Steps From Bronx Supreme Court, Farmers Market Flourishes in Food Desert


Residents and vendors converge on the Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket on Tuesday. The farmers market has been a weekly hub of fresh produce since 2012 in New York’s hungriest borough. Photo: Evy Poumpouras

Tuesday morning in New York City’s hungriest borough, a handful of tents are erected across 161st Street from the Bronx Supreme Court.

From under the tents, bright assortments of berries, juices and fresh herbs are sold by vendors who engage in lively transactions with residents, and lawyers and clerks who stop by for relief from the confines of the court house.

But the Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket serves as a necessary hub of fresh produce in the borough, which ranked the highest in food insecurity, poverty and unemployment for New York City.

From under the tents, bright assortments of fruit and vegetables (pictured) are sold by vendors at the Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket. Photo: Evy Poumpouras

More than 300,000 Bronx residents are food insecure, a measurement of the lack of access to enough food for an active and healthy lifestyle.

Walking the two blocks to the market from Yankee Stadium, fast food restaurants and diners line the street offering little more than processed food.

Food stamps are stacked next to a vendor selling blueberries and plums. The market provides relief from processed foods for low-income earners. Photo: Marcia Robiou

The market, located on the corner of Joyce Kilmer Park, is one of 20 across New York City where food workshops are held in English and Spanish to educate residents on how to prepare healthy recipes.

“All the (food workshops are) located in low-income communities and we certainly are trying to combat the chronic health issues that many times we see in these lower income communities,” said Margaret Dunn-Carver, farmers market coordinator at the New York City Department of Health.

“The aim was to increase access to local produce and increasing power to purchase fresh fruit or vegetable.”

Crates of fresh produce line the farmers market as vendors hustle with customers on Tuesday. Photo: David Jeans

The food market accepts food stamps, providing relief from highly processed foods for low-income earners.

Ms. Dunn-Carver said the New York City Department of Health conducted 70 food workshops and reached more than 2500 participants last year.

The food workshops program has been running since 2012.

Chef and community cook Ryan Payne spoke with reporter Valentina Caval at the market about the importance of educating .

Waiting for Tuesday, Healthy Family Meal Starts at Bronx Market

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The market draws people across state lines, serving as a critical lifeline for some and a family outing for others.

The Vega family travels from Pennsylvania to New York on Tuesdays to visit the farmer’s market in Bronx, N.Y.

Delia Rodriguez, a Bronx resident, waits for her sister Yolanda Vega to arrive at her house before heading to the farmer’s market — a trip they always take together.

Pictured from left to right are Evy Vega, 14, Yolanda Vega, 65, Delia Rodriguez, 72, Kyle Aristy Avila, 8, and Joshua Vega, 7. Photo: David Jeans
Yolanda (pictured) can’t help but laugh while watching her grandchildren run around the market picking out produce for their dinner tonight. Photo: David Jeans
Evy (pictured left and left of right image) started cooking when she was 10-years-old. On the night of August 30, Evy and her family cooked chicken and corn for dinner with the vegetables they got at the market. But her favorite meals to whip up are actually chicken and cake. Photos: David Jeans
Delia (pictured right) studies the cilantro — a key ingredient to the family dinner. Photo: David Jeans

The Vega family revel in the opportunity to come together and cook with fresh ingredients. The family talked in rapid Spanish and English among each other.

“I love it here,” Yolanda Vega said. “ They give you fresh products with some good deals.”

The family spent over an hour shopping for groceries at the market. They left feeling ready to take on dinner for the night. Photo: David Jeans

Fresh Food Market in Place of Stark Contrast to Bronx Obesity

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The quiet area surrounding the Bronx Supreme Court springs to life every Tuesday with the arrival of the farmers market.

The sidewalk bustles with multi-lingual bartering, plastic bags brimming with fresh produce and the unloading of timber crates from trucks.

The market is a lifeline for neighborhood residents who are located in the nation’s top destination for fast food chains and struggle with skyrocketing obesity and hunger rates.

Reporter Marcia Robiou takes you for a walk through this vibrant market.

Tweeting from the Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket on Tuesday, reporter Evy Poumpouras shared snapshots and highlighted obesity rates in the area.

“People in the community view the Bronx as a food desert and are embracing the local fresh food markets which provide for a healthier lifestyle,” she said.

“It was surprising that many of the people at the food workshop did not understand the difference between a protein as opposed to a carbohydrate.”

Ms. Poumpouras now follows community groups, food bloggers and individuals associated with Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket here.

Columbia Journalism School reporters Valentina Caval, Marcia Robiou, Evy Poumpouras and David Jeans sought to understand the farmers market’s integral role in providing fresh produce to the Bronx, where low-income residents struggle to avoid highly-processed food.

Left: David Jeans interviewed Jordan Pasang, who was selling blueberries and plums from his stall at the farmers market. Mr Pasang moved to New York from Tibet eight years ago and said the market was an important resource for the community’s health.

Below: Marcia Robiou spoke with Joyce Mack, who waits until Tuesday to buy affordable fresh produce from the market.

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