22 THE QUEENS COURIER • NOVEMBER 8, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
File photo/THE COURIER
Assemblyman Ron Kim with volunteers at the Evergreen Community Garden
Local lawmaker works to Flushing group to spread urban farming
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
Members of the Th e Natural Agriculture
Class were presented with citations last
week for their eff orts in spreading urban
farming from state Assemblyman Ron on
the last day of the season.
Kim noted the importance of sustainability
and a self-reliant production in the face
of climate change Nov. 1 at the Flushing
Evergreen Community Garden, located at
46-20 Colden St.
“Th is is something every New Yorker can
get engaged in and really make our own
good and be self-sustainable,” said Kim.
“It’s important to get the message out there
that these types of places exist, and there
are classes for people to learn how to farm
be a part of the urban farming ecosystem.”
Th e assemblyman plans on returning to
Albany to advocate for more funding and
resources to expand local urban farming in
New York City.
“Th ey’re growing their own goods and
bringing it back home sharing with families,
and that’s how it starts..this type of
movement,” said Kim.
Ellen Young, founder and advisor of
Th e Natural Agricultural Class, said their
organic crops are chemical free.
“You can eat it just like this,” said Young.
“All the greens — Akra, tomatoes, green
onions, string beans, kale, and purple beans
— everything from here you have the real
Every year from March to November,
Young’s students — mostly seniors —
plant and tend to their crops in Lot K-17/18
in the community garden. Th is year, Young
had approximately 30 participants in her
“My purpose is to help the seniors get
to learn and live with hope and joy... and
to enjoy what they’ve been working on,”
said Young, who is also the founder of the
Golden Age Learning Center, which serves
approximately 200 seniors.
Young encourages her students to continue
practicing sustainable farming.
“We have the farming class, a fi eld trip,
and the making of Japanese miso soup
every year,” said Young.
Th e group will return to the garden next
spring to begin planting new crops.
Howard Beach’s Ragtime supermarket closes after 53 years
BY NAEISHA ROSE
Fans of Ragtime Gourmet Supermarket
in Howard Beach fl ocked to the Italian
store’s Facebook page over the weekend
to say their goodbyes aft er learning
that the 53-year family-owned institution
would close for good on Tuesday.
Suppliers came to the specialty grocery
store located at 157-48 Cross Bay Blvd. on
Nov. 6 to pick up old equipment and the
owners confi rmed the closing and later
stayed locked inside the store together.
One co-owner who stepped out of
Ragtime told QNS he found the closing
“depressing” and that “there was simply
too much competition.” He declined to
give his name or speak further about the
Longtime local shopper, Edward
Schnepf, posted on Facebook on Nov. 4
that it “was an end of an era!”
Despite his dismay, he wasn’t 100 percent
surprised by the closure, because
of the addition of big commercial chain
stores to the area in recent years.
“Th ere’s a Stop & Shop a few blocks
away,” Schnepf said. “Th ese big corporate
stores are knocking out the little guy and
it’s hard to compete with that.”
Like many local stores near Jamaica
Bay, Hurricane Sandy also damaged
Ragtime in 2012.
“It was trying to make a comeback,”
Schnepf said. “It’s like watching somebody
getting evicted from their house …
it was a big part of the community.”
Th e grocery store was even a mainstay
in his young adult years.
“We went to Ragtime before we went
to the beach to get lunch or a snack,”
said the Molloy High School and Queens
College graduate. “It feels like a tough loss
for the community and a tough loss for
the family tradition.”
When he drove past the store for the
fi rst time in months on Sunday and saw
signs that it was closing his heart dropped.
“I saw the signs there and I was shocked
I didn’t want to believe it,” Schnepf said.
“I can’t believe it’s going to be closed
completely.” Photo by Naeisha Rose