Let's Build a New Farmers Market

Following the NYC Petrocollapse Conference Ianqui and I were talking about food. Food is definitely a weak spot for the NYC area in becoming self-sufficient. We have to develop more community gardens, local agriculture, and more connections between the regional farming community and the dense urban areas that have virtually no agriculture of their own.

My neighborhood, the Upper East Side is a wasteland of food sustainability. Sure there are some organic stores but there are no community gardens and no farmers markets. We can do better. I'd like to start organizing an effort to bring a farmers market to the area and maybe finding some space for a community garden or a roof garden.

The first good news on this effort is that I did hear back from the Democratic candidate in my area, Jessica Lappin and she wants to discuss the idea after the election. Definitely vote for her if you're in the 5th district. From now until then I want to start doing my homework on how to exactly go about this. I'd like to start looking for potential sites and figuring out who I might need to collaborate with. If you have any ideas, post them here.

Do you know the group More Gardens! in the South Bronx? They're excellent, have been fighting for community gardens for years, & Aresh from MG! may have ideas about or know people from the Upper East Side...

In general, I think the implications of Peak Oil for food security are well-understood yet much-neglected by many Peakniks, at the main The Oil Drum site especially. My post at The Oil Drum in Philly, "Peak Corn? As Wal-Mart Shifts from Petroleum to Corn, Farmers Flee the Crop", reveals a few of the problematic feedback loops that we're likely to face.

Peak Food is going to be an enormous issue. In the last few years, virtually overnight, China has gone from being self-sufficient in grain to a net importer of 100s of millions of tons.

What do you think about starting a new site for "A Community Discussion About Peak Food"?

Aresh actually spoke at Petrocollapse. I talked to him afterwards about vegetable gardens around Manhattan, and he said that there really aren't very many. The organization is pretty cool, but they seem to have their hands full in the Bronx, so I don't think they'll be starting up in Manhattan anytime soon.

There are lots of community gardens (www.cenyc.org), but hardly any of them are food gardens. But perhaps the Council on the Env't is the place to start. As for greenmarkets, there are a bunch on the upper west side, not on the east side. But that website is where to find who to contact re: green markets.

peakguy--I'm not the kind of person who's good at making contacts, but if you make headway somewhere, I'll help you out in the garden. The upper east side is certainly closer than the Bronx for me...

I have emailed the Council on the Environment, but no response yet. The local green area is Carl Schurz park, so maybe that's something I should get involved with but again they don't do food. When I walked past yesterday, I thought the large broad double horseshoe shaped pathway would be big enough for the farmer booths.
The East Harlem Business Capital Corporation is working on restoring a large and lively farmer's and fish market to Park Avenue from 111th to 116th Streets, under the Metro-North railroad viaduct where there are no cross-streets. The market, called La Marqueta, exists now only in very atrophied form and doesn't include any green grocers, to my knowledge. But the goal is to once again bring in numerous metropolitan area farmers and fishmongers and allow them to sell their products together in place, as in Union Square. The project will provide a marketplace for locally grown produce and create jobs in East Harlem. And it's not far from the Upper East Side. I'm sure the East Harlem Business Capital Corporation could use your help on this project, but I'm not sure how.