Food for Good: How Non-Profits Are Creating Change Through Food

An Essex Street Market “Talk & Taste” event about food-based social enterprise

Many organizations are recognizing the value of entrepreneurship and culinary arts to inspire young people, build their skills, and equip them for challenges ahead. At this Talk & Taste event, offered in partnership with the Essex Street Market Vendors Association, we brought together three organizations that see the incredible value of food. The panel discussion included Lyn Pentecost, executive director of the Lower East Side Girls Club, and one of their longtime participants, Jocelyn. The Girls Club not only offers programs and facilities for young women to learn about cooking, but their La Tiendita stall in the Essex Street Market offers them the opportunity to learn the retail side as well, selling baked goods, aprons, potholders, and other textiles made by their participants. Jordyn Lexton is the founder Drive Change, a nonprofit that works with young people who have had contact with the criminal justice system, and operates for-profit enterprises run by their participant, including the Vendy Award-winning Snow Day food truck. Reconnect works with a similar population, helping young men in Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, and Williamsburg who have become “disconnected” to gain skills and confidence by running businesses, including the Reconnect Graphics print shop, Reconnect Café, and the Reconnect Bakery in the Moore Street Market. We were joined by Reconnect’s founder, Father Jim O’Shea, bakery manager Daytoine Shaw, and one of his bakers, Rayvon.

[UPDATE 7/10/17: We are deeply saddened to have to share the news that Daytoine Shaw of Reconnect Bakery passed away suddenly last week. Daytoine was an incredible baker, mentor, and friend, and we will miss him terribly.]

If you missed the event, you can watch the whole discussion below or on our Facebook page.

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Market Value: How Public Markets Drive the Baking Industry Forward

several roles being sprinkled with powder

An Essex Street Market “Talk & Taste” event about the baking industry in New York City

Baking is literally our bread and butter in New York City making up the majority of food manufacturing businesses within the five boroughs. On December 8th, 2016 at the Essex Street Market, members of the public joined us for a taste of bagels and fresh bread and a behind-the-scenes look at the baking industry. Guest speakers included Lee Wellington, Executive Director of the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, Gene Davidovich, CEO of Davidovich Bakery, Uliks Fehmiu, Co-Founder & President of Pain D’Avignon, and the general manager from the new bread-themed Eataly NYC Downtown location. Moderator Cindy VandenBosch of Turnstile Tours interviewed panelists about what it takes to operate a food production and distribution business in New York City and the unique role public markets – like Essex Street Market – play in supporting the baking industry. This event was organized by Cindy VandenBosch and Lauren Margolis of the Essex Street Market Vendors Association.

If you missed the event, you can watch the whole discussion on below or on our Facebook page.

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Bakeries at New York’s Public Markets: A Bread and Butter Industry for the City

several roles being sprinkled with powder

In this two-part blog series, we’ll be highlighting the stories behind baking businesses – wholesale and retail, profit and nonprofit – that are located inside New York’s public markets and how each contributes to the culinary and manufacturing landscapes of the city. We begin by featuring the stories behind Davidovich Bakery and Pain D’Avignon, two businesses with established track records in wholesale, selling and distributing to grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and specialty shops, and that branched out into retail through opening flagship locations at the Essex Street Market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. But before we dig in, let’s first take a look at the role baking plays in New York City’s manufacturing sector.

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