The YOUTH FARM

High School for Public Service
600 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn NY, 11203

The YOUTH FARM’s 2015 Urban Farm Training Program
ABOUT THE YOUTH FARM
The Youth Farm at Wingate Campus is a production-based educational farm in Crown
Heights that offers New Yorkers opportunities to increase their knowledge of the food
system and develop strong, marketable organic growing skills to share with their
communities and advance in a career in food and agriculture.
As an "outdoor classroom" serving all Wingate Campus students and the broader NYC
community, the Youth Farm is a space for farm-based, hands-on learning across all
disciplines for people of all ages. HSPS students participate on the farm through various
means, from our customized year-round "Go Green" elective classes and after-school
Farm Club, to Wrestling Team "practices” and Summer Youth employment on the farm.
Community members interact with the farm via CSA memberships, our Farmers Market,
public Volunteer Days and free monthly workshops. The Youth Farm serves as a training
hub for aspiring young and adult farmers through its Urban Farm Training Program,
customized tours and workshops, internships and volunteer opportunities, and by acting
as a permanent host site for Farm School NYC courses.
The Youth Farm aims to produce fresh, affordable food and flowers for the Wingate
Campus community and our immediate neighbors. We grow over 80 varieties of
vegetable crops and over 80 varieties of cut flowers. We practice sustainable farming
techniques and do not use any synthetic pest and pathogen controls, or genetically
modified seed. Like many local small farm businesses, we have a diverse marketing
strategy which helps support our educational work: We sell our vegetables and flowers
through a CSA program, weekly farmers market, and multiple restaurant and florist
accounts. Participants become aware of what it really takes to succeed year to year
as a small farm.
URBAN FARM TRAINING PROGRAM OVERVIEW
The goal of the Urban Farm Training Program is to provide participants an opportunity to
develop high-level organic farming skills through an intensive program combining
formal instruction and hands-on work. Apprentices will be chosen based on their ability
to commit to the program, their motivation to learn, and ability to work with others in a
team setting.
Farm founders Molly Culver and Bee Ayer developed the Urban Farm Training Program
in 2010. After working on food justice projects in the Bronx and Brooklyn in 2005, both
earned Certificates in Ecological Horticulture from the University of California/Santa
Cruz's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. The UFTP is modeled after
this world-famous farm training program. At the Youth Farm, we discuss and hope to
work towards more food justice, and this ethos permeates the farm’s crop plan,
marketing strategy, and workshops. We also stove to create a program that is as a
proximate to real production farming as possible, while making it possible for
participants to maintain jobs elsewhere that sustain them and pay the bills.

www.hspsfarm.blogspot.com

The YOUTH FARM
High School for Public Service
600 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn NY, 11203

During a season on the Youth Farm, you will become intimately familiar with the tasks,
challenges, and rewards of growing many varieties of vegetables and flowers. Through
this 20-hour per week commitment, you will gain a good sense and feel for the physical
and mental energy required to produce nutritious and delicious food, beautiful flowers,
and a rich, harmonious community space. You will meet like-minded individuals and
form important connections with others entering and contributing to this exciting field.
You will begin to network with others working and volunteering in green sectors of NYC’s
economy. You will share learning experiences with youth. You will experience the
monotony and meditative nature of certain tasks, as well as the joy of the diversity of
tasks to be done. You will sharpen the diverse skills needed to succeed as a farmer,
from technical skills to business and interpersonal skills. Hands-on work, workshops, field
trips and independent work will all be a part of your learning environment. You can
expect to walk away with a keen sense for what it takes to produce nutritious food, and
a clearer picture of how you see yourself pursuing this line of work. Each Apprentice
who completes the program will receive a Certificate in Urban Farming.
INSTRUCTORS
Farm Manager Molly Culver brings 10 years of rural and urban organic growing
experience, as well as deep relationships and commitment to NYC food justice efforts.
Molly is a founding member of Farm School NYC, teaches the Propagation and
Growing Soil courses for Farm School NYC, and also serves on its Executive Board. Molly
has taught a range of agricultural topics for Just Food, Farm School NYC, the New York
Botanical Garden, New York Restoration Project, GreenThumb, and more. She
specializes in propagation, soil science, and flower production, and runs her own
sustainable floral design business, Molly Oliver Flowers. Assistant Manager Liz Dowd is a
returning UFTP participant from 2012. Liz originally moved to NYC to pursue her love for
photography and graduated from the School of Visual Arts. After graduating, she
studied urban permaculture under Claudia Joseph and biodynamic farming at the
Pfeiffer Center. Craving a more intimate farming experience, she happened upon the
Urban Farm Training Program at the Youth Farm. She apprenticed for a year and then
joined the team as the Assistant Farm Manager in 2013.
TRAINING PROGRAM COMPONENTS
The Urban Farm Training Program is designed to be a holistic educational experience
for those interested in agriculture, food justice, and nutrition. (That said, people
interested in physical education, sociology, education, nutrition, cooking, landscaping,
or other careers may also benefit). The program provides a unique opportunity to learn,
and work with youth in a production farm setting. Meeting harvest and sales goals are
crucial to the programs’ sustainability; we feel this helps participants develop a more
realistic view of what it takes to farm. At the Youth Farm, we view the time spent doing
hands-on farm work as the most important component of learning about
horticulture/urban agriculture.

www.hspsfarm.blogspot.com

The YOUTH FARM
High School for Public Service
600 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn NY, 11203

The training program’s components include:
• Hands-on Farm Work
• Weekly Technical Workshops
• Weekly Instructional Farm Walk
• Training Rotations in Propagation, Irrigation, Flowers, Direct Marketing (CSA and
Market), Composting and Farm Management
• Direct Marketing: Community Supported Agriculture, Farmers Market, Restaurant
Sales
• Working with Youth
• Urban and Rural Field Trips
• Ergonomics & Self-Care for Farmers
• Record Keeping
• Discussion of food systems and movement through a Food Justice lens
• Traditional and Alternative Skills Assessment
• End-of-Season Graduate Round Table/Career Q&A
Hands-on Farm Work
A significant portion of a Youth Farm Apprentice’s time will be spent doing fieldwork
with our vegetable and flower crops. Field work includes, but is not limited to:
propagation of seedlings in our hoop house, soil fertility management (bed preparation,
spreading of compost and/or other amendments), direct seeding, transplanting,
weeding, watering, trellising, pest and disease identification and control, harvesting,
post-harvest handling, and composting. Fieldwork can be labor intensive, repetitive,
and therefore physically challenging, especially in hot weather. It is vital that
Apprentices come to work dressed properly (close-toed shoes are mandatory at all
times), with sunscreen, a water bottle, and a nourishing lunch. While hands-on farm
work should always be performed with attention and efficiency, it should also be
enjoyable.
Workshops
Once a week all Youth Farm Apprentices will sit down for formal instruction on a specific
farm-related topic with a program instructor or Guest Lecturer. These workshops will give
us a chance to focus more in depth on a single topic, including Soil Health, Irrigation,
Compost, Pest & Pathogen Management, Direct Marketing, and many more. A sample
workshop schedule is provided at the end of this packet. A sample workshop schedule
is found at the end of this packet.
Instructional Farm Walks
Once a week we will take a “Farm Walk” to observe what is happening on the farm
with a thoughtful eye, primarily in our crops. We will observe and discuss crop maturity,
any signs of stress such as disease or insects, and take note of what tasks need to be
done for the week. These walks may focus on a specific issue at play – a pest or disease
problem, a crop management technique, or other influences at work. Apprentices may
have the opportunity to lead a farm walk during the program.

www.hspsfarm.blogspot.com

The YOUTH FARM
High School for Public Service
600 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn NY, 11203

Rotations
During the program, Youth Farm Apprentices will rotate through six specializations:
propagation, irrigation, flowers, direct marketing, compost, and farm management.
These rotations will help you gain a deeper understanding of these subjects through
taking on more responsibilities and time devoted to the subject. Apprentices will have
the opportunity to pass on knowledge to each other while transitioning in and out of
rotations. A sample rotation schedule is found at the end of this packet.
Direct Marketing
All Youth Farm Apprentices will get to experience direct marketing – or selling directly
from the farm to the consumer – in the form of a farmers market and CSA program
which take place on-site. Through a direct marketing rotation, each Apprentice will
gain experience in CSA harvest, distribution and communication, farmers market
display, customer service, record keeping, and more.
Working with Youth
The consistent and meaningful involvement of Wingate middle and high school
students in farm work and events is a priority at the Youth Farm. During different parts of
the training program, participants will work alongside youth. Mentoring the youth is not
a mandatory component of the Youth Farm training program, however
encouragement and positive interaction with the youth is a must. There will be formal
introductions and get-to-know-you activities planned to help create more synthesis
between the adult participants and youth farmers.
Field Trips
Throughout the season, field trips will be arranged on regular program days. These will
include visits to other urban farming projects in New York City, as well as one visit to a
rural farm outside the city.
Ergonomics
Self-care is critical to everyone’s ability and longevity as a farmer. We schedule regular
times for stretching, and our Orientation encompasses demonstrations of proper
posture, and discussions on ergonomics.
Record Keeping
All Apprentices will participate in the farm’s record-keeping systems during their
rotations. Each workday ends in a formal “check out” which includes filling out relevant
logs for that day. Most rotations involve being responsible for specific records.
Skills Assessments
Throughout the season, apprentices will have their developing skills assessed in both
traditional and innovative ways. These range from written assessments, to rotation
checkouts, to fun activities. Grading is not a part of the program; assessments are
intended to provide useful feedback as apprentices learn new skills.

www.hspsfarm.blogspot.com

The YOUTH FARM
High School for Public Service
600 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn NY, 11203

YOUTH FARM VALUES & EXPECTATIONS
High Standards & Expectations for Farming Work Ethic: All Youth Farm Apprentices
should have the ability to lift 40 pounds, and be prepared to perform repetitive,
physically demanding tasks. (There will be flexible breaks for water and a one-hour
lunch break each day).
Commitment: We expect a full commitment to the Full season. Consistent attendance
is vital for farm viability as well as essential for morale and mutual respect among
farmers. Apprentices will be excused from program days on account of illness or
unforeseen circumstances. Each Apprentice will be granted 1 week off from the
program for vacation (3 days or a total of 20 hours). Each Apprentice will be granted 5
unscheduled absences, to cover unexpected conflicts or illness. We will track
attendance. Repeated lateness and absence will result in a conversation about
whether to continue the program.
Punctuality: The Youth Farm values education and the training of new urban farmers. In
order for our program to run smoothly, and for our farm operation to be viable, we
depend on the punctuality and commitment of our Apprentices. Arriving on time
means honoring everyone else’s time, and helps create good work ethic for the farm as
a whole. We urge our participants to factor in extra time to their commute to ensure
timely arrival to work.
Self-Care: While the commitment and work on the farm is rigorous, Youth Farm staff
strives to foster an environment of self-respect, respect of others and of farm property.
We put emphasis on protecting your body as you work, and we demonstrate proper
tool use and care at the start of the program. We encourage all participants to set an
example of proper tool use, healthy eating, hydration, etc. for their peers as well as for
youth. A nourishing meal (and snacks) is essentials for happy farming, as are full water
bottles, the right clothing, sturdy close-toed shoes, and sunscreen or a hat and longsleeved clothing. Farm staff is happy to point out nutritious eating options near the
Farm.
Friendly Environment: Hate speech of any kind is not tolerated at the Youth Farm under
any circumstances. If anyone is heard saying things that are racist, homophobic, or
hateful they will immediately be asked to leave. Our farm is based on the values of
social justice and dismantling racism, sexism, homophobia and all forms of structural
oppression.

www.hspsfarm.blogspot.com

The YOUTH FARM
High School for Public Service
600 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn NY, 11203

Past participants say...
"This program provided me with an opportunity to learn side by side with
experienced farmers."
"There was so much opportunity for hands-on work and the farmers were all very
patient, kind and knowledgeable about the work."
“I feel that this training program gave me the confidence to go forward and
approach farming with a solid foundation.”
“This program changed my life for the better and made this summer probably one
of the BEST summers I have ever experienced.”
“This program has provided me with a more realistic view of what it takes to be a
farmer.”

URBAN FARM TRAINING PROGRAM DETAILS
Hours & Time Commitment
The Urban Farm Training Program is an intensive educational experience, and requires
serious commitment to the work and time on the Farm. The Urban Farm Training
Program runs for 30 weeks from April 20th through November 13th, 2015. The program
meets 20 hours a week: 8am-3pm on Mondays, 8am-7pm on Wednesdays (you will
have a 6 hr. shift), and 8am-3pm on Fridays. In addition, each Apprentice will be
responsible for two weekend irrigation shifts over the course of the program, amounting
to 4-8 hours per weekend.
Cost
Tuition for the Urban Farm Training Program is based on comparable program fees
across the country. For the full season (30 weeks), the cost of the program is $1,100.
Payment options:
Each apprentice in the Urban Farm Training Program will pay a $500 deposit upon
acceptance, by March 15th, 2015. A second payment of $500 will be invoiced half way
through the program. If you would prefer a three-installment payment option, please
inquire upon acceptance (March 1, 2015).
How to Apply
To apply for the Urban Farm Training Program, please fill out our online application
(2015: please wait, not prepared yet!) found on our website (hspsfarm.blogspot.com).

www.hspsfarm.blogspot.com

The YOUTH FARM
High School for Public Service
600 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn NY, 11203

Applications will be due by February 1, 2015. After that date, qualified applicants will be
contacted for an interview. Applicants will be notified March 1st about their
acceptance to the program.

If you have any questions about the program, or the application process, please
contact molly@bkfarmyards.com.
Season Schedule At A Glance:

Rotations At A Glance:

www.hspsfarm.blogspot.com