Farming Intensive Certificate for Adults – A Partner Program with Farm School NYC

The application period for our 2017-2018 Farming Intensive Certificate Program is now closed.

If you are interested in this program for the 2018-19 season, please feel free to read this Application Guide to learn more about this unique program!

About the Farming Intensive Certificate:
In August 2016, The Youth Farm began a new partnership with Farm School NYC to offer the Farm Intensive Certificate, which launched its first cohort November 2016. The Farm Intensive Certificate is a combination of three core Farm School NYC courses, and a 7 month urban farm training developed by the Youth Farm, formerly called the Urban Farm Training Program, which has run each season since 2012.

In this program, highly motivated students interested in both sustainable agriculture and social justice take three of Farm School NYC’s foundation courses — Food Justice, Botany and Training of Trainers — and then spend a full growing season at The Youth Farm. The goal of the Farm Intensive Certificate is to provide students with an immersive production farming experience. FIC students are actively involved in every stage of producing an acre of food and flowers for the farm’s various markets; a 30 member Vegetable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program), a 25 member Flower CSA, a weekly farm stand and several restaurant accounts. Students are trained in age-old sustainable/low-till/agro-ecological farming skills through a blend of hands on work, formal workshops, discussion, and field trips.

FIC students are chosen based on their interest in production farming and aspects of food justice, their ability to commit to the program fully, their motivation to learn, and their ability to work constructively with others in a team setting.  In this Intensive Certificate, students learn primarily through the hands on work of growing diverse crops seed to harvest, and through practice taking leadership roles in managing key components of the farm in a supportive environment; the hands on work is supported by sit down workshops and suggested readings.

As a Farm Intensive Certificate student, you will gain many valuable growing skills necessary for cultivating a wide variety of vegetables and flowers appropriate to our region. You will also receive an introduction into popular education approach to teaching, which is the approach used both at Farm School NYC and The Youth Farm.  You will gain the invaluable experience of nurturing crops and soil day to day and gain a sense for the physical and mental energy required to run a small farming operation that produces high quality vegetables, beautiful flowers, and a rich and harmonious community space. Through Food Justice, you have opportunity to delve deep into systems of structural oppression and institutional racism and past and present actions to fight these systems and increase social and food justice.

Through this dynamic marriage of Farm School NYC’s and The Youth Farm’s respected curriculum, we hope to grow new farmers well that are prepared and empowered to grow more food and increase food justice through their future endeavors.


Past Participants Say:

“This training 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 thought the schedule was a really perfect balance of feeling like you were consistently on the farm, while also being able to work on the side to support myself.”

“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.”

Core Program Components:

  • Farm School NYC Core Courses: Training of Trainers, Food Justice, and Botany, Dec ’17 – March ’18, and a capstone Seminar course, Dec ’18
  • Hands on Farm Work: 7 month Farm Intensive at The Youth Farm: 22 hrs/week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, April ’18- Nov ’18
  • Weekly Sit Down Workshops and Instructional Farm Walks
  • Rotations in Propagation, Irrigation, Compost, Farm Management, Cut Flowers, Community Supported Agriculture, and Farmers Market
  • Working with Youth and Community
  • Urban and Rural Field Trips
  • Dream Farm Planning: A 3-part workshop series designed to support students in visioning a future farm-based project or business, combining crop planning, budget writing and creating financial projections for the project
  • End-of-Season Graduate Round Table/Career Q&A

What can you do with your Certificate?

  • Produce more food in your current growing space
  • Manage up to 1 acre of diversified farm space
  • Accept jobs as gardening coordinators at NYC schools
  • Manage NYC Greenmarkets
  • Launch your own urban agriculture and landscaping business
  • Enhance an existing wellness and nutrition consulting business
  • Work in floral design or transition your floral design business to using local, seasonal flowers
  • Accept competitive rural farm apprenticeships
  • Gain a broad understanding of urban farming systems and network with the brightest in the field to take your passion to the next level