5 Agricultural Education Programs in NYC

by Leah Butz

New York City may be an urban center, but residents of all ages still have plenty of opportunities to learn about agriculture and farming. The following five agricultural education programs are available to New Yorkers of various ages and ability levels; if you want to learn more about agriculture and farming in NYC, find a program that suits your goals and skill set here. If you know of any other agricultural education programs to add to this list, please email info@nycfoodpolicy.org

Citywide Program

Organization: Farm School NYC
Location: Throughout NYC
About: According to Farm School NYC’s website, “The Citywide Program is a one year urban agriculture training program grounded in food justice. The program begins with a foundation in popular education, botany, and food justice, before immersing in courses that follow the flow of a growing season.” The program runs each year from December through November, and provides a certificate upon completion.
Audience: This program is open to anyone interested in learning about urban agriculture through a food justice lens.
How to Enroll: Applications for the program open in the summer, and involve info sessions and interviews. 
Time Commitment: The program is one year long and  “courses generally take place Wednesday evenings from 6-9pm and Saturdays from 10am-2pm.”
Learn More: 

Farm Beginnings

Organization: GrowNYC
Location: Virtual/Project Farmhouse
About: “GrowNYC Farm Beginnings is a comprehensive agricultural course developed for farmers by experienced farmers and Farmer Assistance staff,” according to the GrowNYC website. The program aims to help people (especially those from marginalized communities) establish an environmentally sustainable and economically successful farm business in the northeast. The course includes workshops, field trips, and classes about topics including financial planning, food justice, agricultural law, and more. 
Audience: As per the GrowNYC website, “participants looking to start farm enterprises, including farmers with agricultural experience from their home countries, NYC and urban farmers looking to scale-up to rural farming.” 
How to Enroll: Applicants must have at least one full season of farming experience or extensive knowledge about growing. People can apply to the program on the Beginning Farmer Program website. The application deadline is mid-September each year.
Time Commitment: 3.5 months (October through mid-January), 3 hours per week
Learn More: 

Harlem Grown Summer Camp

Organization: Harlem Grown
Location: Harlem
About: Harlem Grown’s summer camp program is intended to “engage and inspire children to explore the outdoors, become master farmers, taste and create delicious recipes, and lead healthier lives.” Campers attend free of charge, learning how to grow their own food on Harlem Grown’s farms and then use what they’ve grown to prepare nutritious meals.
Audience: Children aged 7 to 14 who live in Manhattan above 96th St. or the Bronx in a household with an annual income of $50,000 or less.
How to Enroll: Families can apply on the program’s website, and campers are selected by lottery
Time Commitment: 7 weeks in July and August. 
Learn More: 

Cornell Hydroponics, Aquaculture and Aquaponics Learning Labs

Organization: Cornell University Cooperative Extension – New York City
Location: Food and Finance High School
About: Food and Finance High School in Manhattan houses the Cornell Hydroponics, Aquaculture and Aquaponics Learning Labs, where students can learn about the sustainable hydroponic and aquaponic food production systems . Food produced at the labs, including fish and produce, is used by the school’s culinary arts program, served at the school’s catered events, provided to local food relief organizations, and sold to local businesses. 
Audience: Students at Food and Finance High School in Manhattan
How to Enroll: “Hydroponics is part of the school’s core science curriculum” at Food and Finance High School. Students at the school can also choose to do independent studies in chemistry or biology at the labs.
Time Commitment: Students can choose to intern at the labs, a commitment of 4 to 8 hours per week.
Learn More: 

School Garden Teacher Training

Organization: The Battery Conservancy
Location: Battery Park
About: This program provides teachers with the skills and resources to create or expand a school garden and incorporate gardening into their class curriculum. According to the Battery’s website, “This intensive and comprehensive program covers developing a garden support committee, creating a garden layout, identifying and managing weeds and pests, soil fertility and compost, and cooking in the classroom.”
Audience: New York City Public School teachers. Free of charge to teachers who are Grow to Learn mini-grant recipients.
How to Enroll: Teachers can contact education@thebattery.org to learn more.
Time Commitment: “The program is 15+ hours, usually split into five sessions over four weeks,” according to the Battery’s website.
Learn More: 

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