Last year, the final week of November marked the end of the season for the GrowNYC markets at Lincoln Hospital and the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center in the Bronx. For many residents, not having access to their local farm stand meant a season of traveling to Manhattan and other boroughs where some markets remain open year-round.
Without access to healthy food, a nutritious diet and good health is out of reach. Yet, more than 1.2 million residents of New York City live in lower income communities with limited access to healthy food retail. In the Bronx, where health outcomes rank last among all 62 counties in New York State, accessing fresh and affordable produce can be a challenge.
Tiffany, a Bronx resident says she visits the Lincoln Hospital Greenmarket every Friday. This past week, she purchased the produce that she served her family for Thanksgiving at the Lincoln Hospital market.
“I would come here in the Winter if the fruit and vegetable stands were here all year-round,” she said. “I come here to get my collard greens for Thanksgiving because they are very hard to find, they are fresh and here they’re reasonably priced. It’s a shame the market has to close for the winter.”
Now, thanks to Rose Caiola, a philanthropist who was born and raised in the Bronx, the two GrowNYC markets will receive the funds needed to operate after Thanksgiving.
The markets will re-open on Thursday, December 5 in Norwood and Friday, December 6 at Lincoln Hospital. Hours of operation at Lincoln Hospital will be 8 am – 3 pm. The Norwood location will operate from 9 am – 3 pm. SNAP/EBT, formerly known as Food Stamps, will be accepted at both locations. With every $5 spent on SNAP, a customer receives a $2 Health Buck good for fruits and vegetables thanks to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
“A key component of GrowNYC’s mission is to provide access to fresh, affordable food in communities throughout NYC. Working with the American Heart Association, GrowNYC is proud to provide two wintertime access points in the Bronx this year,” said Marcel Van Ooyen, President and CEO of GrowNYC. “We are grateful to funding from Rose Caiola and Rewire Me to operate GrowNYC’s Norwood and Lincoln Hospital Farm Stands, that will not only benefit Bronx residents, but be advantageous to regional farmers who will now have an added source of income during the off-season. We’re thrilled.”
“When the American Heart Association approached me about this project with GrowNYC, I was all-in from the beginning. Fresh food is medicine but many Bronx residents have had to watch their markets close for the winter while markets in other boroughs remained open,” said Rose Caiola, Founder of Rewire Me, Principal Member of Bettina Equities Management, and also a member of the Go Red for Women Executive Leadership Team and the Association’s NYC Board of Directors. “Access to affordable healthy food is a right, not a privilege. I hope that these markets enable families and individuals in the Bronx to keep moving closer to their improved health goals. I welcome every New Yorker to embrace a healthy lifestyle that includes improved nutrition, physical activity and wellness.”
“The American Heart Association in New York City remains deeply committed to helping all New Yorkers live longer, healthier lives. Affordable healthy food is a cornerstone to our mission,” said Beth Oliver, DNP, RN, who serves as Chair of the American Heart Association’s Board in NYC. “The Association believes that everybody should have access to the food that helps support a balanced diet and a healthier life. These markets remaining open through next Spring will make our city healthier. Thanks to the support of generous individuals, like Rose Caiola, who believe in this mission, we are making strides to address food inequality and other social determinants of health.”
Diego is the Communications Director for the American Heart Association in New York City. He loves sharing powerful stories that inspire people to take control of their health.