The Youth Farm: NYC Food Based Community Organization Spotlight

by Cameron St. Germain

What they do: The Youth Farm is an education-focused production farm in Brooklyn that offers New Yorkers opportunities to increase their knowledge of the food system and build high level organic growing skills to share with their communities. The Youth Farm grows organic food and flowers on one acre for the community and beyond, and offers hands-on farm training and leadership opportunities for youth and adults.

How they do it: The Youth Farm team manages a 1 acre farm using ecologically-minded practices to grow up to 15,000 lbs of fresh, diverse, culturally relevant vegetables, herbs, and flowers annually. Crops are maintained through help of educational and job training program participants. The Youth Farm developed food justice and nutrition curriculum that is co-taught to every HSPS Freshman; an after-school Farm Club leads 15-20 students weekly to do art and farm related projects; a Youth Leadership Council of 10 students promotes healthy eating, food justice, and farm opportunities to their peers; and a Summer Youth Tillers program hires and pays 6-10 HSPS students annually to work on the farm, market, and perform community outreach. The farm runs a 7 month intensive training in organic farming for 9-12 adults, in partnership with Farm School NYC, as well as intern and volunteer opportunities for adults interested in gaining some skills in farming or gardening, or exploring agriculture as a career. The Youth Farm runs a weekly farmers market from June 21 – October 25, accepting cash, EBT, FMNP checks and Health Bucks, and also offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share for up to 25 families every year.

Major Funding: Merck Family Foundation, Bay and Paul Foundation, the USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program, Brooklyn Community Foundation, New York Cares, Green Guerillas

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: $115,000

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: Since 2010, they are developed the largest educational farm space located at an NYC public school that facilitates hands on learning opportunities for hundreds of New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds every year.

FACT SHEET

Location: 600 Kingston Avenue Brooklyn

Core Programs: Manage The Youth Farm, and run youth and adult educational programs. Programs: Go Green class/Food Justice Segment, Afterschool Farm Club, Youth Leadership Council, Summer Youth Tillers, Farm Intensive Certificate (in partnership with Farm School NYC), Internships, Volunteer Days, Community Supported Agriculture (Vegetable and Flower CSA), Farmers Market, Partnership programs with Sacred Vibes Apothecary (leads free workshops in herbal medicine on the farm) and Brooklyn Greenhouse (leads interactive Agri-STEM based tours and workshops for students of all ages on the farm)

Number of Staff (E-board): 3 consultants

Number of Volunteers: 50+/month

Area Served: Crown Heights, Prospect

Date Started: 2009

Founder: Stacey Murphy and Bee Ayer (BK Farmyards), Ben Shuldiner (HSPS)

Contact Information: [email protected]

Photo credit: Molly Culver

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