Youth Farm

The Youth Farm at HSPS

Location of apprenticeship site: 600 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 

Name of organization or business, if different from site name:  The Youth Farm/BK Farmyards

Name and title of supervisor: Molly Culver, Co-Farm Manager

Supervisor Contact Info (Email and Phone): Molly Culver - molly@bkfarmyards.com , (646) 623-6137

Number of Apprenticeship Positions available at your site:

  • Youth Education & Programming Apprenticeship: 1
  • Summer Youth Education Apprenticeship:  1
  • Compost Management Apprenticeship: 1-2
  • Farm Apprenticeship: 2-4 

Title of apprenticeship position(s): 

  • Youth Education & Programming Apprenticeship
  • Summer Youth Education Program Apprenticeship
  • Compost Management Apprenticeship
  • Farm Apprenticeship

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

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: 

  • Take the 2/5 to Winthrop St. stop. Exit at front of train, and walk 3 blocks east along Winthrop St.; Youth Farm is on your left, running along Kingston Ave. between Winthrop St. and Rutland Rd.
  • OR take the 3 Train to Kingston stop. Walk south on Kingston (about 10-15 min walk); Youth Farm will be on the right.
  • OR take the B44 bus: Take B44 down Nostrand Ave to Church Avenue stop. Walk back north along Nostrand Ave., take a right on Winthrop, and walk 3 blocks east along Winthrop St.; Youth Farm is on your left, running along Kingston Ave. between Winthrop St. and Rutland Rd.

Apprentice Work Schedule

Youth Education & Programming Apprenticeship:

  • Number of Hours per week:  4 - 10, flexible (see descriptions)
  • Number of Hours total (140 hours minimum): 140 (see descriptions)
  • Does your apprenticeship have a specific start and end date?   No              
  • If yes, please provide the start and end dates:  Because we're working directly with a school and will be working with students during the school day, and occassional after school and weekends. Apprentice will need to be available during these times, starting anytime during the school year.
  • Does your apprenticeship have a work schedule with specific days and times? Yes 
  • If yes, please list the days of the week and times: Thursdays for Youth Leadership Council and Farm Club meetings; either Monday or Tuesday for program/curriculum/activity planning with Sawdayah would be ideal.
  • 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

Summer Youth Education Apprenticeship:

  • Number of Hours per week: 10 - 20, depending on availability
  • Number of Hours total (140 hours minimum): 70 - 140, depending on availability 
  • Our Summer Youth Program runs for 7 consecutive weeks in July and August. For those available, additional time for program/curriculum/activity planning with Sawdayah would be ideal (apprentice can create a combination of facilitation and planning with Youth Programs Director for their hours).
  • Does your apprenticeship have a specific start and end date?   Yes               
  • If yes, please provide the start and end dates:  July - August 2018
  • Does your apprenticeship have a work schedule with specific days and times? Yes   
  • If yes, please list the days of the week and times:  Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays and occasional Saturdays, 7 consecutive weeks between July and August
  • 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

Compost Management Apprenticeship

  • Number of Hours per week: 4 - 10  
  • Number of Hours total (140 hours minimum): at least 140
  • Does your apprenticeship have a specific start and end date?   No                 
  • If yes, please provide the start and end dates:  We will develop the specific work plan and schedule dependent on the apprentice.
  • Does your apprenticeship have a work schedule with specific days and times? Yes, but flexible (see below)   
  • If yes, please list the days of the week and times: Create your own schedule out of the following time periods:
    • Tuesdays (self-guided, anytime)
    • Wednesdays 2:30 - 6:30, during market
    • Thursday 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
    • Saturday volunteer days: once per month; 10:00 am - 1:00 pm also an option
    • Fridays are possible - TBD
  • 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

Farm Apprenticeship

  • Number of Hours per week: at least 4 hours per week 
  •  of Hours total (140 hours minimum): at least 140
  • Does your apprenticeship have a specific start and end date?   Yes 
  • If yes, please provide the start and end dates:  late March - November
  • Does your apprenticeship have a work schedule with specific days and times? Yes
  • If yes, please list the days of the week and times: schedule could fit into the following time periods:
    • Tuesdays (self-guided) is an option
    • Wednesdays 2:30 - 6:30, during market (July - October)
    • Thursdays 8:00 am - 3:00 pm, under guidance of Co-Farm Manager
    • Fridays are possible - TBD
  • 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

Financial Details

Will you offer the apprentice payment or a stipend?         
If yes, please describe: No. However, we will offer veggies and flowers. We do not currently have funding to provide stipends.

Apprenticeship Description

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

  • Youth Education & Programming Apprenticeship: Crop Maintenance, Teaching, Advocacy, Community Food Arts, Ideas from the Apprentice
  • Summer Youth Program Apprenticeship: Crop Maintenance, Teaching, Advocacy
  • Compost Maven Apprenticeship: Crop Production, Composting, Sign Making, Teaching, Advocacy, Enterprise
  • Farm Aficionado Apprenticeship: Crop Production, Teaching, Advocacy, Enterprise, Organizational Development

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.:  

  • Youth Education & Programming Apprenticeship

*All Youth Farm apprentices will be privy to Friday (tentative) afternoon workshops taught by the Youth Farm staff or guest lecturers that will cover a range of urban agriculture-related topics. As some of these topics may be redundant for Farm School students, attendance is voluntary, not mandatory.

**Apprenticeships will involve some growing, as per the Farm School requirement.

Youth Education Apprentice (2 positions): The Apprentices will work with the Youth Coordinator & School Liaison (new hire), and will be able to choose between all youth related projects including the Go Green class (taught 4 days per week), the Lunch-time Farm Club (currently 2 days per week, but will grow), after school farm club, farm based learning for visiting groups and schools, Saturday volunteer days and additional outreach & projects with students and teachers from the other schools at the Wingate Campus. 

The Go Green class is a 1 hour elective, hands-on, interdisciplinary class with the following themes: Agriculture (Growing and Producing food); Nutrition and Health; Local vs. Industrial Food Systems; Food and Culture; Media Awareness; Food Justice; Sustainability and Environmental Awareness;Cooking and Community Meals. Course Mission: Go Green attempts to teach students the importance of food and nutrition through learning about sustainable farming practices. Working with the Youth Farm, we explore growing and producing affordable fresh produce and food for a healthier community. Through practical farm experience and academic workshops, students learn how the decision of what we eat also affects the health and future of our planet (and ourselves). 

The Apprentices will collaborate with farm staff and other school staff on lesson development, implementation & facilitation as well as project ideas, fieldtrips, etc. Essentially, this will be a fun experience and the Apprentices should feel totally comfortable sharing ideas and leading lessons or projects with youth. The Lunchtime Farm Club is more informal than the Go Green class, however, students from HSPS participate in all farm activities and projects. As stated above, this club is currently two days a week and will grow to more days per week, especially during the warmer seasons.

Development of skills will include training youth in sustainable farming and horticulture; motivating teens in advocacy through public speaking and leadership activities; and assisting farm staff in seeding, transplanting, irrigating, and harvesting. Apprentice should be available until the end of the 2012-2013 academic year (June 2013). We can work out schedules of the Apprentices. In addition, Youth Programming Apprentices may have the opportunity to work solely on farm work with the Co-Farm Managers on Tuesdays or Thursdays, if they are available.

  • Summer Youth Education Apprenticeship

The Summer Youth Program Apprentice will work with the Coordinator of the Summer Youth Farmer program. Development of skills will include training youth in sustainable farming and horticulture; motivating teens in advocacy work through public speaking and leadership activities; and assisting farm staff and youth in seeding, transplanting, irrigating, and harvesting.

  • Compost Management

The Compost Manager(s) will work with us to improve our existing composting systems to produce more compost for the Youth Farm and to incorporate food waste from a brand new Culinary Arts technical program located at Wingate! Compost Manager(s) will work alongside the Co-Farm Managers, FSNYC Farm Intensive students and Youth Farm interns, and may also work independently. The compost manager would ideally visit and work with our 9 compost bins 1-2x/week. 

At the Youth Farm, we generate compost from pulled plants, food scraps, and browns we collect around the farm. Compost is unfortunately something that gets less love and attention than we'd like due to our teaching obligations, though we do produce some nice compost! We feel that the system has the potential to produce more, and higher quality compost through more regular management, turning, and a new organization of inputs/feedstocks that would include more nitrogenous food scraps! 

Compost Manager(s) will be in charge of managing and monitoring the compost system - first, to practice composting skills and to develop more confidence in assessing bin activity/moisture/etc. We have begun a record keeping system that monitors bin temperatures, moisture, microbial activity, odor and more. We also have garden forks, compost forks, augurs and compost thermometers. 

Compost Manager(s) should come to this apprenticeship with a strong desire to learn about compost and improve composting skills. If you get excited about soil microbes, this apprenticeship might turn you into a fanatic! Through this Apprenticeship we hope the Farm School NYC student will develop a better understanding of how compost is generated, how mesophillic and thermophillic compost differ and how to recognize what microbial conditions are present through feel, odor, etc. The CM(s) will build, turn and apply compost, keep great records and as a result learn what effects certain combinations of ingredients causes. 

Our hope is that the CM(s) will also eventually create and implement a plan to take our compost to the next level by exploring new opportunities to bring in more food waste from the Wingate schools and wider community by building some new relationships and canvassing the community about the opportunity to compost at the farm. 

We also hope the Apprentice leaves the Apprenticeship much more confident and excited about making compost, and able to teach others how to do it.

  • Farm Management Apprenticeship

The Farm Apprentices will work on all aspects of Farm management, from seeding and other propagation tasks, to soil and bed preparation and transplanting, to weeding, harvesting, irrigating and possibly marketing as per the apprentices' specific goals and interests. 

Farm Apprentices will have the option to work alongside Co Farm Manager and YF Interns on Thursdays and possibly alongside Farm Intensive certificate students on Fridays. FA's can also work with the entire Farm Staff on Wednesdays during market season (July-October), 2:30-6:30. We hope that through the Farm Apprenticship, Farm School NYC Citywide Certificate students will gain vital hands-on experience in production farming in a setting where they can ask plenty of questions along the way! As an “educational / production farm” we hope to provide the experience of working on a production farm with its own CSA (30 members – veggies and 25 members – flowers), farmers market and restaurant accounts. As a diversified farm specializing in both vegetable and flower production, we offer a unique opportunity to explore both of these types of crops, from seed to table. The Youth Farm practices intensive, hand-scale, low-till farming: raised beds, crop rotation, companion planting, high inputs of organic matter, weeding of unintentionally planted plants and /or mulching, cover cropping, and more ecologically-minded farming approaches.

What will the apprentice learn through this apprenticeship?

  • Youth Education & Programming Apprenticeship:

Development of skills will include training youth in sustainable farming and horticulture; motivating teens in advocacy work through public speaking and leadership activities, as well as in-classroom lesson planning and workshop facilitation skills. The Education and Programming apprentices will also practice farming skills as they assist farm staff and youth in seeding, transplanting, irrigating, and harvesting. In this position you will do hands-on farm work with youth and will be in a facilitator role. There may be a way to schedule your time to join Farm Afficionados on Tuesdays and Thursdays to dive deeper into field work independent of youth.

  • Summer Youth Education Apprenticeship

Development of skills will include training youth in sustainable farming and horticulture; motivating teens in advocacy work through public speaking and leadership activities; and assisting farm staff and youth in seeding, transplanting, irrigating, and harvesting. In this position you will do hands-on farm work with youth and will be in a facilitator role. There may be a way to schedule your time to join Farm Afficionados on Tuesdays and Thursdays to dive deeper into field work independent of youth.

  • Compost Management

The Compost Maven will deepen skils in compost production, maintenance, and application, and will heighten intuition about creating mesophillic or thermophillic conditions based on exposure and management of many different compost materials, and seeing the effects this has on the pile. The Compost Maven will also practice good record keeping skills, as well as facilitation skills when it comes to communicating to Farm Staff, youth, and the public about our compost system and how to use it. 

  • Farm Management

The Farm Aficianados will practice and strengthen a variety of organic and urban farming techniques, from propagation of veggies and flowers, soil fertility management (No till, Low till and French Intensive methods) and irrigation (with hoses/wands, Drip, overhead) to crop management (planting, weeding, pruning, trellising, pinching) to harvesting for CSA and market. If present on Wednesdays, the FAs will join up with our 7-10 Adult Trainees to harvest, wash and sell produce to our CSA members and community market, on-site at the Youth Farm. This will give the apprentices direct, hands-on experience working at a faster pace and practice with sales and customer service.  Farm Aficionados may also experience the unique pleasure of harvesting cut flowers and making bouquets. FAs will practice record keeping and farm organization – crucial skills for any farm managed by a “community” of individuals.

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”?

The Youth Farm works with students from the High School for Public Service in various ways (a 10th grade elective course called "Go Green," an after-school Farm Club, after-school open hours, and paid Summer Youth Leaders program). We also work with students' families through our CSA program. We are currently planning a series of workshops in growing your own food for students and their families for 2012. Our primary goal is to educate and give opportunities to the school community at HSPS (students, families, teachers). Next, we strive to provide educational opportunities to community members through open volunteer days every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, from March-November.  Our Summer Youth Leaders program is designed to train youth from HSPS in agricultural skills, cooking skills, and community organizing skills around food justice. Our in-school curriculum is taught through a social justice lense, with our students exploring every aspect of food justice from access, to community mapping, to corporate marketing to children of unhealthy food. In this class and in our summer youth program, the students learn cooking and nutrition skills from an NYU nutrition graduate student, and they then run cooking demos at our market. Our youth are also trained to lead volunteer days and tour groups.

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

The four staff at the Youth Farm have 25 years combined farming experience. We each come with unique farming backgrounds and we are constant educators, both for our apprentices, the students, our CSA members, and the public. We are happy and eager to share the knowledge we do have. We are all able to speak to the challenges and benefits of starting an enterprise in NYC. We also have experience in chicken keeping in the city, beekeeping, flower production and floral design, and canning and preserving the harvest. These are experiences we're happy to talk about with the apprentices. 

What is exciting about your apprenticeship site?

We are constantly growing. We are adaptable, and we love working with motivated, hard-working individuals. We grow over 100 varieties of vegetables, and over sixty varieties of flowers. We have

a 30 member CSA program, a farmers market that accepts WIC checks/EBT, and 6 regular restaurant accounts.Our site is large, and in-ground -- rare for the city. We are a production farm run by part time staff, a young organization that is learning how to stay afloat financially and we are happy to be transparent about how urban agriculture can be sustainable. We're a young farm, and so there is still a lot of new ground to cover, projects to dream up, and so it's an exciting place to be. The neighborhood we work in is predominantly Jewish and West Indian, an interesting mix of people who are very supportive of and excited about the farm. The Farm is a very public place, and so apprentices will find themselves having discussions and answering questions from passers by and market customers as well. We partner with many other existing urban farms as well as greening organizations, and can offer apprentices a chance to see how crucial these partnerships can be, and practice in cultivating them. We value adult farm education: we run our own Certificate program for adults, also modeled on the CASFS program (like Farm School), and so we are thrilled to work with more adults who are interested in exploring food systems as a career, whatever shape that takes: farming, education, culinary arts, advocacy, etc.

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

Please explain:

The Youth Farm works with students from the High School for Public Service in various ways (a multi-grade elective course called "Go Green," a lunchtime and an after-school Farm Club, after-school open hours, and paid Summer Youth Leaders program). We also work with students' families and teachers’ families through our CSA program. We offered a series of free workshops covering a range of agricultural topics that was open to students and their families, as well as the general public. Our primary goal is to educate and give opportunities to the school community at HSPS (students, families, teachers). Next, we strive to provide educational and training opportunities to community members through open volunteer days, free workshops, and our Adult Farm Training program.  Our Summer Youth Leaders program is designed to train youth from HSPS in agricultural skills, cooking skills, and community organizing skills around food justice. Our in-school curriculum is taught through a social justice lens, with our students exploring every aspect of food justice from access, to community mapping, to corporate marketing to children of unhealthy food. In this class and in our summer youth program, the students learn cooking and nutrition skills from an NYU nutrition graduate student, and they then run cooking demos at our market. Our youth are also trained to lead volunteer days and tour groups. Throughout all of our programs we explore the concept of food justice, of health, of community and enjoy continuingand deepening that conversation with all who come to the Youth Farm.

Does your site work with low-income communities? Yes

If yes, please explain the nature of your work with low-income communities: We are in a low income community and farm staff are all low income. Here is some background information:

  • According to Brooklyn College's Center for the Study of Brooklyn:

East Flatbush's median income is $43,000. 

http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu

 The Youth Farm is located at the corner of Kingston Avenue and Winthrop Street in Central Brooklyn, a residential area with a high percentage of institutional use (schools and hospitals). We seek to serve the community that lives and works in the immediate area, including the students, parents and faculty of the High School for Public Service (HSPS). 

The community in which the farm is located has an immigrant-heavy population that faces significant levels of poverty. In Community District 9 (as of the 2000 census), 46% of the population was foreign-born (with almost 90% of that coming from the Caribbean and Latin America). That census showed a 7.9% unemployment rate with 24.3% living below the poverty level, both higher than the New York City average. (US Census 2000; Center for the Study of Brooklyn) 

The area ranks high on the city’s Supermarket Needs Index, which highlights communities who lack access to fresh food and face high rates of obesity and diet-related disease. 

The greater Crown Heights neighborhood includes many West Indian immigrants as well as a large Orthodox Jewish community. We have targeted both groups in our outreach this season and both have participated as customers at our market. Languages represented in the community include French Creole, Spanish, Hebrew and Chinese.

Statistics from insideschools.org for HSPS:

  • Enrollment: 417
  • Attendance: 91.2%
  • Free Lunch: 70.3%
  • Admissions: Screened, Brooklyn priority
  • Ethnicity %: 1 W | 83 B | 12 H | 4 A
  • Graduation Rate: 96%
  • Graduation Rate Six Years: 96.8%
  • English Language Learners: Less than 1%
  • Special Education: 3.7%
  • College Ready: 24.8%
  • College Enrollment: 90.5%

In addition to our HSPS school community, the immediate surrounding neighborhood community, we also work with the larger NYC community – people of all ages and races and classes and genders interested in getting their hands in the dirt, and growing more sustainable communities. We consider ourselves a popular learning hub for the city. Due to the complex and competitive funding milieu, the lack of funding available for farm training programs and basic farm management/labor, this year our inaugural Adult Farm Training program attracted mostly college-educated white adults. Our outreach was last minute and we were unable to offer scholarships or subsidies to create a more open program. We are working in this this winter and hope to attract a more diverse body of applicants through sliding scale admissions and much more extensive outreach. 

Will the apprentice’s responsibilities include food cultivation? Yes    
Please list all that apply: The site is a farm.

The apprentice will gain experience in the cultivation of:

  • Youth Education & Programming Apprenticeship: Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers
  • Summer Youth Program Apprenticeship: Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers
  • Compost Management Apprenticeship: Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers
  • Farm Management Apprenticeship: Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers

For farms or farm projects, please answer the following questions:

  • 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)? No. We do not use synthetic pesticides or herbicides. Our main pest and disease management strategy is prevention via soil fertility management, companion planning, crop succession, foliar feeding, beneficial insect habitat, etc. 

Apprentice Requirements

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

We are looking for highly motivated, responsible, hard-working individuals who can bring good energy, enthusiasm, and good communication skills. If something is not working for them, they should speak to us candidly and in a timely manner. We are excited to have passionate learners, who can also work well as part of a team. Punctuality and being consistent and reliable in terms of your presence and communication is important to us. 

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

  • Youth Education & Programming Apprenticeship:

No prior experience is required. However, professionalism, a willingness to work hard, and ability to arrive to work on time and prepared is a must. Teaching requires some outside research & preparation, ie. lesson planning, getting supplies, etc. as well as mental energy.

  • Summer Youth Education Apprentice:

Prior experience working with youth is required. However, a willingness to work hard, and ability to arrive to work on time are also important. 

  • Compost Management Apprentice:

Must be punctual, must have basic computer skills, patient, self motivated, able to work independently, reliable

  • Farm Management Apprentice: 

Must be punctual, must have basic computer skills, patient, self motivated, able to work independently, reliable

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

It is not a deal-breaker for us if you haven’t taken the following courses, but if you have it will ease your transition and help you. That said, we have Adult Trainees come to the Youth Farm with little prior experience. Please let us know which courses you have taken when you apply.

  • Youth Education & Programming Apprenticeship: Food Justice, Carpentry and Building Basics, Botany, Propagation, Growing Soil, NYC as an Ecosystem, Irrigation, Pest/Disease Management, Crop Planning, Season Extension, Small Farm Planning and Design, Preparing for Winter, Training of Trainers, Transformational Leadership
  • Summer Youth Education Apprenticeship: Food Justice, Transformational Leadership
  • Compost Management Apprenticeship: Food Justice, Growing Soil, Irrigation, Pest/Disease Identification and Management, Crop Planning, Season Extension, Small Farm Planning and Design
  • Farm Management Apprenticeship: Food Justice, Growing Soil, Irrigation, Pest/Disease Identification and Management, Crop Planning, Season Extension, Small Farm Planning and Design

What type of application materials do you want from applicants?

  • Youth Education & Programming Apprenticeship: Cover letter, Resume, Interview, SHORT Description explaining their interest in this site; include courses taken at Farm School NYC. The interview will be the most important determining factor.

Please explain: SHORT Description explaining their interest in this site/working with youth including what unique talents/skills they'll bring to the table. (1 paragraph), rather than a full blown cover letter, a short paragraph will suffice. The interview will be the most important determining factor.

  • Summer Youth Program Apprenticeship: Cover letter, Resume, Interview, SHORT Description explaining their interest in this site; include courses taken at Farm School NYC. 

Please explain: Full cover letter are not required, but please let us know why you want to work with us in this capacity. The interview will be the most important determining factor.

  • Compost Management Apprenticeship: Cover letter, Resume, Interview, SHORT Description explaining their interest in this site; include courses taken at Farm School NYC. 

Please explain: We want to meet with each person interested to make sure we are a good fit. The interview will be the most important determining factor.

  • Farm Management Apprenticeship: Cover letter, Resume, Interview, SHORT Description explaining their interest in this site; include courses taken at Farm School NYC

Please explain: We want to meet with each person interested to make sure we are a good fit. The interview will be the most important determining factor.