Our network of farmers markets, Youthmarkets, Fresh Food Box pick-ups, and Greenmarket Co. ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food.
You can also download this guide as a PDF.
We are excited you have decided to bring your students to visit one of our Greenmarket farmers market locations. Greenmarket Youth Education is devoted to teaching K-12 students about the benefits of eating local, seasonal, and healthy food during our interactive guide-led program, School Tours at the Greenmarket.
We highly recommend stopping by the Market Information tent upon arrival to check in with our market manager on-site who can provide you and your students with a great deal of information about the market and our farmers, as well as give you tips on how to best spend your time at their market!
Please read below for a few important things to consider when visiting the market with students, as well as some interesting facts and fun activities to do while you’re there.
During your visit, we would greatly appreciate if you’d please follow these simple, but important rules in order to keep the market running smoothly and our farmers happy:
1. Provide ample supervision for your students, especially if they are young. We recommend 1 adult per every 5 students. The market can be very busy and we don’t want anyone to get lost or injured.
2. Be mindful of the farmers’ ability to sell their goods. It is fine to visit the stands and even ask them questions, but do not block the stands from shoppers trying to get in or speak to the farmers when they are busy helping other customers.
3. Please remind your students not to touch any items or take samples at farm stands unless they ask the farmer’s permission. Many of their products are fragile and can get damaged or bruised easily.
Here are some interesting ideas to discuss and notice while at the market:
1. Greenmarket farmers travel a median distance of 90 miles from their farm to New York City, and grow or produce all of the items they sell at Greenmarket on their farm.
2. At the Greenmarket you are purchasing food directly from the person who grew, raised, caught, baked, or produced it.
3. All of the fruits and vegetables you see at the market are grown the Northeast region of the United States. You will never see citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes), bananas, avocados or other fruits or vegetables that do not grow in our climate at the market.
4. Almost all the fruits and vegetables you see at the market right now are in season, meaning that this is the time of year when these fruits and vegetables are harvested in our region. You will never see a pumpkin in May or strawberries in December. There are a few exceptions, such as apples, which are harvested in the fall but are able to be stored and kept fresh for many months. There are also greens and herbs grown in greenhouses that are available throughout the year.
5. Notice how many different types of stands are represented in the market. In addition to all the vegetable farms, there are orchards (fruit tree farms), livestock farms, poultry farms, dairy farms, fisherman, bakeries and honey, wine, jam, jelly, maple syrup and pickled-product producers with items for sale. Over 230 producers total are represented at the Greenmarket.
6. Many fruits and vegetables at the grocery store are trucked hundreds or thousands of miles from fields in California, Florida and Central or South America to the store, using immense amounts of fuel and compromising their freshness and nutritional value. Produce sold at the Greenmarket comes directly from farms located within 200 miles, so they are fresher, taste better, are better for your body and better for the environment.
7. Greenmarkets build community support for local agriculture which helps farmers earn a living and protects over 30,000 acres of farmland in our region from real-estate development.
8. Greenmarket farmers help support genetic biodiversity by growing a wide variety of crops. These include 47 varieties of peas and beans, 120 varieties of apples, 170 varieties of tomatoes, 350 varieties of peppers.
Here are some interesting things to do while at the market:
- Ask a farmer if they have a moment for your students to ask them a few questions about their life as a farmer: What is a typical morning like? What time did they get up? How did they get to market? When was their produce harvested/bread baked/fish caught?
- Purchase some fruits or vegetables the students may not have had before and conduct a tasting activity using all of their senses. Talk together as a group about how the item smells, how it feels to the touch, what it looks like, what kind of texture it has when being chewed, and what it tastes like. Some ideas for this activity include tasting fresh herbs, sugar snap peas, sprouts, watermelon radishes or several apple varieties. Please keep in mind that all items need to be washed before tasting.
- Look for different type of a familiar produce item such as purple potatoes, red carrots, white cucumbers or yellow tomatoes. Have students count the number of apples, tomatoes or winter squash they come across during their visit and explain to students how Greenmarket farmers preserve our biodiversity by growing many heirloom varieties you can’t find in supermarkets.
- Almost all foods come from a farm, even ones you wouldn’t think of like pizza or cookies. Choose a type of food to deconstruct, such as pizza, and look together for those items (cheese, tomatoes, flour/bread, basil, sausage) to help students understand how the foods they eat all trace back to farms.
- Buy seedlings to take back and grow in the classroom or garden.
- During the days leading up to your visit to the market, save student food scraps (banana peels, apple cores, etc) and bring them to the Greenmarket to drop off and be composted. For a list of acceptable food scraps and drop-off sites visit here: http://www.grownyc.org/compost/locations.
- Allow the students time to shop for items to take back and prepare a seasonal recipe together back at school. Stop by the market manager tent inside the market for recipe ideas!