Pictured: QueensFEASTS graduate Chef Nellie presents her concept for her Spice Shanty food business.

Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019
Contact: Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska (Queens Public Library), ekern@queenslibrary.org, 718-990-0706; Shavone Williams (NYCEDC), swilliams@edc.nyc, 212-312-3523

Offering Training to Queens Food Entrepreneurs at Four QPL Locations, FEASTS Has Seats for 250 Students over the Next Two Years

QUEENS, NYQueens Public Library is now accepting applications for Queens FEASTS, a free program that offers training and mentorship for food entrepreneurs seeking to start or grow their food businesses in Queens. The program offers students helpful tips on how to be successful in today’s highly competitive food industry.

Those interested can apply on QPL’s website for any of the 12-week courses offered at the following QPL locations:

  • Central (89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica) – Fall 2019, Winter 2019, Spring 2020
  • Long Island City (37-44 21 Street, Long Island City) – Fall 2019
  • Flushing (41-17 Main Street, Flushing) – Winter 2019
  • Queens Library for Teens (2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway) – Spring 2020

The applications are due two weeks before classes start.

“QPL is thrilled to assist people looking to build their food business,” said Monique Hector, Manager of Queens FEASTS. “This program helps them meet their aspirations, while contributing to one of New York City’s most vital industries.”

Initially known as Jamaica FEASTS (Food Entrepreneurship and Services Training Space), the program was developed by QPL in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). It was offered in Central Library in Jamaica and expanded in March 2019 to serve 250 students over the next two years at four QPL locations, addressing the high need for similar resources across the city.

The expansion followed a spike in the number of interested applicants, roughly 60 percent of whom lived outside the greater Jamaica area.

Queens FEASTS provides knowledge, tools, and resources to those who are interested in starting their own food business. Participants learn the fundamentals of the food industry through interactive workshops and training, gain insight from industry experts, and receive one-on-one individualized assistance from counselors. The Flushing course will offer training in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

Since the program’s inception in 2016, more than 100 students have graduated and nearly 50 percent have launched successful food businesses. Alumni have received Vendy Awards and Good Food Awards, have been showcased at the NYC Wine and Food Festival, and have participated at major events including the Brooklyn Army Terminal Centennial Celebration and the Queens Night Market.

Queens FEASTS is part of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a $153 million neighborhood initiative announced in 2015 by the de Blasio Administration, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and NYCEDC. The twenty-one-point strategic action plan aims to economically revitalize Jamaica, Queens by providing workforce training and small business support, initiating new mixed-use development anchored by affordable housing, and improving the livability of the neighborhood through investments in safety measures, green spaces, and more.

About Queens Public Library
Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, Queens Public Library offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in multiple languages, technology and digital resources, and more than 87,500 educational, cultural, and civic programs a year. It consists of 65 locations, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology lab, two universal pre-kindergartens, and two teen centers.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity, and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, or visit their blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

Pictured: Queens FEASTS graduate Chef Nellie presents her concept for her Spice Shanty food business.