On Friday, November 15, farmers market operators Harvest Home and Greenmarket/GrowNYC began a partnership with Hostos Community College to offer a free customer service and employment training program through the college’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development division. The 11-week bridge to employment course is designed to prepare students with the skills needed to manage a successful farmers market. The curriculum will focus on customer service, resume building and interview training, culminating in job placement at one of 70 farmers market sites in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. A second session of the course will commence in February, 2014.
“GrowNYC is thrilled to work with Harvest Home and Hostos Community College to develop a trained cadre of professional market managers to service our markets and act as the gateway to the sustainable agriculture community,” said Michael Hurwitz, director of Greenmarket, a program of GrowNYC.
“This is the first certificate program specifically targeted to working at a farmers market and I am very happy that Harvest Home was instrumental in making this happen. I want to commend the Hostos staff and leadership for their vision and willingness to develop the program as a career pathway into the food movement,” said Maritza Owens, director of Harvest Home.
These markets are centers of sustainability, they transform outdoor urban spaces into nexus of neighborhood activity, all while providing New Yorkers with access to fresh food and keeping regional farmland in production. Though the farmers who come to sell their products drive in from upstate, the operators of the markets are based here in the city. By offering this course, the partner organizations hope to equip residents with the skills needed to operate markets in their communities, ever strengthening the urban-rural connection that makes them a vital resource in the city and the state.
About the partners:
GrowNYC: GrowNYC is a hands-on non-profit which improves New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations. Programs: Greenmarket, Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, Open Space Greening, Environmental Education and Grow to Learn NYC: Citywide School Gardens Initiative. Learn more at www.grownyc.org
Harvest Home: Harvest Home Farmer’s Market is a New York City non-profit organization that provides low-income communities with access to farm fresh local produce and the education to achieve healthier lifestyles. Harvest Home currently operates markets in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, accepting SNAP/EBT cards, Women Infant and Children Farmer’s Market Nutrition Coupons (FMNP), Senior Coupons and Health Bucks.
Hostos Community College Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development: A leader in the field of job training, the Hostos Community College Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development plays a central role in working with employers, community-based non-profits, public and private funders, and other partners to create and deliver job-training programs targeted to specific, local needs. Recognized for our range of programs and our ability to deliver training in many languages, we emphasize proficiency in the basics, mastery of specialized skills, and a command of the communication, teamwork and social skills required by organizations looking for qualified workers.