FORT GREENE — The organizers of Fort Greene's Saturday farmers market are looking to expand to the north side of Fort Greene Park to reach residents living at Ingersoll and Walt Whitman Houses.
GrowNYC's proposal would double the 255-foot long greenmarket's reach toward Myrtle Avenue from its current location near Dekalb Avenue.
To do this, the market's 19 vendors, arranged in rows on either side of the sidewalk would be arranged in a single row.
The enlarged market would allow for the addition of new vendors — possibly cheese, maple syrup and cut flowers — and ensure better access to the market for all residents.
But it would also require up to six more parking spots along Washington Park, the street that borders the park, for trucks to park and unload products. The market currently takes up six parking spaces.
Michael Hurwitz, director of the Greenmarket Program, is hoping that the loss of parking spots for an expanded market is a trade off that the community would be willing to make.
"We understand and take seriously the loss of parking space," he said. "We also believe these steps will lead to greater market participation by Fort Greene Residents living north of Fort Greene Park, especially those living at Ingersoll and Whitman Houses."
A survey conducted by the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership in 2011 found that many residents living on the north side of the park did not know that the market existed and felt cut off from access to fresh produce.
The BID believes the expansion would increase awareness by simply providing residents who live on the north side of the park a view of the market.
"The physical expansion of the market would be a huge gesture to say we are trying to increase access for all residents," said Meredith Phillips Almeida, Deputy Director of the BID.
The greenmarket was started in 2003 and sees an average of 10,000 visitors each week. Its farmers, including Bad Seed Cider Co, Baker's Bounty and Pura Vida Fisheries, sell fresh produce, meat, dairy products, baked goods and wine to residents on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round and accept EBT/Food Stamps, Debit/Credit, and WIC & FMNP checks.
Hurwitz plans to present the proposal to Community Board 2's Transportation Committee meeting on May 20 at First Floor Board Room of St. Francis College at 6 p.m.