Ocean Bay Community Garden Build-Out

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Residents in the Ocean Bay Apartments have a lot to look forward to in the coming years. Along with structural upgrades and updated amenities, the outdoor space is also getting an upgrade by way of two new community gardens. In preparation for the renovations, Ocean Bay’s existing gardens were bulldozed. In an attempt to provide reparations, developers will dedicate 2,400 square feet of land for two new community gardens. The developers and residents hope that the growing space will be a resource for residents to learn about gardening and make healthy decisions regarding their own health and diet. Ocean Bay residents will have access to 50 growing plots between the two gardens.

The Ocean Bay Community Gardens project is part of the larger renovations to the apartment complex being led by RDC Development. RDC Development partnered with the Rockaway Youth Task Force (RYTF) to complete the project and utilized RYTF’s technical expertise to create visually stunning and functional garden spaces in the apartment complex.

RYTF is intimately familiar with the process of creating a community garden and currently occupies a half-acre lot across the street from Ocean Bay. For nearly five years, members of the organization have prided themselves on creating a vibrant and viable growing space within a federally-labeled a food desert. The Rockaway Youth Task Force Urban Farm & Community Garden is the brainchild of RYTF Founder and Executive Director Milan Taylor. “The Urban Farm started as a way for us to take control of our situation,” Taylor said. “Before Sandy, we had limited options for fresh food. Most people depended on their local bodegas for meals. After Sandy, our already limited options were wiped out. Our community needed a way to access fresh produce and RYTF stepped in to fill the gap. We’re grateful for the opportunity to use what we’ve learned over the past five years to help create viable green spaces in our community.” RYTF works in partnership with the New York City Parks Department and GrowNYC. To date, the RYTF Urban Farm & Community Garden has produced over 100,000 pounds of fresh produce for the peninsula and runs a weekly Farm Stand every Saturday from July through November each year.