Green Vendors Take NYC

NAC Urban Leaders fellow Jori Lewis talks about the Green Carts popping up in New York City — and encourages her neighbors to take advantage of them.

New York City has more than 10,000 street vendors—licensed and unlicensed. Vendors’ licenses are notoriously hard to obtain, but there has been a recent movement to increase the number of available permits. Nonetheless, some would-be vendors have been catching a break by becoming part of the NYC Green Cart program, a Bloomberg Administration plan to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in key underserved communities.

Some weeks ago, a NYC Green Cart, a fruit and vegetable stand, started to appear on a corner near my apartment in Brooklyn. Every day a vendor comes, pushing his cart down the street, and sets up his stand right outside of a Popeye’s Chicken and across the street from a Crown Fried Chicken. There’s a grocery store a few doors down, but it’s not so well-stocked, so I’ve been happy to have it there. The cart is piled high with nectarines, berries, apples and other fruits. Sometimes, I stop there on my way home from the gym to pick up a banana, some grapes or an avocado. The thing is, I never see anyone else stop at the cart. Apparently, when the program first rolled out, other vendors were having trouble drawing up a clientele base in these areas. So, the next time you see a vendor, buy an apple, people! We want to see these carts hang around for the long haul.

More about street vendors:

NYC street vendors are mostly immigrants, according to the Street Vendor Project, with the largest percentage coming from Bangladesh. NYC vendors seem to make somewhere between $7500 and $14,000 per year on average, a salary well below the poverty line.

In Ghana, the president has just proposed a retirement plan that would include workers in the informal sector, including vendors.

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Tags: new york citybrooklynstreet vendorsghanabangladesh

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