Greenhouse Program at Rikers Island

Greenhouse Program at Rikers Island

Number of Apprenticeship Positions available at your site:

At least 1, possibly 2 apprentices depending on timing and on availability of openings.

Title of apprenticeship position(s):

Greenhouse Program Intern

Have you had a Farm School NYC apprentice in the past?

Yes, Claire Murray-Chow

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:    

This is a link to the Q100 bus stop. Everyone meets at the bus stop and rides to the island together. There are many trains that go to this area. Have a look at the map to see the train that you could take to get here.  

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

Farm School NYC students have a link to urban agriculture and food justice issues that are happening in the city, country and world. They are able to help contribute information, experiences while being a positive support for our students.

Apprentice Work Schedule

Number of Hours per week: 7 - 14 (at least 1 - 2 days a week) 

Number of hours total: We have a 2 month minimum 

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

If you want a start and end date we can do that. Or if you choose to have an open ended longer term internship that is also possible.

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

Upon contacting us we will work with you to find a day suitable for everyone. We prefer that you intern 2 days a week in the warmer months because of the amount of outside work that we do.  Less than one day a week will not be possible.

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.) 


Financial Details

Will you offer the apprentice payment or a stipend? No

Apprenticeship Description

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

Crop Production, Landscaping, 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.:

Working side by side with our students: weeding, watering, mulching, planting and pruning, assisting with the maintenance of annual, perennial, vegetable and herb beds including soil preparation, seed starting and transplanting of seedlings, assisting with harvest vegetables and herbs, drying of herbs, assisting with flower arrangements, contributing materials and information about urban ag and interesting topics.

What will the apprentice learn through this apprenticeship?

Same as above in terms of practical skills. Working in a jail setting is a very unique situation and you will learn a lot of about everything from our students to how a program like ours fits within the Department of Correction  and the Department of Education. Intern will also get an introduction to the practice of horticultural therapy practiced in a jail environment.  

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”?

We work with our students to teach vocational skills to enable them to potentially pursue horticulture as a career upon release. We work with people with a variety of backgrounds and one of the goals of our program is to teach about growing food, healthy choices in terms of food and life and helping students to make a self-directed (but supported) positive change within themselves.

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

We will share our knowledge and passion about teaching, horticulture, horticultural therapy, agriculture, and lifelong learning. Farm School apprentices will be included in our work with the inmate population, and we will involve them in the process of planning and implementing classes and work days, as well as reflections on the program participants' response to our program, their process, and their difficulties. We will aslo share our successes and concerns regarding our daily work. 

What is exciting about your apprenticeship site?

Rikers Island is a very interesting place for a garden setting. You will meet lots of new people and you will experience what the garden means to our students and how they connect with the land, form relationships with plants or spaces, and how they plan on translating this to the outside after their release. You will get to work hands on side by side with our students in several gardens and green spaces around Rikers Island.

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

The GreenHouse Program is on Rikers Island. The program is run by the Horticultural Society of New York (The Hort) in collboration with the DOC and the DOE. The Hort aslo has programs off Rikers from GreenHouse Program graduates, as well as school and afterschool programs in public schools. On Rikers, we teach our students about NYC farmers markets, how to use EBT at the markets, where to find community gardens upon release and about what is going on in NYC in terms of farming, food, green jobs, botanical gardens etc.  

Does your site work with low-income communities?

Yes, most of our students are from the city. Many of our students are from low-income neighborhoods or experience homelessness.  

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

Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs (This site is a garden.)

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)

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


Apprentice Requirements

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

We are looking for people who are:

  • Responsible and reliable
  • Kind 
  • Great listeners
  • Patient 
  • Great attitude 
  • Able to work independently after receiving appropriate instructions
  • Able to indentify tasks after an appropriate training period
  • Willing to get their hands dirty and jump right in where needed
  • A good role model for our students 
  • Aware of one's surroundings
  • Basic botany, gardening, farming skills 

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

All of the above, plus the willingness and dedication to get up early (5am) to catch an early Q100 bus.  

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

Food Justice , Botany, Propagation, Training of Trainers

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, Resume, Interview