Union apprentices give Rockaway Youth Task Force a proper farm stand for their Youthmarket

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Courtesy of NYCDCC

The Rockaway Youth Task Force and the city Economic Development Corporation launched a GrowNYC Youthmarket farm stand in Far Rockaway.

As a key milestone of the city’s Downtown Far Rockaway rezoning, the farm stand empowers young people in the community to develop their entrepreneurial skills while providing residents with fresh produce.

Union apprentices from the New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters completed construction of a proper farm stand structure for the Rockaway Youth Task Force so they don’t have to run their Youthmarket in a temporary structure. The work was done in partnership with the Carpenter Contractor Alliance of Metropolitan New York as the union sponsored the material costs throughout the construction project.

“It’s truly great to see that efforts from our training center have a dual purpose of equipping future carpenters with the unique skills needed to thrive in the labor force, while also giving back to the communities our members live and work in,” NYCDCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Geiger said. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the Rockaway Youth Task Force Community Garden and assist them with their outreach in their neighborhood.”

Apprentices across multiple classes have substituted their scheduled classes to work on the project and started construction three weeks ago as part of the union’s on-the-job-training. The union trains more than 1,500 carpenter apprentices and 14,000 journey level carpenters each year at its New York City training facility.

“The Rockaway Youth Task Force is extremely grateful for the Carpenters Union for their generosity and time for a project that will combat the issue of food inequality within the Rockaways,” Rockaway Youth Task Force Executive Director Milan Taylor said. “The Rockaways are a federally labeled food desert, and I am confident that this project will help provide more affordable and healthy food options across our community.”

Through GrowNYC’s Youthmarket Farmstand program, young people sell fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms while learning about health, nutrition, the environment and regional agriculture. In addition to teaching participants about promotion, merchandising and customer service skills, the Youthmarket will increase the availability of fresh produce in the Far Rockaway neighborhood.

“Providing the Rockaway community with more fresh, locally-grown food options is a critical part of improving the health and well-being of our residents,” Councilman Donovan Richards said. “The addition of this farm stand will allow the Rockaway Youth Task Force to enhance the community service they have long provided on the peninsula.”

The Downtown Far Rockaway Youthmarket Farmstand will be open to the public every Saturday through Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1002-1004 Beach 20th St.