Posts tagged ‘local food’

Urban Farm Builds Roots at Battery Park

© Photo by Margarida Correia. See caption at bottom of post.

The temporary one-acre urban farm that opened in April at the Battery is not so temporary anymore.  It will shift to a new location in the park when a planned bike path comes through in 2012, said Warrie Price, founder of the Battery Conservancy, a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing the Battery at the tip of Manhattan.

“It’s been too much of a great positive thing for the neighborhood and for us as an organization,” she said as she made her rounds amid rows of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans and a riot of other crops on Saturday.

Since it opened, the farm has received a great deal of media attention with Inhabitat New York City naming it one of the city’s top five urban farms. It’s been a hit with neighborhood school children, Lower Manhattan residents and local community groups who “adopted” or planted half of the 100-plus vegetable beds.  It also drew hundreds of volunteers eager to help the Battery run the operation.

“This is a dream come true,” said the farm’s manager Camilla Hammer, as a bevy of volunteers swirled around her with shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows. (more…)


September 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm 1 comment

LOCAL FOOD News Roundup

It’s a Match:  B&Bs and Local Food Producers

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets received a $74,000 grant to link local food producers with bed-and-breakfast operators throughout the state.  The State Agriculture Department — in cooperation with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County and a host of farming and food producer groups — will use the funds to organize regional opportunities for B&B owners to meet local producers and sample their products. (more…)

August 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

NYC Rooftop Growers Catch a Break

After years of frustration, urban rooftop farmers now have reason to celebrate.  Last month, the New York City Council passed legislation that will make the lives of rooftop growers a little easier.  The legislation will help both greenhouse farmers and those that grow outdoors on soil-covered roofs. (more…)

August 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm Leave a comment

LOCAL FOOD News Roundup

Local Food Advocates Named to Regional Economic Development Council

Two local food advocates were appointed to Gov. Cuomo’s New York City Regional Economic Development Council:  Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC, the nonprofit behind the city’s thriving network of Greenmarkets; and Steve Hindy, president of the Brooklyn Brewery.

The New York City Regional Economic Development Council is one of 10 regional councils Gov. Cuomo launched last month to drive local economic development and improve the business climate statewide.  Each council will compete for state funding from a total pot of up to $1 billion in economic development aid. (more…)

August 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

NYC Council Proposes Law to Increase City’s Local Food Purchasing

The New York City Council is moving forward on a proposal it made in its FoodWorks report last November:  it is pushing for a new law encouraging city agencies to buy food from New York State.

The proposed legislation — introduced by Council Member Gale Brewer and eight other representatives — will require the city’s chief procurement officer to develop and publish food purchasing guidelines for city agencies within six months of the law’s enactment.  It also calls for the submission of an annual report to the speaker of the City Council detailing each agency’s efforts to implement the new food purchasing guidelines, including how much local food each agency purchased in the preceding fiscal year.

Food from New York State — referred to in the legislation as “New York state food” — is defined as food products whose essential components are grown, produced or harvested in New York State or food products that are processed in facilities located within New York State.

A public hearing on the proposed law was held today.

February 9, 2011 at 2:31 am Leave a comment

New Commercial Kitchen to Help Food Start-Ups

Finally there’s hope for La Marqueta, the ailing marketplace in Spanish Harlem that was once a commercial hotspot for the Latino community.   The push for local food has propelled the New York City Council and the Economic Development Corporation to build a 3,000-square-foot commercial kitchen in one of the surviving buildings of the city-owned market.  The commercial kitchen will serve as an incubator for start-up artisanal and ethnic food businesses in New York City.

The $1.5 million kitchen, which is expected to open in the next few months, is part of an initiative to create affordable space for food manufacturers, said Council Speaker Christine Quinn in a speech introducing a plan to increase the availability of regional food in New York City.

Hot Bread Kitchen, a social enterprise dedicated to training immigrant women in artisanal baking and helping them launch food businesses, will be the incubator’s anchor tenant and run the “incubates” program.  The maker of multi-ethnic breads expects to have 19 businesses working out of the incubator by the end of the first year.  It aims to have 29 businesses in operation in five years, with 19 graduating from the incubator annually.  By the end of five years, Hot Bread Kitchen plans to have 116 jobs created, according to a press release.

The new facility will have two production kitchens, two prep kitchens, a chocolate kitchen, a specialty production space and dough room, as well as dry and cold storage areas.  It will be fully equipped for multiple uses and made available on a part-time or full-time rental basis.

The incubates program is open to all early stage businesses, with priority given to food entrepreneurs from the Harlem community.  Participants rent kitchen space at below-market rates and receive business training and culinary support.

For more information about the program, please click here.

December 4, 2010 at 8:00 pm Leave a comment

Local Food Movement Gains Ground

At what point is a movement no longer a movement?  When its ideas and principles become mainstream.

The local food movement is rapidly approaching that moment.  More and more celebrities are backing local food, and now even venture capital firms and Corporate America are paying attention to the rumblings of the masses over how their food is grown.

Just last week, TV personality Rachael Ray and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a public-private partnership to help schools build gardens and provide cooking and nutrition education to urban youths.  In addition to providing school grants of $500 – $1,000, the initiative supports a variety of school gardening and cooking projects, including summer internships for teens.

Corporations, too, are building gardens as a perk for employees.  According to a recent New York Times article, companies across the nation — Yahoo, Google, Toyota, Best Buy, Intel, Target, Kohl’s and Aveda among them — see corporate gardens as a way to boost employee morale and health and build teamwork at a time when they can’t afford to give employees pay raises or bonuses.  Power company Chesapeake Energy, for example, created a $500,000 garden in Oklahoma City the size of a city block and hired someone, the reporter wrote, “to tend the crops when employees can’t.”

Venture capital firms have sniffed opportunity in the local food movement and are eager to fund promising ventures.  New Seed Advisors, a New York advisory startup firm that brings together local food and farm entrepreneurs and investors, in March hosted a conference — Agriculture 2.0 — in Palo Alto, Calif., that drew a crowd of venture capitalists, according to this article in the New York Times.  Many investors asked that the conference also be held in Canada, Europe and India.

Ordinary Americans, too, are fixated with growing their own food, in some cases experimenting with wacky new food production methods such as upside-down planters.   In this New York Times article, reporter Michael Tortorello writes about growing interest in home hydroponics and aquaponics systems. These indoor growing systems are the greenhouse equivalent of Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory, complete with pumps, water tanks and a labyrinth of pipes, valves and drains.

On multiple fronts, the local food movement is gaining ground.  And as it does, it ironically will cease to be.

May 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

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