2013-07-17 / Front Page

GrowNYC Greenmarket Initiatives

BY NICOLE DIANE SANCHEZ

Every Queens resident has seen them, groups of tents on the sidewalks selling fresh produce and natural products, from kale to apples, quiche to carrots, pies to honey based soaps.
The Greenmarket Farmers Market has been successful so far and has made itself very accessibile to the community with the acceptance of EBT/food stamp, WIC, FMNP and the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Health Buck Program at 51 locations throughout the city. There are several locations throughout Queens including Astoria (14th Street, between 31st Avenue and 31st Road), Corona, Elmhurst, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Socrates Sculpture Park, Sunnyside, Pomonok Community Greenmarket and the Ridgewood Youthmarket.


GrowNYC is the organization behind the Farmers Market. They have many other environmental initiatives both inside and outside the scope of the Farmers Market. Here are a few services that GrowNYC offers.


•Youthmarket: Eleven farm stands selling Greenmarket produce are run by young volunteers. They learn small business skills and provide more communities with healthy products. Internships to promote Youthmarket are also available. For more information, visit www.grownyc.org/youthmarket.
•Clothing and Textile Recycling: Textiles such as clothing, shoes, handbags, and belts are sold for reuse or to recycling agencies. This is offered in Jackson Heights weekly; one-day collections are available at other locations.
•Compost Collection: Household compost is transformed into fertile soil to use in gardening or farming projects. According to GrowNYC, you can store compost in plastic containers, plastic bags, or commercial compost pails; check www.nyc.gov/wasteless/compost project for more information. The four Queens locations (out of 11 citywide  drop off sites) are Jackson Heights, Forest Hills, Socrates Sculpture Park and Sunnyside.
•Youth Education Project: This program allows schoolchildren to experience what it’s like to be a Greenmarket chef or farmer  first-hand. School tours, classroom visits and field trips to regional farms or the Randall’s Island Learning Garden are available.
•New Farmer Development Project (NFDP): Immigrant farmers can receive aid through this program to start their own small farming business in the city. According to GrowNYC, NFDP farmers are particularly effective in reaching low-income populations and providing them with affordable produce.   
•Fresh Pantry Project: Farmers are able to donate produce to city pantries to provide the hungry with healthier options. Queens pantry collection sites include Elmhurst and Jackson Heights locations.
For more information on these programs and other initiatives held throughout the city, visit www.grownyc.org/.

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