Marcel Van Ooyen took leadership of GrowNYC in 2006. Over the last 10 years at Marcel’s initiating, GrowNYC has vastly expanded its efforts with new initiatives including: Fresh Food Box, Youthmarket Farm Stands, Learn It Grow It Eat It education program anchored in the South Bronx as well as NYC’s first all local food hub: Greenmarket Co. GrowNYC’s Food Stamp in the Farmers’ Market initiative is considered a National model, with $1,000,000 in EBT sales in 2013. By responding to a diverse community and ramping up efforts, affordable, healthy, fresh food is getting into the hands that need it most across the city. Marcel has also spearheaded the development of new programs in response to needs in our city, including Grow to Learn NYC: Citywide School Gardens Initiative, a public public-private partnership with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC created to inspire, promote and facilitate the creation of sustainable school gardens in every New York City public school.
Marcel earned degrees in Social Ecology from the University of California Irvine and from the Seattle University School of Law specializing in Environmental Law. After graduating from law school, he worked for the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council in Washington State, where he conducted the environmental review of proposed power plants. As Legislative Director for the City Council, he wrote and ensured the adoption of more than 30 environmental laws, including the city’s landmark green buildings legislation, lead bill, clean air codes, recycling requirements, environmental purchasing laws, and many more.
Read our Q&A with Marcel on the Ecocentric blog.