BY YVETTE BROWN
On Friday, Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) announced that he will be allocating $10,000 to a new Youthmarket in Ditmars Park, which is part of his Fiscal Year 2017 discretionary budget.
Youthmarkets are a network of urban farm stands that are operated by neighborhood children and are supplied by local farmers.
Youthmarkets are designed to bring in fresh fruits and vegetables to serve to the community and around New York City.
This is the first Youthmarket to operate in Astoria.
“Eating seasonal and local produce is important for our nutrition and to help support our local farming economy.
Buying local produce also reduces pollution that would be created through transporting food long distances,” said Constantinides. “As we move closer toward our goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050, we must ensure that our children are learning how to continue to combat climate change. This Youthmarket will make local produce available for more Astorians, while exposing children to valuable lessons about the environment, business, and nutrition.”
According to Constantinides Youthmarkets have sold more than 300,000 pounds of affordable food throughout the city in 2015 through a non-profit called GrowNYC. GrowNYC was created by the City Council on the Environment of NYC in 1970 and they have programs like the Greenmarket, which includes a network of Greenmarket farmers markets and the Youthmarkets. Their other programs include Recycling and Gardening.
“Our Youthmarket program is a unique model that teaches neighborhood youth to run a farmstand, supplied by GrowNYC’s own wholesale distribution arm, Greenmarket Co., while also helping them to be ambassadors for healthy, seasonal eating to their families and neighbors,” said Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC.
GrowNYC will be operating the Youthmarket with Global Kids as their partner on Saturdays beginning July 9 and continuing until Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Youthmarket teaches children and teens about economics, business, supporting local farms and eating seasonally.
“Youthmarket brings together many issues Global Kids students are passionate about – food justice, environmental sustainability and youth empowerment,” said Evie Hantzopoulos, executive director of Global Kids.
Reach Yvette Brown at (718)357-7400 ext.128, email@example.com or @eveywrites.