Administered by the Council on the Environment of New York City, Greenmarket organizes and manages open-air markets in the city. Greenmarket began in 1976, when 12 farmers gathered to sell fresh produce in an empty lot at 59th Street and Second Avenue; within weeks, there were 18 farmers selling their produce to 4,000 people per hour. Six weeks later, two more locations opened.
Greenmarket’s purpose is to ensure that residents have a supply of fresh, local produce and that regional farmers have a place to sell their produce, keeping farms in business and preserving farmland in the Northeast United States.
Nowadays, close to 200 farmers, fishers and food producers sell produce and products directly to the public in 44 markets around the city – 16 of those markets remain open year-round. During the peak growing season, more than 300,000 people visit the markets each day. Visit the Web site at www.CENYC.org .
The success of New York’s Green-market program has spawned similar programs in a number of states, including California, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Louisiana and South Carolina. Search the Web for “farmers market programs.” Many of the states’ programs are offered in conjunction with Women, Infant and Children programs.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service formed the Farmer’s Market Consortium to help markets across the country with funding and resources. Visit the Web site at www.AMS.USDA.gov/farmersmarkets/Consortium/ResourceGuide.htm .
The National Association of Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs links the USDA programs, states and territories, local fruit and vegetable growers, families and community members in an effort to improve the health of Americans. Visit the Web site at www.NAFMNP.org .