Apprenticeship Site - Edible Schoolyards, NYC

General Information

Name of apprenticeship site:

Edible Schoolyard NYC at PS 216

Location of apprenticeship site:

PS 216, 350 Avenue X, Brooklyn, NY 11223

Name and title of supervisor:

Mirem Villamil, Head Garden Manager

Supervisor Contact Info (Email and Phone):  347 565-0100

Number of Apprenticeship Positions available at your site:


Title of apprenticeship position(s):

Edible Schoolyard NYC Spring Garden 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: 

PS 216 is very close to the F train stop at Avenue X: it's about a 4-minute walk East.

The N train stop at 86th Street is about a 7-minute walk East.

The Q train stop 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. 

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

I can't think of a better fit! Farm School NYC students are hardworking, passionate, and are completing coursework that corresponds very closely to the work we do here. Edible Schoolyard NYC can provide the hands-on experience to complete their education, and we benefit from the knowledge they've gained at Farm School.

Apprentice Work Schedule

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

# of Hours per week: 12

# of Hours total (140 hours minimum): 180 hours, flexible

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

Apprentices have a two-day orientation on February 28th and March 1st

Start date is Tuesday, March 5th

End date is Friday, June 28th 

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

we're somewhat flexible but would strongly prefer to stick to a Tuesday-Thursday-Friday schedule:

Tuesdays OR Thursdays, 9am to 4pm

Fridays, 9am to 1pm - Friday mornings we meet as a group, so we really want everyone to be there 

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.)

see above


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. During this period part of our site will be closed for the construction of a kitchen classroom and greenhouse, but we will continue to teach garden classes and produce food for our kitchen classes. 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



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 2012, 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? 

There is still so much to do to build our garden and put systems in place to manage it effectively. I hope our apprentices are excited by the challenges of working in a program that is still very much taking shape! Big projects for PS 216 include a chicken coop and re-usable, modular plant supports. 

Another exciting aspect of the apprenticeship is that Edible Schoolyard NYC will be expanding to a second site in East Harlem in 2013. That site will be on a school rooftop and the project will be developing during the apprentice's tenure here. 

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? 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 (where spring 2012 apprentices will be based) has a very high percentage of recent immigrant families and English language learners. 

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)?



Apprentice Requirements

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

An ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

- 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? Please list all that apply:

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

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

Please explain: 

Farm School NYC students are welcome to visit our site in Gravesend on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays - please email Natasha ( 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; interviews will take place the week of December 10th.