Apprenticeship Site - Hellgate Farm


General Information

Name of apprenticeship site:

           Hellgate Farm

Location of apprenticeship site:

14-33 30th Drive, Astoria, Queens

Name and title of supervisor:

Rob (Founder) Anna (Manager)

Supervisor Contact Info (Email and Phone):

Rob: (Phone):(917) 832-0992, (Email):

Anna: (Phone):(413) 265-1150, (Email):

Number of Apprenticeship Positions available at your site:


Title of apprenticeship position(s):

Hellgate Farm Infrastructure Apprentice and Hellgate Farm 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:  


The address is 14-33 30th Drive in Astoria New York which is closest to the NQ train or the Q100 and Q69 buses.

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


We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to have Farm School students participate in our training program because by choosing to pursue a Farm School certificate, we are sure that these students share our passion and dedication to urban farming in New York City.  Additionally, one of Hellgate Farm's fundamental goals as an organization is to educate others about the possibilities for urban farming in a residential setting. We see having a Farm School apprentice as a part of fulfilling that goal and are excited about the fresh ideas and outlook that an apprentice may bring. A student in our training program would grow and evolve with us in the 2014 growing season.

Apprentice Work Schedule

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

# of Hours per week: 7 - 10 during the growing season 

# of Hours total (140 hours minimum): 200

Does your apprenticeship have a specific start and end date? 

Yes. Infrastructure Apprentice Start April 1st, General Apprentice March 1st or earlier

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


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:



Apprenticeship Description

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

Crop Production, Animal Husbandry, Teaching, Enterprise, Design and Construction

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.:


In general, the apprentice(s) in our training program would be involved in all aspects of the farm. 

On the farm side this would include seed starting and propagation, soil improvements and upkeep, preparing beds, planting and managing a successional crop plan (seeding, weeding, pruning, mulching etc.), harvesting for our 10 person CSA (summer and fall), working at either our Sunday farm stand or Wednesday CSA distribution and chicken care (including coop maintenance, and chicken health).

An apprentice interested in learning about urban farming infrastructure will be involved in general projects throughout the year integrating food production into housing. General projects will include building and designing a small root cellar, constructing a green roof on the chicken coop, and small carpentry projects such as raised beds and planter boxes. Depending on an applicants ability and dedication potential hands on trades include carpentry, masonry, plaster and concrete work, plumbing, MIG welding, and potential design drawing work (by hand or computer 3d modeling).
Additionally, there are two specific projects that an apprentice could take on, according to his/her interest:
Compost –We would like to improve our compost systems and feel that it could be a focused and rewarding project for an apprentice in our training program.  Parts of the project would include: assessment of our current production and research on possible improvements/alternatives; outreach in Astoria to try and increase the volume of compost we collect; responsible for the creation of high quality compost; education or workshops on compost.

Infrastructure – A large specific project the applicant will be assisting on will be setting up a hydroponic growing system on an existing rooftop, with a small greenhouse incorporated. This project will be guided by two senior designers (including the supervisor).
We are flexible with hours, but would request that apprentices commit to spending 7-10 hours a week (2 shifts) during the height of the growing season, June-September.

What will the apprentice learn through this apprenticeship? 


How to produce for market, start greenhouse transplants, make a farm planting schedule, care for chickens and bees, work as part of a team to maintain site and production area, work with local gardeners and refugees and asylees.


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”?

For communities to be self-reliant in regards to food we need to produce as much food as possible through innovative growing techniques; our project is leading the way in diverse and inventive ways to grow food in NYC. We are committed to education and making our project replicable.  We see our farm as a demonstration of various methods of urban agriculture that can be done in a small space with limited resources and want to share about our process and methods.

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


There would be two supervisors for this Site.  Anna will supervise the farm work while Rob will supervise the infrastructure work.

Anna has been the manager of Hellgate Farm since September 2012.  She has been involved with farming and education for the last 4 years and worked in New York City for the last 2.  Her other work in New York City is centered around gardening and nutrition education for elementary, middle, and high school students with a variety of organizations and in her teaching she would share her knowledge of how to explain farming to others.  She is an excellent resource on what it is like to work in urban agriculture in the city and is eager to help others make that work.

Rob has a formal engineering background and has worked as a Construction Project Manager with NYC for Parks Buildings, is a LEED AP, and in total has been involved with ecological building design and construction for six years. On the other end of the spectrum he has constructed off-grid buildings and trained at Earthship Biotecture Academy in New Mexico, as well as is a student of Permaculture. He will share this unique blend of inventive design and building with salvaged materials backed with conventional engineering.

What is exciting about your apprenticeship site? 

Hellgate Farm is one of the most diverse urban farms in NYC. We grow food in various containers (including Sub Irrigated Planters), green roof space, backyard space, as well as keep chickens and bees. We will be experimenting with rooftop hydroponics in 2014. Our site is truly vested in Permaculture and integrating food production into existing buildings, the necessary path for widespread urban agriculture and conscious human existence in cities. We are also a relatively new farm, so we are still evolving.  We are not "stuck in our ways" and are always finding new ways to improve.  

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


Please explain:  

Our farm is in Astoria, Queens.  We are integrated into the neighborhood, having partnerships with several neighborhood restaurants and also our CSA membership is entirely based in Astoria.  We are Astoria's only farm and are committed to spreading the knowledge of urban farming in our neighborhood.


Does your site work with low-income communities?


If no,  please explain why your site doesn't work with low-income communities and describe the communities that you do work with:   

Our site plans to start an educational program by hosting events that will be donation based and accessible to low-income populations. We also will be donating extra food from our CSA to a local food pantry.

The community we work with is anyone in Astoria who is interested in our produce or our vision.

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

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

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? 

Someone dedicated to learn about self-sufficiency and open to doing things in a different way. Someone who is willing to think outside the box. Someone with the ability to think on their feet.  A self starter.

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

Someone who is committed to the program and will follow through in regards to communication and attendance. Should be comfortable on rooftops and working with, at minimum, hand tools. Comfortable both working independently and in teams.  Comfortable asking questions and getting feed back.

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

Carpentry and Building Intro, Growing Soil, Irrigation, Pest/Disease ID and Management, Crop Planning, Small Farm Planning and Design

 If a Farm School NYC student is interested in your apprenticeship, what type of application materials do you want from them? 

 Resume, Interview

We would like a resume to know the background and experience of an apprentice, as that will be an indication of their fit with us.  Additionally it is important for both of us (Anna and Rob) to meet with a potential apprentice.  As we will all be working very closely, having a good dynamic is essential.