equality, police reform, and the end to systemic racism. We want to effect real and lasting change from within.

We say as an organization that Black Lives Matter.

We are committed to listening to and working side by side with our BIPOC colleagues to determine what comes next, and to developing an action plan to build, change, and grow our organizational culture. Accountability is key. We are pledged to:

  • Evaluate actions and resources that increase opportunity, reach, and services for internal and external stakeholders
  • Develop goals and metrics to measure that progress
  • Diversify our Board of Directors and staff in decision-making positions
  • Create a values statement and action plan with the help of a facilitator
  • Ensure that all staff and board have undergone anti-racism/anti-bias training
  • Create accountability guidelines
  • Examine and expand GrowNYC’s programmatic service delivery for greater equity
  • Engage in open conversations

In solidarity,
GrowNYC

***

El cambio empieza dentro de nosotros. Escuchamos las múltiples voces de quienes se están uniendo para clamar por correcciones muy atrasadas a los sistemas injustos que, con demasiada frecuencia y durante demasiado tiempo, han dado lugar a la pérdida de ingresos, oportunidades, libertad y vida. GrowNYC no quiere darse a la palabrería respecto a los conceptos críticos para nuestra supervivencia colectiva como son la justicia, la igualdad, la reforma policial y el fin del racismo sistémico. Queremos efectuar un cambio real y duradero desde dentro.

Declaramos como organización que las Vidas de los Negros Importan.

Estamos comprometidos a escuchar y trabajar hombro a hombro con nuestros colegas del BIPOC (Negros, Indígenas, y Personas de Color) para determinar lo que viene después, y a desarrollar un plan de acción para construir, cambiar y hacer crecer nuestra cultura organizativa. La rendición de cuentas es clave. Nos comprometemos a:

  • Evaluar las acciones y recursos que aumenten las oportunidades, el alcance y los servicios para los interesados internos y externos;
  • Desarrollar metas y métricas para medir ese progreso;
  • Diversificar nuestra Junta Directiva y el personal en puestos de toma de decisiones;
  • Crear una declaración de valores y un plan de acción con la ayuda de un facilitador;
  • Asegurarnos de que todo el personal y la junta hayan recibido entrenamiento en anti-racismo y anti-prejuicios;
  • Crear directrices de rendición de cuentas;
  • Examinar y ampliar la prestación de servicios programáticos de GrowNYC para una mayor equidad;
  • Participar en conversaciones abiertas;

En solidaridad,
GrowNYC

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

GrowNYC Celebrates 50 Years of Earth Day

March 22, 2020
Posted in GrowNYC | Tagged Earth Day

On this day 50 years ago, 20 million people across the country joined together to fight for a better future for our environment in what became the first Earth Day. The Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC), now GrowNYC, was born out of the spirit of that day in 1970. 

CENYC was initially a policy-based organization, writing comprehensive reports about quality of life issues like air pollution, traffic, and noise. Our city has changed a lot since then and so have we. As the largest and most established environmental organization in NYC, we are proud to have played a pivotal role in helping New York City transform over the past five decades. 

Now, 3 million New Yorkers each year participate in our programs. We envision a New York in which every New Yorker can flourish. Every garden. Every school. Every street. Every neighborhood. Every borough. 

As we all do our part to stay home and stop the spread of the coronavirus, there are still many ways you can have a positive impact on the environment: 

We believe collective actions make a difference. Together we can create a city and a planet that are sustainable and resilient for generations to come. 

Happy Earth Day!

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