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Explore GrowNYC with NYC Ferry

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October 1, 2021 Rae Baker

Wherever you’re traveling on NYC Ferry, you are sure to encounter the impact of GrowNYC!

GrowNYC, an environmental nonprofit. has been serving New Yorkers for over 50 years – 50 years! – providing residents with opportunities to live more environmentally sustainable lives.

When the city shut down in 2020, GrowNYC’s food access sites, including Greenmarkets, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box locations, were deemed essential. Supporting approximately 250 regional farmers and producers, GrowNYC markets remained open and safe as a source of fresh, healthy food for residents throughout the five boroughs. All GrowNYC Greenmarkets, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box sites accept SNAP/EBT.

GrowNYC is also devoted to creating green space, having built nearly 150 gardens–community gardens and gardens in public housing developments, churches, daycares, and senior centers. Each year, GrowNYC builds 10 new gardens in locations throughout NYC and completes an additional 25 renovation projects. They facilitate the creation of sustainable gardens in New York City public schools and, since 2010, have established a network of over 800 school gardens throughout the city.

To provide New York City school students with a hands-on means to learn about farming, GrowNYC created its Teaching Garden at Governors Island, a one-acre urban farm. Initially established as a field trip destination to engage and excite children about agriculture, last year the Teaching Garden transformed into a production garden, growing food to distribute through partner organizations to New Yorkers hard hit by the pandemic. With school back in session, GrowNYC hopes that field trips will return as well, giving kids the opportunity to take a ferry ride to plant, water, harvest, and cook the garden’s variety of vegetables and herbs. Starting November 1st, Governors Island will be open year-round, and NYC Ferry will provide expanded service to the island 7 days a week.

The Teaching Garden is open to the public on weekends from noon to 4pm. And it’s not just for kids—adult groups are welcome to contact the Garden for tours. GrowNYC’s educational efforts go far beyond the Teaching Garden: Greenmarket tours are back, too! School tours of Greenmarkets are available in fall and spring for grades K-12. There are also tours and presentations available for older adult centers and nonprofit organizations, as well as for professional and university groups. Lessons about farming in our region, the food system, and how food choices impact our bodies are valuable at any age. For anyone who is unable to make it in person, GrowNYC’s Distance Learning webpage is a goldmine of environmental, cooking, and gardening lessons and activities.

All kinds of choices matter, and GrowNYC actively helps New Yorkers target a more sustainable future in many ways. They host food scrap drop-off sites at a growing number of Greenmarket locations near NYC Ferry stops, so that residents can divert organic materials from landfills and transform them into nutrients for our soil (not methane!). GrowNYC also hosts community re-use events called Stop-n-Swaps, and they help schools achieve zero waste goals.

Great cities are made better when all citizens live healthy and enriching lives. New Yorkers, look for GrowNYC programming when you disembark and visit the GrowNYC map to plan your NYC Ferry tour of all their great sites.

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