Hester Street Greenmarket is Out; LES Youthmarket is In
Here’s a good news/bad news story. First, the bad: the Sunday Hester Street Greenmarket will not be returning to the Lower East Side this summer. For the past few years, Grow NYC tried to make a go of it — first on Grand Street and then on Essex, alongside the Hester Street Fair. Unfortunately, there was never sufficient demand for the farm-fresh produce being offered by the three or four farms represented. So the city has decided to call it quits.
Now the good news. Another Grow NYC program, Youthmarket, is coming to the LES. Here’s how the initiative is described on their web site:
Youthmarket is a network of urban farm stands operated by neighborhood youth, supplied by local farmers, and designed to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to communities throughout New York City. Through Youthmarket, families in all five boroughs now have increased access to farm fresh food; youth in these areas have earned money and learned small-business skills; and farmers in the New York City region are achieving higher revenue through access to under-served markets. Partly as a result of the inaccessibility of affordable fresh fruits and vegetables, many neighborhoods in New York City are experiencing epidemic rates of diet-related disease like obesity and diabetes. At the same time, the NYC Dept. of City Planning reports that more and more supermarkets are closing. Youthmarket, which is based on the Greenmarket model, seeks to overcome this problem by linking regional farmers with underserved consumers in New York City. Communities benefit from an influx of fresh, healthy food and farmers access new markets without the costs associated with retailing.
The market debuts July 10th and will be offered Sundays through October. If you’re a community-based organization interested in partnering with Youthmarket, contact Olivia Blanchflower, Youthmarket Program Coordinator, at (212) 341-0476 or email her here.
Just to clarify, the Hester Street Greenmarket might be a goner. But the Hester Street Fair is alive and well. Fair organizers released the list of vendors for opening day (May 7th) earlier this week.