Apprenticeship Site 2013 - Bissel Gardens

General Information

Name of apprenticeship site:

Bissel Gardens

Location of apprenticeship site:

Bissel Ave, between Bayxhester and Barnes Ave, Bronx NY 10466

Name and title of supervisor:

James Lane, Board Chairman

Supervisor Contact Info (Email and Phone):, 248-877-9370

Number of Apprenticeship Positions available at your site:


Title of apprenticeship position(s):

Bissel Gardens apprentice

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:

NYC subway: #2 train to Nereid Ave stop.
Walk east on Nereid, turn left on Barnes walk to intrersection of Barnes and Bissel. Bissel Gardens at end of street, near entrance to train yard.

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

There is tremendous potential for mutual benefit for the apprentice and Bissel Gardens. Bissel is an established community garden with several functioning programs (Traditional Community Garden, Food For Others, Children's Garden, Farmer's market, and Propagation). Apprentices will contribute to one or more of these programs assisting with ongoing operations.

Apprentice Work Schedule

Farm School NYC requires that the apprenticeship be a minimum of 140 hours.

# of Hours per week: ~10

# of Hours total (140 hours minimum): ~240

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

Negotiable with candidate once selected

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

Negotiable with candidate once selected

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? If yes, please describe:

At least $1500 for the season, more if funding becomes available


Apprenticeship Description

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

Crop Production, Advocacy

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 be expected to contribute in three areas of Bissel's programs. We propagate and plant vegetables for donation to area (NE Bronx) soup kitchens in the Food For Others area. The Farmer's market operates on Saturdays from July through November. Our Children's Garden provides learning and relaxing space, especially for kids. And in the propagation area, the apprentice will assist with starting and caring for both vegetables as well as Habitat friendly (for pollinating insects and birds) perennials and shrubs.

What will the apprentice learn through this apprenticeship?

1. Plant propagation including vegetable starts in a small green house setting as well as perennials and shrubs
2. Vegetable gardening from experienced urban community gardeners
3. Community relations and collaboration


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”?

Bissel Gardens is an ongoing successful community garden with over 50 active participants from widely diverse backgrounds. People grow there own food, grow food for donation to others, and volunteer at a NYS farmers market stand. The gardens were reclaimed from Bissel Avenue which had been an unused city street--now listed permanently as open space by New York City.

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

More than twenty years as an Outdoor, Science, and Ecology educator. I have taught all ages from 5 to 85 and served as a mentor to several High-school aged students. The community of gardeners and supporters at Bissel offer a host of additional experiences.

What is exciting about your apprenticeship site?

Bissel recently completed a transition of leadership from the founding members, Russ and Teresa LeCount. New members have joined the programs in recent years and are carrying on the good work. Bissel also added three new Board members in 2012. The most exciting recent development is that the Children's Garden area received a $50,000 make-over improvement in 2011, so Bissel expects to offer additional programs for children from local schools and community groups.

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

Bissel Gardens is a collection of New York City community gardens located in the Wakefield/Baychester neighborhood of the Bronx. The Farmer's market at Bissel Gardens sponsors New York State farmers and sells New York State produce (as well as some from our own gardens) and is able to accept both WIC and federal food stamps to serve low income community residents.

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

Vegetables, Herbs

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)?



Apprentice Requirements

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

Some experience working outdoors
Some experience gardening or caring for plants
Some experience working with children
Some experience working with members of the public
Some experience preparing vegetables from fresh-picked to edible

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

Enjoy being outdoors
Enjoy plants and working with soil and other parts of gardening
Enjoy the company of children
Enjoy working with people
Enjoy fresh-picked foods

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

Propagation, Growing Soil, NYC as an Ecosystem

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, Photos of other work, if available

Please explain:

Interview can be over the phone. I would like to see something in writing so that we can determine the experience and commitment level of various candidates.