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PR- 174-06
May 24, 2006


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today presented Barry Benepe and Robert Lewis – founders of the Greenmarket – with the 23rd Annual Doris C. Freedman Award.  Established in 1982 by an Executive Order signed by Mayor Edward I. Koch, the Doris C. Freedman Award recognizes an individual or organization for “a contribution to the people of the City of New York that greatly enriches the public environment.”  It is dedicated to the memory and vision of Doris Chanin Freedman (1928-1981), a Director of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as the President of the Municipal Art Society and Founder of the Public Art Fund. Mayor Bloomberg was joined at Gracie Mansion for the awards ceremony by Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, and members of the Freedman Family including daughters Karen Freedman, Nina Freedman and Public Art Fund President Susan K. Freedman.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I am honored to present the Doris C. Freedman award to Barry Benepe and Bob Lewis,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As with all great innovators, they began by identifying an unmet need and today Greenmarkets have become part of the essential fabric that is New York City.  They provide access to the natural and delicious taste of upstate farms, right in the middle of our City neighborhoods.  The essence of this award is captured every single day as Greenmarkets allow us to see the City in an entirely new way.”

The Mayor also announced a pilot program for a City Hall Greenmarket to take place this summer on Fridays, beginning June 2.

“Part of my childhood was spent on a farm in Maryland, where I learned to appreciate the taste of a field-fresh, sun-kissed tomato,” said Barry Benepe. “Later, as a city planner living in New York City, it was impossible to find fresh local produce. The Greenmarkets were born out of a desire to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, help save family farms in the region, and replicate the social amenity of the European ‘village square’ markets. I am grateful to the Council on the Environment for sponsoring the Greenmarket and the many philanthropic New Yorkers and civic activists whose early donations and political support made the markets’ growth into neighborhood institutions possible.”

The Greenmarket is a program of the Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC).  Founded by Barry Benepe and Robert Lewis on July 17, 1976 in a vacant lot on 59th Street and 2nd Avenue, the Greenmarket became the first retail farmers market to take place in Manhattan in several decades. Their initial effort to revive a dormant New York City tradition, promote regional agriculture and provide fresh, local produce to New Yorkers has grown into 37 farmers markets in all five boroughs. Today, the Greenmarket program continues to create a friendly environment in diverse communities and in the public spaces in which they take place.

The Greenmarket promotes and supports regional agriculture.  175 farms from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania sell their produce directly to consumers at Greenmarkets.  Over 250,000 customers frequent the markets every week during peak season and 105 restaurants obtain their ingredients from a Greenmarket each week.  Thousands of New York City students participate in Greenmarket Tours each year learning about nutrition and how food is grown. Greenmarket farmers also donate more than 300,000 pounds of food to City Harvest and other hunger relief organizations each year. 

Past recipients of the Doris C. Freedman Award, include: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 2005; Richard Kahan, 2004; Edward I. Koch, 2003; The Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority, 2002; The J.M. Kaplan Fund, 1992; Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts and its Founder, Halina Rosenthal, 1991; Dancing in the Streets, 1990; Richard J. Haas, 1989;  Studio In A School, 1988; Mark di Suvero, 1987; Margot Gayle, 1986; The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 1985; William H. Whyte, 1984; and Ronay Menschel, 1983.


Stu Loeser / Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

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