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Help Extend the 82nd Street Greenmarket Year-Round!

Love the 82nd Street Greenmarket? Want to see it operate year-round, every Saturday? Voice your support by telling the Community Board!

UPDATE! The market was extended! The board voted to extend the 82nd Street Greenmarket to operate 52 weeks a year. Hooray! But feel free to continue reading the rest of this post.

There’s a potentially blocked proposal with CB8 to operate the market year-round. Wednesday’s Street Fair Committee declined to approve or disapprove (read below for why), leaving the question up to the Full Board meeting next Wednesday, November 17th, at 6:30 p.m. Come early to speak — members of the public must sign up by 6:45, and each will have three minutes to address the board.

But even if you don’t want to speak, come to show support in numbers. If you can’t make it, email them (include your address). Tell your friends. Post this flyer (or this GrowNYC flyer) in your building. If you want a 12-month market, it’s time for some effort. Whether at the meeting or by email, let’s show our enthusiasm.

    WHAT: Support Year-Round 82nd St Greenmarket
    WHEN: Wednesday, November 17th, 6:30 p.m.
    WHERE: CB8 Full Board Meeting, Auditorium, New York Blood Center, 310 East 67th Street (map)

Tell the Board what you value about the Greenmarket, and why you would like to see it run all year. If you want some ideas, heck out GrowNYC’s “Why Shop At Greenmarket?” page. And don’t forget the special Upper Green Side services and events like weekly battery and #5 recycling, or our Paper Shred-a-Thons! For the Street Fair Committee’s specific concerns, read on for our report and responses. (And, what would a winter market have? Scroll down to the end to find out!)

Street Fair Committee Concerns

This Wednesday, the Street Fair Committee voted to recommend keeping the market limited to July through December, as it was this year. We’re glad the market isn’t threatened, but members of Upper Green Side and the surrounding community feel the market should run year-round. Even Pastor Angelo at the host location, St. Stephen of Hungary Parish, agrees: he wrote a letter to the Committee in support of a year-round market.

Some members of the Street Fair Committee expressed concern that the vendors at the market don’t pay city taxes, unlike local brick-and-mortar businesses. Let’s think about the full picture. There are two parts to the food business: suppliers, and middle-men store operators.

The vendors at Greenmarkets are the suppliers, selling directly to you, the public. They do pay taxes — in the area of their farm or fishery, just like grocery store suppliers. But with the Greenmarkets, you know those taxes are staying in the Northeast region and predominantly in New York state. Meanwhile, supermarket suppliers are all over the country, or outside of it, paying taxes elsewhere.

Further, Greenmarket vendors are usually smaller operators who can’t sell to distributors, so the Greenmarkets also support a vibrant small business community — of suppliers rather than just middlemen. In fact, Greenmarket operation helps save farmland and supports sustainable land use in the region.

Now let’s talk about the city-tax-paying store operators. They pay taxes because they operate for private profit and use city real estate. Meanwhile GrowNYC is a nonprofit, a facilitator, empowering small regional suppliers to do business in the city. The suppliers they bring in pay a weekly fee for their tent space, and that funds GrowNYC’s operations.

And if you want to talk value for use of space: Greenmarkets enliven otherwise unused (or just-for-cars) street and parking lot space, reaping surplus value in community activity and social life, both as a festive shopping experience for local residents and as a face-to-face connection with the suppliers. You may not be able to measure it in dollars and cents, but you also can’t really get that experience at the supermarket. (And we won’t even get into ownership of chains like Gristedes and Food Emporium by bigger groups like Red Apple Group and The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, respectively. D’Agostino and Morton-Williams are family-owned chains.)

If you want to support dynamic community activity and street life, a robust and diverse local and regional economy, regional biodiversity, sustainable land use, and healthy food choices for the Upper East Side community, Greenmarkets sell themselves. Year-round operation of the 82nd Street Greenmarket, which has proven itself in well over five years of operation, should be a slam-dunk.

Winter Produce?

Yes! If you’re wondering, “Just what can farmers supply in the winter, anyway?” — while we don’t know exactly what the 82nd Street market would have January through June, we can say this: aside from meat, fish, cheese and wine, produce growers can sell storage vegetables, which can include onions, leeks, winter squashes, cabbages, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, celeriac, and turnips. In addition, many have greenhouses for winter growing of greens like salad mix, arugula, spinach, kale, chard, and other cold-hardy greens. Stick that in your fridge and enjoy!


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