Photos from the Project Farmhouse Open House

May 1, 2017
Posted in GrowNYC

Project Farmhouse Open House

Photos by Vitaliy Piltser

Project Farmhouse opened its doors to the public on April 29th, with festivities that included cooking demos, garden workshops, recycling games, and lots of environmental education.

Thanks to everyone that came out, and we hope to see you all again soon!

Adaptive Farms: Resilient Tables

April 4, 2017

GrowNYC staffer Maria Rojas of Greenmarket's FARMroots program gave this incredible speech at the United Nations Development Program's Adaptive Farms: Resilient Tables event on April 3, 2017. 

My last four years of work at GrowNYC have been dedicated to preserving family farms, strengthening the local foodshed, and keeping our rich agricultural land in production. I first became interested in farming at my grandparents’ farm in Colombia. There I was exposed to the beauty and the hardship of farming. Before I was born, a volcano had swept through my family’s town and destroyed everything my grandparents had built -their home, their friends, their farm. They, like other farmers before them, chose to rebuild and it was this thriving farm where I spent my days.

Farmers have always been on the frontlines of nature and political whim. They hold the distinction of being highly vulnerable to climate change and at the same time offering a solution to the problem.

Despite these and many other challenges farmers remain stewards of the land, feed others, and build communities around them.

Over the past 120 years there has been a 2.4-degree increase in average temperatures in the Northeast. We have added 10 more frost free days to the season and have had to redraw our hardiness zone map to reflect that winters are now warmer that they used to be. Spring’s arrival is happening 4-13 days earlier, and we have had a 5-inch increase in precipitation, yet last year we had a severe drought in many parts of the state. The warmer winters might seem like a benefit to many, but not to farmers who lost 40-60 percent of their apples and almost 100 percent of their peaches and plums last year due to unprecedented temperature fluctuations. The average New Yorker would not be able to tell you that frost now comes 10 days later than normal, but a farmer would!

These changes are not insignificant and, unfortunately they are only the beginning of a wave of high impact deviations that the changing climate is set to bring. With it we can also expect changes in pest and weed pressure andplant and animal disease, as well as variations in crop yields. It is, by and large, a bleak picture as farming is set to become increasingly harder as our climate crisis worsens.

Farmers, although they operate as individual businesses, make up the agricultural foodshed upon which we rely on every day--increasingly so in times of disaster. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, it was this network of farmers that got into the hard-hit places and provided much needed food relief to the families that had been impacted. In the days following the storm, groceries stores were empty or closed but the farmers’ markets were up and running within 72 hours. The mobile terminals at the market used for processing EBT were some of the few places a family on a limited income could use their SNAP benefits. Farmers brought in 180,000 lbs of food which with the help of volunteer organizations was turned into hot meals. They brought not only food but also much needed fuel to help power up our trucks to make last mile deliveries to New Yorkers in need.

This is not a one-way relationship. When storms and other disasters have affected farmers, the community that has built around them has not stood by the wayside. In 2011, when Hurricane Irene swept through the northeast and flooded many of our farmers’ fields, New Yorkers came together to help them rebuild. In one-month, Greenmarket shoppers raised $135,000 that was then redistributed to 33 of the hardest hit farms. These small grants helped farmers keep the lights on, the fuel running, and jump start the rebuilding process.

The community that forms around local food is at the core of what makes the NYC foodshed resilient. The exchange of support and ideas and the determination to thrive together is the truest definition of community. At the markets, farmers bring with them not only produce, meat, cheese, and cider, but also news of the weather--of how their soil responded to last week’s rain event. They bring news of how their rural communities are being impacted by policy. They tell tales of what the farm was like when it started in 1921. In return, a NYC shopper originally from the Dominican Republic might bring a farmer some seeds of cilantro macho for the farmer to try, or tell the farmer of how her family depended on moringa in times of drought. A few might begin volunteering at the farm on weekends hoping to one day leave the city life to try their hand at farming themselves. This exchange is as rich as the soil the farmers grow on, and it is key to the existence of each. The farmers' market is a catalyst for community connection and for reconnecting with food that is not only good for us but also for the planet.

Tonight’s event is another model for how the building of communities and the exchange of ideas is critical to our survival in the face of a changing climate. The United States, having caused a disproportionate amount of emissions to the rest of the world, has a moral responsibility to transfer wealth, knowledge, and technology to developing countries. The United States also has a moral responsibility to listen to and learn from the climate change adaptation projects represented tonight and from farmers across the world who have always been the stewards of the land.

When I think about sustainability and food security, I think about the people that make up these systems. And as people who eat, we all do! I think of the neural-like system of influence traveling up and down the Hudson Valley--much like neurons, those connections are what forces us to grow, to change, and to adapt. And as we reinforce those pathways and human connections, we can only become ever more resilient.

Red Jacket Orchards Leaving Greenmarket

March 12, 2017
Posted in Greenmarket

A message from Red Jacket Orchards -- 

After more than 25 years with GrowNYC, Red Jacket Orchards will no longer be at the weekly Greenmarkets. We are humbled and immensely grateful for the support of our NYC customers—you’ve stood by us at every step, including our challenges with climate issues and crop loss, and we thank you. We are also deeply grateful to GrowNYC and their staff, as well as our own staff at the Greenmarkets.

It is your fierce commitment to local producers that sets the tone for purposeful consuming, and we encourage you to support the local purveyors at the Greenmarkets of NYC. For information about other farms at your market, visit GrowNYC. And of course, you will always be able to buy our fresh fruits and delicious cold pressed juices at stores in your community.

Greenmarket and Fresh Food Box Winter Schedule Changes

March 11, 2017
Posted in Greenmarket

Inclement weather in the city or in the greater region does affect markets;  markets may close early, or snow-bound farmers may not be able to make it into the city.

Get real-time, up-to-date information here: 
Union Square Daily List of Producers in Attendance and the Union Square Greenmarket App
*The Union Square Greenmarket will be OPEN on Labor Day, Monday 9/4/17 and Columbus Day, Monday 10/9/17

Manhattan Greenmarkets Facebook
Queens Greenmarkets Facebook
Brooklyn Greenmarkets Facebook 
Staten Island Greenmarkets Facebook
Farmer and Producer List and Social Media Links

 

Join the April Plastic Cleanse!

March 2, 2017

Help Greenmarket go plastic-free by bringing your own bags while shopping in the markets. New Yorkers dispose of 9.37 billion carryout bags a year, most of which are not recycled. Made from petroleum, plastic bags are contributing to environmental degradation around the world, clogging our oceans, and are an enormous waste of money. Pledge to bring your bags when shopping at Greenmarkets and help us go plastic-free! 

Tips for going plastic-free: 

1. Take the GreeNYC Pledge to bring your own mugs, water bottles, shopping bags and receive a free mug, bottle, or bag to get you started. 

2. Bring a variety of bags. One sturdy, large canvas bag and a few sizes of smaller reusable bags (canvas, mesh, cotton, ect). 

3. If you plan on buying fish, bring a reusable container, like a glass container with a plastic cover. Bring a cooler, lunch bag to store frozen or fresh meat.

4. Buy loaves of bread and instead of taking paper bag/plastic bag, store bread in a cotton bag and slice at home.

5. Compost! Close the loop by collecting your food scraps and dropping them off at our compost sites at most Greenmarkets. Collect your food scraps in an airtight container or a paper bag. Store your food scraps in the freezer to avoid unwanted smells.

6. If you forget to BYOB, you can buy reusable produce bags at the Market Information Tent. 

7. Reduce before you reuse or recycle. It costs money and energy to produce and recycle plastic bags. 

8. Say no thank you if you are offered a plastic bag - you brought your tote so you don't need one! 

9. Go #foamfree and quit using styrofoam for good. Learn more here

Join us for these additional special events and activities to help celebrate the April Plastic Cleanse!

Bag Sales at all Greenmarkets
Canvas tote bags and reusable produce bags will be for sale at most Greenmarkets and availble online. Purchase a starter kit of 1 canvas tote and 4 reusable produce bags for just $15!

GreeNYC at Greenmarkets 
April 3: Union Square Greenmarket 
April 6: Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket 

Plastic Bag Buy Back! 
April 8 & 15: Union Square Greenmarket 
Return your clean/dry and non-biodegradable/compostable plastic bags and receive 5 cents per bag! Participants will participate in a short survey about recycling habits. 

Kathleen Merrigan at Project Farmhouse

February 20, 2017

On Monday, February 13th, in an event co-hosted with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pace Law School, GrowNYC’s Project Farmhouse welcomed Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of Sustainability at the George Washington University and former Deputy Secretary of the USDA, in a conversation about the evolution of food law and policy.

It was an educational and enlightening evening, with a conversation that included everything from the current state of American politics (in relation to food and farming) to crop insurance to the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill.

Watch the event in its entirety here:

Project Farmhouse Open House on April 29th!

February 16, 2017
Posted in GrowNYC

Join us for the official opening of Project Farmhouse, NYC's newest center for sustainability and education!

Festivities begin at 11 am with the ribbon cutting of the Boffi Soho Teaching Kitchen, followed by cooking demos by Gaggenau Chef Eric Morales, and Chef Peter Hoffman; refreshments donated by Whole Foods, Cava and Bread Alone; raffle for goodies from Breville and WÜSTOFF; a Greenmarket photo booth; take-home DIY planters; recycling games; environmental action center; and much more!

Saturday, April 29
11 am - 4 pm
GrowNYC's Project Farmhouse
76 East 13th Street (Manhattan)
NY, NY 10003

 

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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