Wednesday, April 17th
Markets: Our food doesn’t just come to us--we have to go out and buy it, or grow it. Greenmarket and other urban outdoor markets like the New Amsterdam Market are crucial outlets for area farmers to reach customers, and they are by no means easy to create or maintain. How do markets play into our changing national food system, what challenges are they facing (and the New Amsterdam Market in particular has found itself in a difficult situation that we’ll hear about), and what can we do to support them even more?
Robert LaValva is the Founder and President of the New Amsterdam Market, an outdoor market in the historic South Street Seaport district of Lower Manhattan . Robert studied urban planning at New York University and architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He worked for ten years as a planner for the City of New York, where he helped establish and implemented one of the country’s largest urban composting programs. In 2002 he left government to pursue his interest in sustainable agriculture and found his way to the international Slow Food organization, where among other activities he instituted a consortium for raw milk cheese producers; worked on programs to help preserve biodiversity in crops and livestock; and managed Slow Food’s Urban Harvest festival, which he staged in 2005 as the first New Amsterdam Market. He is committed to reviving this city’s tradition of a public market system, rededicated to responsible agriculture, regional economies, and fair trade.
Michael Hurwitz is the Director of Greenmarket, a 36 year-old program of GrowNYC that operates 54 producer-only farmers markets throughout the five boroughs of New York City and the Wholesale Farmers Market located in the New Fulton Fish Market in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. Greenmarket works with 250 producers to preserve over 30,000 acres of regional farmland by bringing the freshest and healthiest foods directly to NYC residents.
Michael Yezzi is a pig farmer and owner of Flying Pigs Farm. He raises rare breed pigs, meat chickens, and laying hens rotating them through his fields and woods. He has sold at the Greenmarkets since 2001 and currently sells at the Union Square and Grand Army Plaza markets. Half of his sales come from farmers market sales. Mr. Yezzi has a JD and Masters in Public Health.
Peter Hoffman is the chef-owner of Back Forty, a casual East Village tavern that debuted in 2007. He owned the seminal SoHo locavore restaurant, Savoy, for 20 years before closing it in June 2011. In November 2011, he opened Back Forty West in the former Savoy space. Back Forty operates with a simple premise--to create delicious and memorable meals using the best ingredients from local farmers. Buying directly from producers and understanding what it takes to produce great ingredients is fundamental to Hoffman’s cooking approach and to his role as a teacher and leader in the culinary community.
Graham Meriwether is a documentary journalist who serves as the director at Leave It Better, a film production company committed to telling solutions-oriented stories about environmental challenges. Graham studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is based in New York City. For the past five years, Graham has been focused on directing and distributing American Meat. In 2010, Meriwether founded the non-profit organization, Leave It Better Foundation, whose mission is to empower youth to heal our environment.
Moderator: The conversation will be moderated by co-founder of Green Rabbits Projects, Claire Hartten, an integrative designer and food-systems planner.
22 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003
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