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Voices from the Food Revolution: People Who Changed The Way Americans Eat
An oral history project conducted by Judith Weinraub
Made possible with a grant from the Leon Levy Foundation
2009-2011
 MSS.309

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Fales Library and Special Collections

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 22, 2016
Description is in English.

Container List

Barry Benepe

Biographical Note

In 1976, the post-World War II habits of supermarket shopping still ruled American kitchens. Fresh fruits and vegetables were limited to summertime roadside stands. To most urban dwellers, farmers were distant exotic creatures. It would be decades before words like local, seasonal, and organic became commonplace.

Brought to life by Architect Barry Benepe and urban planner Robert Lewis, the Greemarket movement was a major development that helped to change that way of thinking. This movement initiated consumer appreciation—and eventually demand for—fresh food.

At the time, Benepe was the director of his own small firm and therefore not bound by traditional notions of architectural practice, allowing him to expand into unorthodox areas such as open space protection and farmland preservation. Lewis applied for a job at his firm. Together they saw the disconnect between the food to which New Yorkers had access in standard supermarkets, and the much fresher, higher quality food produced by area farmers—and the possibility of bringing the two together. When they located an unused and vacant city lot behind Bloomingdales on Manhattan's Upper East Side, they jumpstarted the New York City Greenmarket movement.


In these interviews, Benepe talks about his childhood in New York and on a family farm in Maryland, his education, his early architectural practice, the start-up of the Greenmarkets and what followed. Today, the original market is one of 50 in all five boroughs and has served as a model for markets all over the country.

Access Points

People:
Benepe, Adrian
Benepe, Barry
Conklin, William J.
Jacobs, Jane, 1916-2006
Lewis, Bob
McPhee, John, 1931-
Rossant, James S., 1928-2009
Weinberg, Robert C. (Robert Charles), 1901-1974

Organizations:
Council on the Environment of New York City
Greenmarket
New York (N.Y.). Dept. of Parks and Recreation
New York (N.Y.). Dept. of City Planning
Union Square Community Coalition

Subjects:
Architecture
City planning
Community supported agriculture
Farm produce -- Marketing
Farmer’s markets
Farmers -- New Jersey
Farmers -- New York (State)
Food industry and trade
High Line (New York, N.Y.)
Historic preservation
Local foods
Produce trade
Newcastle upon Tyne (England)
Newburgh (N.Y.)
Saugerties (N.Y.)
Union Square (New York, N.Y.)
Washington Square (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Names

  • Benepe, Adrian
  • Benepe, Barry
  • Lewis, Bob
  • McPhee, John, 1931-
  • Conklin, William J.
  • Jacobs, Jane, 1916-2006
  • Rossant, James S., 1928-2009
  • Weinberg, Robert C. (Robert Charles), 1901-1974

Subject Organizations

  • Council on the Environment of New York City
  • Greenmarket
  • Union Square Community Coalition
  • New York (N.Y.). Dept. of Parks and Recreation
  • New York (N.Y.). Dept. of City Planning

Subject Topics

  • City planning
  • Architecture
  • Farm produce -- Marketing
  • Community -supported agriculture
  • Farmer's markets
  • Food industry and trade
  • Historic preservation
  • Local foods
  • Produce trade

Subject Places

  • Union Square (New York, N.Y.)
  • Washington Square (New York, N.Y.)
  • Newburgh (N.Y.)
  • Saugerties (N.Y.)
  • High Line (New York, N.Y. : Park)
  • Newcastle upon Tyne (England)

Occupation(s)

  • Farmers |z New Jersey
  • Farmers |z New York (State)

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