East NY Youth Farm (UCC)

East NY Farms-UCC Youth Farm

Name of apprenticeship site: UCC Youth Farm
Location of apprenticeship site: 613 New Lots Ave, Brooklyn
Name of organization or business, if different from site name: East NY Farms
Name and title of supervisor: Kendra Ellis Valle, UCC Youth Farm Manager
Supervisor Contact Info (Email and Phone)kendra@eastnewyorkfarms.org 7186497979 x14
Number of Apprenticeship Positions available at your site: 4
Title of apprenticeship position(s): UCC Youth Farm Apprentice
Have you had a Farm School NYC Apprentice in the past? Yes
Names of previous apprentices: Yanet Rojas

Is your site accessible via NYC public transportation (i.e. train or bus)? If yes, please provide public transportation directions to your site. If no, what is the best way to reach your site? Please provide directions: 

  • Take the #3 train to Van Siclen Avenue. After exiting through the turnstyles, take the stairs to the right. At the bottom of the stairs continue walking straight, you will be on Van Siclen Avenue. At the corner, take a left onto New Lots Avenue and walk two blocks to the corner of New Lots and Schenck Avenues. Our office is the brightly painted building that says United Community Centers. The UCC Youth Farm and our farmers market (Saturdays June-Nov) are here too, just around the corner on Schenck Avenue between New Lots and Livonia
  • Take the C to Van Siclen. Walk on Pitkin towards Hendrix. Turn right onto HENDRIX ST (walk about 6 blocks) Turn left onto NEW LOTS AVE.
  • Take the L to New Lots. Walk about 10 blocks on New Lots to 613 New Lots Ave.

Why do you want to work with a Farm School NYC apprentice? 

  • We want to work with a Farm School NYC apprentice for the 2018 season as a way to share our particular approach to farming and food justice, as well as expand the impact that we have on our community. East New York Farms! has been involved in the evolution of Farm School NYC through course development, guest lectures, and serving as host site for several courses. Our 18 years of experience in urban agriculture has a lot to offer a person interested in working in this field, and we are deeply committed to providing hands-on mentorship and learning experiences to the adults and youth that we work with. As an organization, we are always growing and learning, and our hope is that an apprentice would contribute new ideas and energy to our work as they become more involved with the project.

Apprentice Work Schedule

Hours per week: 4-10+ (depending on the season) 
Hours total (140 hours minimum): 140-240+ 

Does your apprenticeship have a specific start and end date? If yes, please provide the start and end dates: 

  • Yes; March-October 31 (Dates are negotiable and so are the hours)

Does your apprenticeship have a work schedule with specific days and times?

  • No.

Does your apprenticeship have a work schedule that is flexible and/or you are willing to wait and create a schedule that works for the apprentice? (A set schedule must be agreed upon in writing prior to the start of the apprenticeship.)

  • Yes, but we do set a regular schedule once things begin.

Financial Details

Will you offer the apprentice payment or a stipend?

  • Apprentices can take home vegetables.

Apprenticeship Description

Please list all of the following categories that apply to this apprenticeship:

  • Crop Production, Animal Husbandry; Youth Development; Farmer's Market

Please describe the apprenticeship responsibilities and tasks. Please specify if the apprentice will have a specific project or whether they will be involved with general operations:  

  • The apprentice will be involved with weekly seasonal tasks on our farm. They will assist with seeding, greenhouse management, planting, composting, weed management, trellising, beekeeping (if an interest), irrigation installation and practice, and harvesting. By being able to be involved in the daily management of our farm, they will gain a better sense of the growing season and management practices.
  • In previous years, committed interns and volunteers have taken on specific projects with the farm in addition to regular farm management.  This has ranged from developing our Community Composting Program to designing an outdoor kitchen.  Other potential projects include developing working at our Wednesday Farmers Marker, beekeeping,  and conducting crop trials. We want to support an apprentice who is excited to take on some initiative, and we are happy to work together to develop a project to suit their interests.

What will the apprentice learn through this apprenticeship? 

  • The apprentice will learn the about the basic management of a small, sustainable, urban farm and develop skills in the areas mentioned above, plus whatever project they take on.  The apprentice will also gain familiarity with the day-to-day functioning of an established food justice organization, and with the community of East New York.  We work with 33 youth interns and over 100 gardeners growing food in this neighborhood, and the apprentice will have a chance to work with some of these knowledgeable and dedicated community members who are promoting food justice.
  • We try to balance intensive production farming with accessible and teachable methods, and we emphasize youth and community involvement in all of our work.

Supervisor & Site Details

How does your farm/project reflect the following Farm School NYC vision: “Farm School NYC aims to increase the self-reliance of communities and inspire positive local action around issues of food access and social, economic and racial justice”?

East New York is a diverse and economically disadvantaged community in the eastern part of Brooklyn. Decades of urban decline and neglect left our community with a huge number of vacant lots, a lack of businesses and services for our large population (nearly 180,000 residents), and a reputation for violent crime and poverty. In 1995, through a coalition of local and citywide organizations and residents, the East New York Farms! Project came together as a way to use and further develop the community’s resources to meet our needs. Working with youth interns and adult gardeners to increase organic food production in community gardens, we were able to start a small farmers market (just two gardeners during our first season in 1998) that has grown over the years into a thriving destination including dozens of gardeners and local entrepreneurs of many backgrounds, as well as upstate farmers, bringing fresh affordable food to over 17,000 customers each year. Our mission is to organize youth and adults to address food justice in our community by promoting local sustainable agriculture and community-led economic development.

What experience and knowledge will you (the Supervisor) share with the apprentice?  

  • I have been involved in urban agriculture since 2009, working with Smiling Hogshead Ranch and Two Coves community garden. I worked with organic vegetables for three summers at Riverbank Farm (Roxbury, CT) and one summer at Wildstone Farm (Pownal, VT). I also received Bachelor's in Agricultural Science from Cornell University, where I was involved with research in weed science and plant breeding. I've been working with East New York Farms! for 1.5 years, supporting community gardeners and acting as a supervisor and educator with our youth program.
  • In addition, our staff has many years of collective experience farming, working with youth, community organizing, and running markets in East New York.

What is exciting about your apprenticeship site?

  • We are one of the more established urban agriculture sites in New York City, although we are constantly being pushed by the community to expand and change the ways that we work and take advantage of new opportunities. East New York itself is a rich community, and we are lucky to work with people of all ages (from preschoolers to senior citizens) and cultures (from Trinidad to Nigeria to Bangladesh). 

 Is the work of your site rooted in or connected to New York City?    

  • Yes     

Please explain:

  • Our work is community-led and community-focused, with the expressed purpose of building a stronger and healthier East New York.

Does your site work with low-income communities? 

  • Yes

If yes, please explain the nature of your work with low-income communities: 

  • Access to fresh local food is inadequate in East New York and poverty rates of 31% further limit residents' abilities to buy sustainably produced foods.[1] This results in rates of nutrition-related illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure that are among the highest in New York City.  Youth in the community are disadvantaged: 69% of children in East New York are born into poverty,[2] and only a third of students in the local school system perform at or above grade level in English and math, the worst performance of any Brooklyn neighborhood.[3]  East New York is a historically marginalized neighborhood that is working to create retail convenience, safe, open spaces and economic opportunity when resources are being constantly cut.

 [1] New York City Department of Health East New York Neighborhood Health Profile, 2000, 51 22 Jan 2007 < http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/data/2000nhp-brooklynh.pdf> .

[2] Keeping Track of New York City's Children, 2005. Citizen's Committee for Children of New York, Inc. 2005. 05 Jan 2007 < http://www.cccnewyorkkeepingtrack.org/Community_results.asp>.

[3] Been et al., 54.

The apprentice will gain experience in the cultivation of (please list all that apply): 

  • Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs, Livestock

If your site is a farm, garden, or other crop propagation site, please list all that apply:

  • Organic but not certified

Does your site employ any non-organic farming practices (i.e. pesticides, fertilizers)?

  • No

Apprentice Requirements

What qualifications, skills, and experience do you want in your Farm School NYC student?

  • Punctuality, ability to work with different kinds of people, willingness to work outdoors in all kinds of weather, willing to work independently and make judgement calls on tasks if necessary, bilingual (Spanish, Bangla, Russian, French, Chinese) is a plus, ability to lift 40lbs.

What qualifications, skills, and experience do you require in your Farm School NYC student? 

  • Punctuality, ability to work with different kinds of people, willingness to work outdoors in all kinds of weather, willing to work independently, ability to lift 40lbs. 

Which Farm School NYC courses are prerequisites for your apprenticeship? Please list all that apply: 

  • Food Justice

Farm School NYC students will find out about apprenticeship opportunities on November 20, 2012. They will then be required to submit applications materials to their preferred sites. If a Farm School NYC student is interested in your apprenticeship, what type of application materials do you want from them?

  • Cover letter, Interview

Please explain: 

  • We prefer to have apprentices come out and meet us to see if it is the right fit, maybe help out for a day if the timing is right. Cover letter can just be in the form of an introductory email, so we know who they are/their interest.