Apprenticeship Site - Queens Farm

Name of apprenticeship site: 

Queens County Farm Museum aka Queens Farm

Location of apprenticeship site: 

73-50 Little Neck Parkway
Floral Park, NY 11004

Name of organization or business, if different from site name: 

Queens County Farm Museum

Name and title of supervisor: 

Kennon Kay, Director of Agriculture, kennonkay@gmail.com
Leah Retherford, Farm Manager, leahmariereth@gmail.com

Title of apprenticeship position: 

FSNYC Apprentice

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

We are so excited about Farm School NYC! One of the best parts about farming in the city is the diverse network of inspiring people that it involves. We know that the Farm School Apprenticeship is made up of committed and enthusiastic individuals and we hope to be tuned into their valuable work.

APPRENTICE WORK SCHEDULE

# of Hours per week: 

16 hours, with possibility of more  hours depending on situation

# of Hours total: 

140+ hours

Is there a specific term for the apprenticeship? 

April 1st through October 31st.

Specific days and times of apprenticeship, if relevant: 

TBD.

FINANCIAL DETAILS

Will you offer the apprentice payment or a stipend? 

No.

APPRENTICESHIP DESCRIPTION

Categories that apply to this apprenticeship: 

Crop Production
Teaching
Enterprise
Caring for, not breeding, livestock

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. 

The Apprentice will be involved with general operations, working alongside our team on the day-to-day responsibilities and tasks of a small, diversified, public farm. These include, but are not limited to: livestock chores (feeding, grooming, mucking pens), propagating, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, leading public and school group tours, running farmstands, and working with volunteer groups.

What will the apprentice learn through this apprenticeship? 

The Apprentice will learn about:

Food production, from seed to sale (which includes Propagation, Crop Rotation, "Organic" (not certified) Cultivation (methods and tools), Season Extension, Harvest and Post-Harvest Handling, Direct Marketing (on-site Farmstand, New Amsterdam Market, and Union Square Greenmarket));

Soil Building (Compost, Cover Crops, and Natural Amendments);

Livestock Care;

Community Partnerships; 

Perennial, Berry, and Woodland Management (about half of Queens Farm's 47 acres is wooded);

Public Relations, Community Building, and Sustainable Ag. Education (what it means to be one of the oldest farms in one of the most diverse cities).

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”? 

To grow food is one of the most beautifully simple and empowering activities that humans can do. With so many vacant lots in NYC, the potential for urban food production is huge; though Queens Farm is bigger than rooftop and community gardens, most of our four-season growing techniques can be translated to small scales, which would in turn promote the Farm School NYC vision.

What is exciting about your apprenticeship site? 

It is so exciting and we feel incredibly lucky to cultivate land which has been farmed since 1697, in New York City! Aside from its rich history, what makes Queens Farm's 47 acres so special is the wonderfully diverse community which surrounds them; as a public farm, we interact regularly with visitors whose origins span the globe. It is inspiring to learn about different cultural growing practices and vegetable varieties, as well as to see people light up when they discover a place in the city, producing and sharing food in a way which reminds them of home.

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

We have a strong team with lots of different experiences to share.  Together we balance passions for food production in its many forms.

On your farm, do you use sustainable growing practices (i.e. no or limited chemical pesticides or fertilizers)? 

Yes

Please explain: 

We do not use chemicals of any kind! We rely upon crop rotation, compost, and manual labor (with minimal tractor use) to produce the healthiest food possible.

If your site is a farm, garden, or other crop propagation site, please check all that apply: 

Organic but not certified
Certified naturally grown
Use IPM (Integrated Pest Management)

APPRENTICE REQUIREMENTS

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

Any of the following skills could be a plus: education and leadership experience, grant writing and fundraising, PR/outreach experience, technological skills and social networking (web development, facebook and twitter, blogging, etc.), agroforestry and tree care, and knowledge of natives and wild things.

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

Enthusiasm, patience, positive attitude, self-confidence and the ability to work well alone as well as with others, and the ability to ask questions. Also, the work is strenuous so physical fitness is important.

Which of the following courses are necessary prerequisites for your apprenticeship? 

Botany
Propagation
Growing Soil
Irrigation
Crops Management
Pest/Disease Identification and Management
Carpentry and Building Basics
Season Extension

Regarding the courses listed above, none are prerequisites... I selected some that seem more in line with this operation, but all are relevant.

If a Farm School NYC student is interested in your apprenticeship, what information do you want from them and when? 

Cover letter
Resume
Interview

Please explain: 

The most important thing is a farm visit. We want to meet you! Queens Farm is a unique combination of farm and public city space, so it will be important to see for yourself if it feels like a good fit.