Farmer Assistance Team

Tracy Lerman
Farmer Assistance Director

Tracy Lerman is GrowNYC’s Assistant Director for Regional Agriculture. In this role, she heads up GrowNYC’s Farmer Assistance team, which provides training and technical assistance to growers who aspire to or currently sell at GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets, their network of more than 55 farmers markets around New York City. Prior to her work with GrowNYC, she was the Executive Director of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG), a 12-state, multi-sector network of farm and food practitioners working to strengthen the movement for a just and sustainable food system. She has a master’s degree in Community Development from the University of California Davis where her research examined the efficacy of various marketing strategies purported to help small and midsized sustainable growers be more profitable. She lives in Kingston, NY, with her husband, an organic farmer and beekeeper, young daughter, and dog.

You can reach Tracy at:

Christian Aponte
Beginning Farmer Program Specialist - La Nueva Siembra Lead

Christian Andrés Aponte Sáez (they/he/she) is an educator, writer, dancer, gardener, aspiring farmer, and activist. As an educator, they have served within several fields ranging from bike education, boat build instruction, college access and preparation, and foreign language instruction: English, Spanish & Portuguese. Their activism is focused on healing justice, language justice, financial literacy, and land tenure/land rights. In their role at as the Beginner Farmer Education Specialist, they provide access to technical knowledge through offering business and farm financial planning tools. courses, and resources to program participants and Greenmarket producers in both Spanish & English. They are a teacher of Capoeira Angola, a Bomba dancer, and urban cyclist. Christian is a Fulbright scholar (Brazil, 2014) and graduate of Carnegie Mellon with a B.S. in Global Studies and Latin American Studies. 

You can reach Christian Aponte at:

Erik Hassert
Strategic Marketing Manager

Erik's connection with food first began while cooking in kitchens on the Jersey Shore as a teenager.  While studying art at college in upstate New York and after moving to New York City, the importance of supporting agriculture as a means to enriching communities upstate and downstate became apparent. 

In 2009, Erik shifted from a career in video production and photography to train and work as a butcher at a whole animal butcher shop in NYC which sourced from farms in the Northeast.  Working closely with those farmers to help deliver and market their products led Erik to his position at Sun Fed Beef as the Director of Sales and Operations.  During his time there and while working alongside GrowNYC over the last five years, Erik has helped farms to develop their brands, add new product lines, increase customer engagement, design websites and analyze potential markets to increase profitability, diversify revenue streams and minimize risks.

As the Strategic Marketing Manager, Erik is responsible for a full suite of marketing programming for farmers including at-market display optimization, Point of Sale implementation, customer behavioral analysis, market channel assessment, enterprise costs, supply chain strategy, sales forecasting and scaling up to wholesale.

You can reach Erik Hassert at:
(p) 201-602-8241

Join us for an intimate night supporting GrowNYC with a fabulous 3-course meal and cocktails by Gotham, live music, and sparkling conversation all in a classic New York setting.

  • Food Access & Agriculture

    Our network of Greenmarket farmers markets, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box sites, coupled with GrowNYC Wholesale, ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food.

  • Zero Waste

    We provide food scrap drop-offs, clothing collections, Stop 'N' Swap® community reuse events, and zero waste trainings to make resource conservation easy for all.

  • Green Space

    We build and rejuvenate community gardens and urban farms in all 5 boroughs, and support even more gardens through volunteer days, technical assistance, school garden grants, & more.

  • Education

    We foster future environmental stewards by providing 66,000 children each year with programs that provide meaningful interactions with the natural environment.