The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
(718) 274-4500

For Immediate Release
May 20, 2016
Contact: Shachar Sharon

Constantinides Commits to Investing in New Youthmarket in Astoria

Astoria, N.Y. – City Council Member Costa Constantinides today announced 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 9am to 4pm. 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 ages 16-20 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,” says 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.

Michael Moreno, Friends of Ditmars Park Founder, said “We are thrilled to bring a farmers market to Astoria and so happy to engage our neighborhood youth through GrowNYC’s Youthmarket program. It is a beautiful way to introduce a farmers market to the area while also involving the community in a very commingled and supportive way. Friends of Ditmars Park is not just about organizing events and activities in the park, but also creating an engaging and lasting neighborhood ecosystem.”

Youthmarkets sold more than 300,000 pounds of affordable, local food in throughout our city in 2015. GrowNYC operates 14 Youthmarkets in neighborhoods across New York. There are currently no Youthmarkets in Astoria. GrowNYC operates only one additional Greenmarket in the 22nd Council District – at Astoria Health Playground.

Council Member 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 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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