2016-05-25 / Features

Constantinides Commits To Invest In New Youthmarket


(L. to r.); Alison Alampi of Friends of Ditmars Park, Global Kids Executive Director Evie Hantzopoulos, GrowNYC Youthmarket Program Coordinator Kori Petrovic, Councilman Costa Constantinides and Global Kids youth. (L. to r.); Alison Alampi of Friends of Ditmars Park, Global Kids Executive Director Evie Hantzopoulos, GrowNYC Youthmarket Program Coordinator Kori Petrovic, Councilman Costa Constantinides and Global Kids youth. Councilman Costa Constantinides announced on May 20 that he will commit to allocating $10,000 to be used to open a new Youthmarket in Ditmars Park. He plans to allocate the funding as part of his FY ‘17 discretionary budget, to be adopted by June 30th.

GrowNYC will operate the Youthmarket with community partner Global Kids on Saturdays from July 9th through November 19th, from 9 am to 4 pm. Part of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket program, a Youthmarket is a network of urban farm stands that employs neighborhood youth to sell food grown in local farms, as well as provide nutritional education and cooking demonstrations. The young adults learn about economics, business, eating seasonally, and supporting local farms.

Constantinides said, “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. As we move closer toward our goal of reducing carbon emissions 80% 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. I look forward to working with GrowNYC, Global Kids, Friends of Ditmars Park, and other community partners as this Youthmarket grows.

“We are thrilled to bring a GrowNYC Youthmarket to Ditmars Park and the residents of Astoria,” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen. “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. We are thankful to Council Member Constantinides and the Friends of Ditmars Park for their help in bringing this Youthmarket to the park and we look forward to seeing everyone on opening day, July 9.”

"Youthmarket brings together many issues Global Kids students are passionate about – food justice, environmental sustainability and youth empowerment. We are proud to partner with GrowNYC and Councilman Constantinides on this important initiative to help bring a needed resource to the community,” said Evie Hantzopoulos, Executive Director of Global Kids.

There are currently no Youthmarkets in Astoria. GrowNYC operates only one additional Greenmarket in the 22nd Council District – at Astoria Health Playground. This market is open on Wednesdays, from 8 am to 3 pm. Youthmarkets sold more than 300,000 pounds of affordable, local food throughout our city in 2015. GrowNYC operates 14 Youthmarkets in neighborhoods across New York.

Councilman Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council's 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair of the City Council's Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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