Red Tape at Green Markets

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President, discusses a recent report, "Red Tape, Green Vegetables: A Plan to Improve New York City's Regulations for Community-Based Farmers Markets," and his proposals for what can make the system easier.  Karen Washington, an urban farmer based at the Garden of Happiness in the Bronx, joins the conversation and talks about the procedure for farmers getting into green markets.


Scott M. Stringer and Karen Washington

Comments [22]


Nothing new--the NY Times published a piece, "Local Carrots and Red Tape", a few years ago...

Apr. 19 2011 08:22 PM
john from office

Ouch, point well taken.

Apr. 19 2011 02:00 PM


The prices are the same up here in "farm" country, and there is less distance to travel. I think we have a false impression that small scale farming should be cheaper because it's local. But actually, running a small farm is a very expensive proposition and the price of the products reflect that.

Apr. 19 2011 01:36 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

john--where do you get your lingo? MTV? painting entire neighborhoods (or ethnicities--whatever you mean by your adjacency to this HOOD) with a broad brush is simply ignorant. every HOOD has people who eat well, and those who eat badly--plenty of fat, well-off people waddling about the entire city.

go to a farmers market in a HOOD sometime, and see that there are consumers for the produce, everywhere one is planned; that is, IF you can tear yourself away from rush limbaugh, or wherever you get your enlightened ideas.

Apr. 19 2011 12:31 PM

The idea of a Farmers Market or Fresh Produce Market is great, especially in neighborhoods that doesn't have stores that carry fresh produce. However, not one is addressing the cost of Farmers Market produce: I find them exorbitant and not competitive at all. I feel those 'farmers' or owners of the businesses are out for making huge profits, not really serving a community or doing good. If I, a middle class citizen, feel that I can't afford those prices, how could people less afluent afford them? I personally prefer independent vendors on street corners because their produce is fresh or even fresher, they are more competative and work at a lower prodit margin making what they sell more affordable.

Apr. 19 2011 12:28 PM
Douglas Montgomery from Douglaston Queens

After a year and a half effort, the community of Douglaston Queens is very close to having a Grow NYC Farm Market at the train station. We just received approval from the Transportation Sub Committee and go infront of the entire CB11 on the 2nd of May for a July 2011 initiation. What a wonderful opportunity.

Apr. 19 2011 11:54 AM
john from office

That Girl, I live in the HOOD, or close to it. I see the waste, bad habits and poor eating choices. I also see alot and I mean alot of fat people. They have to want to change and they dont.

Apr. 19 2011 11:54 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

john, office, or whatever the h*ll you're calling yourself--no one's legislating anything. it's simply about making good produce available to all, regardless of neighborhood.

there's no imposition being asked--just availability. unfortunately, your point of view doesn't allow you to know the difference. good thing you're not responsible for anyone's welfare in this equation.

Apr. 19 2011 11:51 AM

First and 93rd, not exactly the ghetto.

Apr. 19 2011 11:47 AM
ellen from Manhattan

We have a very successful market on First Ave & 93rd St. right in front of a public housing complex.
It's taken time but as they add more and more services it's really become a good thing!

Apr. 19 2011 11:45 AM
john from office

The KFC crowd will not change, alot of wishful thinking and fgancy words

Apr. 19 2011 11:45 AM

Seattle? Tiny, tiny minority population. comparing apples to hazelnuts.

Apr. 19 2011 11:44 AM

Bodega's don't have the space for fresh fruit and vegetables. It's a whole other operation and a whole other way to run your business.

Apr. 19 2011 11:43 AM

Actually, i don't think everyone wants to eat healthy. But I agree that one should have a choice to do so.

Apr. 19 2011 11:41 AM
TamKat from Brooklyn

CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) are a good idea too - they bring together the community and farmers. What can be tough is that there is an up front fee that can be steep. But if a CSA can offer subsidized shares, half shares or monthly payments that start earlier in the year so that people can spread out their payments, CSA's can offer fresh produce, fruits and other products to communities.

Apr. 19 2011 11:40 AM

The initial point of locating the market in the City of Poughkeepsie was for poorer residents to have access to fresh vegetables...and then it was moved to a "more" affluent, it can be difficult for the farm community to make money in these poorer areas.

Apr. 19 2011 11:39 AM
Serena Chen from Prospect Heights

I used to work in Jamaica, Queens a block away from the AirTrain/LIRR station. The food choices in the area were less than ideal: fast food, large portions, sub-standard ingredients. There's a huge empty lot directly across the street from the station, no doubt a product of the crashed economy. How wonderful would it be to have a market there, and give the neighborhood healthy choices!

But I don't think the barriers to farmers markets lie just with permitting for farmers, but more with the mentality of those in outer boroughs that eating healthy costs too much, or isn't as tasty, or is a gentrified lifestyle where "the man" is telling them what to do. (i.e., These are constituents who vehemently opposed the soda tax, not because it's unhealthy, but because it's a tax.) We need more education and less silly lobbying for the sake of a few extra cents.

Apr. 19 2011 11:38 AM
office from office

My experience has been you cannot enforce proper eating habits. I see the soda and chips and the KFC crowd, ignoring the farmers Market. Alot of wishful thinking.

Same with smoking, all the ads in the world have not changed the bad habit of smoking.

Apr. 19 2011 11:37 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

The farmers market in Washington Heights, by NYP Hospital, always does extremely well. Most of the stalls take EBT or other food assistance program, and the community residents are more heavily represented among the patrons than the hospital staff and other Columbia/Cornell employees.

Apr. 19 2011 11:37 AM

I live in "farm" country. A farmer's market was started in the City of Poughkeepsie, I guess it ran for a couple of years. I learned that they moved it to a slightly better area to take advantage of the foot traffic by the Walkway on the Hudson.

Are poor people an ethnic group?

Apr. 19 2011 11:36 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

i <3 scott stringer--a man for the people!

please help chelsea establish a farmers market!

Apr. 19 2011 11:34 AM
Richard from LI, NY

How small can a vendor be to sell local produce? ie. Can a suburban organic farmer (Great Neck, NY) sell? how do i become a vendor.

Apr. 19 2011 11:33 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.