Learn about GrowNYC’s latest education initiative

GrowNYC is gearing up for its biggest educational initiative yet.

Starting Nov. 14, its Project Farmhouse Arch Installation will be in Union Square Greenmarket to raise awareness about its new sustainability and education center.

Project Farmhouse will be a permanent home for the organization, which runs greenmarkets and gardens throughout the city as well as hosts programs in environmental issues like recycling. It’s slated to open in late spring 2016 off Union Square and be a community space for cooking demos, workshops, lectures and more. So far, GrowNYC is halfway to its fundraising goal of $750,000.

amNewYork spoke with Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC, to learn more about the project.

What is Project Farmhouse?

We kind of talk about it as being a one-stop shop for all that GrowNYC does and sustainability education even beyond what we do. So we have a lot of varied programs that range from gardening to farming to waste reduction to environmental education, etc., etc. We work all over the city in different locations, but we really don’t have one spot where we can really consolidate everything we do to make the city a greener and more livable space. And Project Farmhouse will be that. It will be a place for New Yorkers to come and learn about these issues and discuss them through public forums and meetings and other nonprofits utilizing the space for their programming.

Why is now a good time for something like this?

Our programs continue to expand and enter new areas, and we’re reaching more New Yorkers. It will provide us an opportunity to consolidate that education. I think the passion and interest around food and the environment is at an all-time high. It allows us to communicate everything we do and create the next generation of educated eaters.

What’s the installation in Union Square?

The installation is a large arch in the shape of the logo of Project Farmhouse, a gable shape, and it’s made with hundreds of tubes. Folks will have a chance to walk up to it and make a donation to support the project and potentially win a prize, ranging from certificates for JetBlue and restaurants to tote bags provided by TD Bank. Ten dollars gets you the opportunity to win something worth much more than that.

Is anything else planned leading up to Project Farmhouse’s opening?

This is our first public unveiling of it. There will be a lot of other events and things happening around it. And we’re heading toward our anniversary of our green markets as well. The first green market was where Tramway Plaza is on the east side in 1976. We’ll have a whole year of celebrations, but most of them will be around supporting the new permanent home. I always like to say greenmarkets are like a magic mushroom — they pop up and disappear at the end of the day. This will give an opportunity for folks to have a deeper opportunity to learn what we do and the importance of greening their lives on more than a weekly basis. There won’t be anything in the city like this or in the country for that matter.

Project Farmhouse Arch Installation is in Union Square Greenmarket Nov. 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21 from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

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