GrowNYC's Beginner Gardener Intensive, June 1-4

May 24, 2021

Join us for a week-long virtual workshop series to get your garden project started!

This series, comprised of four interactive virtual gardening, runs from Tuesday June 1st - Friday June 4th, and it will feature a different gardening workshop each day from 4pm-5pm (ET).

You can choose which workshops to tune into (or join us for them all!):

Tuesday 6/1: Garden Basics!

Wed 6/2: Soil Health and Compost

Thursday 6/3: Increasing Garden Production (Outdoor Growing)

Friday 6/4: Indoor Gardening Ideas

This event is great for first-time gardeners, experienced gardeners who want a refresher, indoor apartment gardeners, backyard gardeners, school gardeners, and more! Each workshop is around 45 minutes long with an audience Q&A at the end.

Here's the link to register.

A Zoom link will be emailed to attendees.

If you have questions, email schoolgardens@grownyc.org

Can't make the sessions? Recordings and follow up materials will be posted on grownycdistancelearning.org after each session.

Sign our Petition to Restore Funding!

April 1, 2021
Posted in Greenmarket

Have you signed our petition yet? Right now, our local elected officials are negotiating NYC’s annual budget. Help us ask the City Council and Mayor to:

  • Restore GrowNYC's compost program to pre-COVID funding levels
  • Increase City Council's support for our food access programs

If you’ve already signed, THANK YOU! Please share our petition widely and follow SaveOurCompost on FacebookTwitter, and/or Instagram for updates.

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.  

Goodbye Plastic T-Shirt Bags April 1!

January 28, 2021
Posted in Greenmarket

Beginning April 1, GrowNYC Greenmarkets, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box locations are banning single-use plastic t-shirt bags.

What is banned?

Greenmarket Producers, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box locations will no longer be providing single-use plastic and compostable bags with handles.

Tips for going plastic-free: 

1. BYOBs! Bring your own reusable tote and produce bags while shopping. Don't forget to pack a big general tote bag and smaller bags and containers for individual items.    

2. Carry a few extra reusable totes with you at all times.  

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

4. Take the Commit to Bring It Pledge to bring your own mugs, water bottles, shopping bags.

 

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!






 

Apply for the GrowNYC Mini Grant 2021

January 26, 2021

NYC DOE K-12 public and charter schools can apply for the GrowNYC Mini Grant! Eligible schools can apply for $500-$2000 in credit to a garden supply store to build or expand school gardens and outdoor learning spaces. The deadline to submit an application is February 15th, 2021 at 11:59pm(ET). To apply and learn more, visit grownycgrant.paperform.com

Here are a few resources that may help with your application:

Grant Writing Workshop: We are hosting a virtual Grant Writing Workshop on January 27th, 2021 at 4pm ET. RSVP on eventbrite. The workshop is not required, but is highly suggested, especially since our grant is different this year from previous years.

Grant FAQs: read about eligibility requirements, changes from past grant cycles, and more. If you have additional questions, email us at schoolgardens@grownyc.org 

Outdoor Learning Toolkit: This guide developed by GrowNYC and the National Wildlife Federation is meant to help schools in the planning and implementation of outdoor learning spaces in NYC. It can be a helpful resource as you plan your grant proposal.

Sample Application: Use this template to prepare your answers with your school committee. We recommend copy and pasting the questions into a word document or google doc. Before applying, you will also need to prepare the required documents to attach: a map of the proposed garden/outdoor learning space, a signed Principal's letter of approval, and a detailed budget spreadsheet.

Grant Application: Must be completed in one sitting. Make sure you have prepared your responses and required documents beforehand. Only one application per school - duplicate applications will be disqualified. Co-located schools can apply separately.

New York Seafood Summit

January 26, 2021
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged seafood

New York Sea Grant, in collaboration with industry, academic and other professional seafood stakeholders, including GrowNYC, is hosting its annual New York Seafood Summit virtually this year, in English and Spanish.

The goal of the summit is to convene a group of enthusiastic professionals with vested interest in seafood to build active communications between the various sectors of New York's seafood industry. 

Each year at the summit we try to highlight some of New York’s bountiful seafood supply and introduce participants to the delicious, diverse, and versatile seafood’s available locally. 

Participants must register in advance for panels and discussions. Registration information here.

NOTE: Click Here to view in Spanish (haga clic aquí para ver en español)

The 2021 Seafood Summit will be going virtual!

Monday, February 22nd 3-4 PM
Culinary Discussion and Demonstration with Chef Victoria Blamey | Register Here

Tuesday, February 23rd 3-4 PM - Flyer (PDF)
Recirculating Aquaculture in New York with John Ng of Hudson Valley Fisheries | Register Here

Wednesday, February 24th 3-4 PM
New York Fisheries with Captain Peter Haskell | Register Here

Thursday, February 25th 3-4 PM
Seafood Retail in NY with Fishmonger Warren Kremin | Register Here

Friday, February 26th 3-5 PM
Participant Lightning Talks
Any participant interested in sharing a program, project, or resource with the summit audience is welcome to submit a 2-3-minute lightning talk (Click Here). These talks will need to be pre-recorded and submitted to NY Sea Grant.

Industry Panel on Resilience to Crisis | Register Here
Industry and agency panelist will discuss the challenges of the 2020 pandemic, how it affected different sectors and how different sectors did or could adapt to the significant economic changes and be more resilient in the future.

We hope to see you at the 2021 Seafood Summit!

You can check out a news archive that highlights previous seafood summits.

Also, there's a story map highlighting the New York Seafood Summit, which began in 2016 as a means of highlighting seafood efforts across New York and provide an opportunity for cross sector collaboration.

Notice of Recall, Maine Grains

January 26, 2021
Posted in Greenmarket

January 26, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Product Recall

Allergy Alert of Undeclared Soy in Organic Yellow Peas

GrowNYC is recalling Organic Yellow Peas from Maine Grains, Inc. of Skowhegan, Maine because it may contain undeclared soybeans. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to soy run the risk of serious or life- threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

This recall affects Organic Yellow Peas purchased from GrowNYC between 10.17.2019 and 12.31.2020 and is limited to Organic Yellow Peas sourced from Maine Grains, Inc. Please check your product’s source label to confirm the origin or contact us for further assistance.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that organic soybeans of similar size, shape and color to organic yellow peas were mistakenly labeled as Organic Yellow Peas and shipped to GrowNYC for further packing. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was caused by supplier error.

Consumers who have purchased Organic Yellow Peas sourced from Maine Grains are urged to return the product to GrowNYC for a full refund. Customers with questions may contact GrowNYC at grains@grownyc.org with subject line, “Recall”.

Please see the attached notice from Maine Grains for further information and contact.

Best,

Marcel Van Ooyen
President / CEO

 

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