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Comments and Testimonials for Hattie Carthan Community Farmers Market

Working as a youth intern with Hattie Carthan not only taught me valuable farming and marketing techniques, but also showed me that a small group of young people guided by committed adults can make change in communities that need it most. I saw food justice being put into action as seniors, families, and youth worked together to grow nutritious food and build intergenerational relationships. In my process towards becoming a powerful change agent in my community, Hattie Carthan has provided me with invaluable tools, experiences, and relationships that I will never forget.

-Guido Girgenti,  Market Youth Intern


When I first saw the land where the Hattie Carthan Community Market would stand, it was overgrown with knotweed and trash. The transformation into a beautiful marketplace has been wonderful to watch. This market shows us that we can heal our neglected urban spaces and create instead spaces for health, celebration, creation and learning. In this space I have talked with farmers, bought delicious vegetables and fruit, learned about improving soils with cover cropping and enjoyed playing banjo and singing to Guyanese folk songs. Supporting this market means supporting a necessary and beautiful community-run farm and supporting your own health and well-being.

-Owen Taylor, Training and Livestock Coordinator, Just Food


The Hattie Carthan Community Market began with a vision, inspired by community gardener, leader, and activist Yonnette Fleming. The market has grown into a beautiful space that brings together so many different people who care about eating good, fresh, local produce. The market provides the neighborhood with healthy food options, opportunities to learn and teach about good food, a place to gather with and meet others, and a chance to relax, watch a cooking demonstration, dance to the beat of a drum, and to buy some delicious food. Community leaders and food justice advocates from around the city and beyond can learn from the Hattie Carthan Community Market, and they will continue to teach us as they grow.

- Jane Hodge, City Farms Program Manager, Just Food


Dear Yonnette, thank you for having me this summer at the Hattie Carthan garden. It was such an amazing experience to work on the farm and learn more about urban agriculture. My senior project has taken up a lot of my time in the last couple weeks. Basically the premesis for the project is documenting what you do, as not just a garden, but a local grass roots food hub that is very flexible. I specifically love the way you bring in food from regional farmers and can be the broker with restaurants as well as your own market. I am really beginning to see that everything that you do as something totally special; you are doing things beyond your means that other people here are just starting to see are possible when linked together. 

-Daniel Lawler 2009 Market Intern/Urban Agriculture undergrad student


This year marks my 30th year working with community gardens. I  know of the Hattie Carthan Garden  from back in the mid-1980's when it was named after Magnolia Tree Earth Center. It was a favorite summer field trip site for me to take a group of children from the Madison Square Boys' and Girls' Club on 29th Street and 2nd Ave in Manhattan. Back then MTEC was the garden's sponsor under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks & Recreation's GreenThumb Program. This garden has always been a favorite of mine, mostly because of the people who care for it. There's Mr. Kolajo, Yonnette Fleming, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Simmons and many more very friendly outgoing folks who seem to me to love gardening.


Over the years I have seen the garden change its name, become much more self-reliant,expand in membership, build tool sheds,herb gardens, greenhouses, arbors, chicken coops, a children's garden and increase in size and programming for the Bed-Stuy community. For the past 20 years, the first weekend in May, marks the Council on the Environment of NYC (CENYC)  annual  plant distributions in this garden to over 125 city-wide community garden groups. 

The recent addition in 2009 of the farmers market was a welcome endeavor.Not only did it bring fresh produce it also attracted a strong, commited group of local teenagers to help with the market, provide the  much needed physical labor of lifting and carrying, and learn marketing skills. The adjacent lot where the market is now located was an eyesore, littered with debris and needed constant cleaning, not to mention a danger and hazard  to the community. Working with Yonnette and Emmanuel, CENYC was glad to assist in a small way, with coordinating the new fencing, soil for the raised beds and some vegetable seedlings to get the season growing.


I personally shopped in the Hattie Carthan Farmers Market several times this past summer and fall with my partner David. We even brought along our Boxer, Jake. The farmers and summer interns were very friendly and helpful. The produce was fresh and reasonably priced. I picked up some collards, swiss chard, corn-on -the cob and honey.The hot herbal tea was a pleasant addition to our experience along with the local artists, performers and musicians.

I'm looking forward to this coming year. I have volunteered to help Yonnette  and Company tend to the chickens.

Congratulations to all involved!

-Gerard Lordahl, Director, CENYC's Greening Program


After living in Williamsburg, where there had been a farmer's market in McCarren Park for a good many years, I was concerned about moving to Bed-Stuy because there wasn't one in the area. I loved the market in McCarren Park and went every Saturday to buy produce and meet friends and neighbors. This past spring, while we were deciding about where to move, we stopped in one day at the Hattie Carthan Garden and met Yonette, who told us she'd been trying for a few years to start a farmer's market. She showed us the abandoned lot that was intended to become the market and we felt hopeful about it happening--and then of course we were thrilled to hear that it was in fact going to open! 


We went on the first day, and then almost every Saturday for the rest of the summer and fall. I was so impressed by the transformation of that lot. It had been a mess, and they made it into a lovely space--covered the ground with wood chips, built small beds for growing various herbs and tomatoes, brought in beautiful carved wooden sculptures and large plants, created pleasant sitting areas, and made it a very sweet and friendly environment that people could come to for shopping and visiting.


One remarkable aspect of the market is that it's adjacent to the Hattie Carthan Garden, which is enormous and so verdant, so when you're standing in the farmer's market at a stall buying something, you look just beyond into the Garden and it's as if you're far up in the country. That's a very rare experience to have in the middle of this big old city! 


Moreover, one of the stalls sells produce that's grown in the Hattie Carthan Garden, so that adds an extra bit of wonderfulness. The produce that comes in from Vermont, New Jersey and upstate New York is great, but it's nice to also be able to buy something that was grown right next door.

I hope that the market gets enough support from the city and the community so that it can start to offer dairy products and meat or fish, but even as it is now, I think it's a vital and wonderful addition to the neighborhood. It gives us good food, it gives young people jobs selling the food, and with Yonette's classes in cooking that she gives on some Saturdays, it gives people a chance to learn more about nutrition and care for what the earth produces.

-Su Friedrich


This market is a long time coming.  I used to be forced to travel far to buy good food, and the neighborhood is becoming more interested in eating healthy and fresh.

-Bed-Stuy resident and market shopper
There's quite a lot happening here! I love what you are doing at the market, and the garden is beautiful, of course.

-Suzanne, Market Volunteer


Im excited about this market  what we need in this neighborhood is everything green.

-Bed-Stuy resident
Just keep up the good work!

-Bed-Stuy resident and market shopper


 I was extremely pleased with the customer service.  [The staff was] very friendly! Love them.

-Bed-Stuy resident and market shopper


Congratulations on Hattie Carthan's great programming!

-Anne, Sustainable Flatbush


Last Saturday was the first day of the Hattie Carthan Community Market, and it was an amazing time! It went smoothly and successfully. There were African drummers, there were clowns, there were theatre performances, and a whole lot of enthusiastic folks that love good food!

-Daniel, Market Volunteer


First, let me express my love for the Hattie Carthan Community Garden. Its a quiet, beautiful oasis right across the street from Herbert Von King Park and an active playground -  I love walking by it on my way to the G train and I was thrilled when I heard that the gardeners were selling their produce.

-Alexa, neighborhood blogger


Finding a source for fresh fruit and vegetables in Bed-Stuy got a little easier since the Hattie Carthan Community Market opened this summer.

-Brooklyn Newspaper


I like the sense of belonging I get from working at the market.

-Market Youth Intern


The market speaks for itself. All the work you've put in really shows.

-Just Food Associate


The first time I went [to the market], volunteers were painting the murals which now adorn the site and the next Saturday, Travis from Band of Bicycles was down with his blender bicycle serving fresh juice mixed in a bicycle-powered blender. The market takes food stamps, and prices are better than up in Fort Greene.  I like going to the little market, having lunch from Yonnettes food stall then touring the community garden next door.

-Cityofstrangers blog


Im proud to bring my friends to Hattie Carthan and show them the work I do here.

-Melody, Market Youth Intern


I'm so glad you're here. 

-Bed-Stuy resident and market shopper


Everyone is very friendly and the prices are reasonable.

-Bed-Stuy resident and market shopper


I have learned so much working with you at Hattie Carthan.  I was able to save money for my education and after this season, I am considering further education or a career in agriculture.

-Lomar, Market Youth Intern


Two of my friends who were working as interns had such a great experience at Hattie Carthan, it made me want to get involved in what they were doing.  Now I feel like I belong to a group that is really doing something good.

-Rob, Market Youth Intern


The Hattie Carthan Community Garden is a wonderful place that is doing very innovative things in the realm of urban and local agriculture.

 - Daniel, Market Volunteer

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