The Women Behind Harlem’s Farmers’ Markets

“Harlem is like a small town in a big city,” is a refrain you hear a lot above 110th Street. What’s perhaps more accurate is Harlem is like 50 small towns in a big city—each block and corner has different challenges, needs and leaders.

Unlike many other pockets of New York City, farmers’ markets in Harlem have evolved largely separate from the ubiquitous Greenmarket system. Some markets are run by a single person. They are used to educate an unhealthy zip code or attempt to transform a neglected area. But the random, scattershot and organic way they have developed proves that there is no corner in the five boroughs that wouldn’t be improved by a farmers’ market.

The three women in this story show that when you shop at a farmers’ market in an up-and-coming neighborhood, it’s likely that the organizer was there before local real estate became desirable—and they just might have been a substantial part of making it what it is today.

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