Edible Schoolyard NYC

Edible Schoolyard NYC

Name of apprenticeship site:

  • PS 216 in Gravesend, Brooklyn
  • PS 7 in East Harlem, Manhattan.

Location of apprenticeship site:

  • PS 216, 350 Avenue X, Brooklyn, NY 11223;
  • PS 7, 160 E 120th Street, New York, NY

Name and title of supervisor: Mirem Villamil, Head Garden Manager

Supervisor Contact Info: (347) 565-0100; mv@esynyc.org  

Number of Apprenticeship Positions available at your site: 2 ( 1 for each site)

Title of apprenticeship position(s): Edible Schoolyard NYC Spring Garden Apprentice

Have you had a Farm School NYC Apprentice in the past? Yes, Fran Miller - Spring 2012

Is your site accessible via NYC public transportation (i.e. train or bus)? Yes

If yes, please provide public transportation directions to your site. If no, what is the best way to reach your site? Please provide directions: 

  • PS 216 is very close to the F train stop at Avenue X: it's about a 4-minute walk East.
  • The N train stops at 86th Street is about a 7-minute walk East.
  • The Q trains stops at Neck Road is about a 15-minute walk West.
  • If you drive, the garden entrance is on East 1st Street between Avenue Y and Avenue X - a few blocks West of Ocean Parkway and three blocks North of the Belt Parkway. 
  • PS 7 is very close to the 6 train stop at E. 116th Street: it's about a 5 minute walk north.
  • The 4, 5 and 6 trains stop at 125th is about a 5 minute walk south.
  • If you are driving, parking will be a challenge, but the school is easily accessible of the 125th Street exit from FDR drive. Exit the FDR, drive west to Lexington, make a left, and another lefton 120th. The school will be on your right.

Apprentice Work Schedule

Number of Hours per week: 12 hours per week minimum is best. At least one full day per week is recommended.

Number of Hours total (140 hours minimum): 140 hours; apprentices can choose to extend their term or their hours

Does your apprenticeship have a specific start and end date? Yes

If yes, please provide the start and end dates: 

  • Start date is Tuesday, March 11th for PS 216; Wednesday March 12th for PS 7
  • End date is Friday, June 27th  or beyond (into the summer) if apprentices work fewer hours during the week

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

  • PS 216: Tuesdays, 9am - 3pm is recommended so apprentice can manage volunteers during regular volunteer hours
  • PS 7: to be determined, probably Fridays 9am - 3pm

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?

We are somewhat flexible, especially regarding hours and the overall duration of the apprenticeship. The ESYNYC garden manager will be splitting her time between two sites, and it's important that the apprentices coordinate with her at their chosen site.

Financial Details

Will you offer the apprentice payment or a stipend? If yes, please describe:

We provide metrocards for our apprentices.

Apprenticeship Description

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

Crop Production, Teaching

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.: 

Apprentices will participate in every aspect of managing a half-acre organic teaching garden. Apprentices will take part in:

  • crop planning and planting, composting, pest management, irrigation, soil fertility, season extension, garden projects
  • ESYNYC school and community, daily outreach to PS 216 staff and families
  • Maintain garden records and tool inventory
  • Support garden classes and lead garden class activities
  • Participate in and lead regular mini-workshops for garden team
  • Assist with set up and administration of a weekly community farmstand  starting in June
  • General administrative tasks and office duties as needed

What will the apprentice learn through this apprenticeship? 

Emphasis will be placed on garden management and close interaction with out garden manager. Garden work will alos provide hands-on experience within an urban garden setting.

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”? 

Edible Schoolyard NYC's stated mission is to provide public-school students with the knowledge, skills and environment required to make healthier food choices, through hands-on garden and kitchen classes. In addition, we reach out to parents with family cooking nights, a newsletter, tastings and recipes.

A key element in our outreach to the community is our seasonal weekly farm stand, which provides low-cost organic produce to families and neighbors and increases awareness of food production and food access issues in the city. 

Ultimately we hope to create a mandate for edible education in New York City so that every school child has access to fresh, locally-grown organic vegetables and knows what to do with them! Our students are already becoming activists for better and more environmentally and socially responsible food. 

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

My background is in landscape design. I have been creating and supporting public-school gardens for the past ten years. I’ve been at Edible Schoolyard NYC since it began in October of 2010, teaching and building a half-acre garden from scratch. I hope to share all aspects of my work with apprentices - design, planning, maintenance, record-keeping, volunteer management, and much more. In addition, apprentices will be working with our Head Garden Teacher, Cecilia Galarraga, who is an environmental educator with years of experience in public and private-sector organizations.

What is exciting about your apprenticeship site? 

At PS 216 a parking lot was demolished to make way for a half-acre, in-ground garden. We are completing construction of a kitchen classroom and greenhouse, so in spring of 2014 we will recover the land that is currently within the construction site, and the greenhouse will be operational. Garden projects for PS 216 include building beds and working with soil conditions in the newly recovered area; building a chicken coop, optimizing greenhouse production; and prototyping modular, re-usable plant supports that can be installed in both sites.

At PS 7, the apprentice will be working in a teaching garden on asphalt, in a school courtyard. Container and raised-bed gardens bring their own challenges and opportunities, and are an optimal way to create growing space in urban environments. 2014 was the very first spring growing season for this new garden.

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

In New York City over three million people have limited access to fresh produce; nearly 50% of public elementary school students are obese or overweight; and the public education system is in critical condition. Edible Schoolyard NYC programs address all three issues and within the next few years will extend to all five boroughs of the city. 

Does your site work with low-income communities? Yes

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

Edible Schoolyard NYC partners with Title 1 public schools to ensure that we are reaching underserved populations for each site. Our first site at PS 216 has a very high percentage of recent immigrant families (mostly from Eastern Europe, Asia and Central America) and many of our students are English language learners. PS 7 serves a mostly African-American and Hispanic population with a high percentage of students living in public housing. 

Will the apprentice's responsibilities include food cultivation? 

Food production at both sites is intended to support kitchen classes, community events, garden class tastings, and a farm stand. We spond most of our gardne time in food cultivation, year-round. PS 216 has an unheated hoop house and a cold frame as well as the new, heated greenhouse. PS 7 will be using cold frames and other season-extension techniques to ensure that food can be harvested through the winter.

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

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Herbs

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

Organic but not certified, Use IPM (Integrated Pest Management), No-till farming

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? 

  • Minimum of 1 year of college/certificate course work in environmental science, youth development, sustainable agriculture, or a related field. 
  • Experience in outdoor education or working with youth 
  • Computer skills, including Word, Excel, and internet research
  • Comfortable working with people of all ages and backgrounds
  • Experience living and gardening in an urban setting
  • Strong belief in ESYNYC mission and social impact
  • Energetic, hard worker, with excellent management skills

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

  • A strong interest in food, gardening, education, and community building
  • Takes initiative and works well independently, and also works well as part of a team
  • Energetic and willing to work outside during all weather
  • Strong people skills  

Which Farm School NYC courses are prerequisites for your apprenticeship? 

Growing Soil, Irrigation, Crop Planning Season Extension, Small Farm Planning and Design

If a Farm School NYC student is interested in your apprenticeship, what type of application materials do you want from them?

Cover letter, Resume, Interview

 Please explain: 

Farm School NYC students are welcome to visit our site at PS 216 in Gravesend on Tuesdays, Thursday or Fridays - please email Stacey (ss@esynyc.org) to let her know they are coming. Seeing the site may be helpful in evaluating whether it will suit their  needs and interests.

Otherwise - emailed cover letter and resume will suffice.