Hurricane Sandy rocked the greater New York area and proved a powerful adversary to one of the world’s most powerful cities. The Union Square Greenmarket, an emblematic site and community within Manhattan, was effectively shut down along with the rest of lower Manhattan when the lights went out. But as relief workers banded together to help repair homes and businesses and to deliver much needed supplies to those affected by the storm, the Greenmarket made an equally impressive effort to remain open and contribute to those in need. Farmers (who fared better after Sandy than Irene but who were still affected) and customers (whether needing produce themselves or looking to donate to relief efforts) banded together, just a little further uptown.
While Union Square served as a hub for MTA and ConEdison repair vehicles, the Greenmarket temporarily moved to Madison Square Garden where about 30 of the regular 70-80 farmers were able to open for business. Customers could buy their usual produce (proteins were scarce due to the short notice, but vegetables were plenty). Buyers could also participate in a “Buy A Bag” program that allowed them to fill a bag with produce and donate it to relief efforts across and beyond the city.
The Greenmarket is now safe and sound at it’s usual home in Union Square, but its temporary move to Madison Square Park was a powerful reminder of the local-food-and-farming community’s commitment to providing for those in need. The vegetables will go on!
Photo Credit: Gothamist, Serious Eats and Village Voice