Valentina On The Beauty Of Farmers Markets & NYC

In Search of a Greener New York is an ongoing Garden Collage series of explorations about sustainability efforts in New York City and beyond– including the people, places, and ideas that are making Manhattan a healthier, happier place to live. In this column, we spotlight individuals who are making New York a “greener” place in an attempt to discover how, exactly, they are doing it. This week, GC spotlights Valentina, who tells us what she loves about NYC.

We spotted Valentina at the Union Square Farmers Market a few weeks ago, when the winter in New York City hadn’t yet arrived. “I was just headed to the L train to go home to Greenpoint, where I live, but then I realized it was Friday so I was like…I have to get some apple cider!” she told us, smiling.

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Valentina founded a clothing company called “Colabal”, which means “thank you” in an ancient Mayan language. She loves the farmers market and normally just passes through it on the way to work…

ValentinaInga Howe-Geniesse

During our conversation she looks over at Green River Flowers and says, “It’s amazing how you can love something so much that isn’t alive. Normally I hate dried flowers because it looks like ‘fake nature’, but I love these. They’re so vibrant even though they’re dried…It’s a great metaphor for aging.” (We couldn’t agree more.)

“New York is so amazing for trends. Everything big that’s going to happen happens here first… This city is full of creative people.”

She talks about Mexico. “I enjoy my city the most when I’m visiting. I took a trip in 2012 where I was introduced to this community of weavers who were illiterate, yet they had this beautiful, technical, almost mathematical knowledge of looms and weaving. It’s a beautiful story…connecting the ethnic story with the product of woven clothes… and you can’t just throw money at people, you want to see where they are getting their materials and spending their money. It’s the same with farms.”

“New York is so amazing for trends,” she adds, speaking of her current city. “Everything big that’s going to happen happens here first, and you know that if you’re thinking about something there’s probably someone else out there who has the some idea… This city is full of creative people. I’ve lived here for 5-and-a-half years now and I’m just finally starting to see it…the professional and spiritual side of the city.” And with that, she takes her apple cider and heads for the train.

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