The Youth Farm serves as an outdoor classroom for Wingate Campus Schools and other visiting students, providing a welcoming space for hands on and interdisciplinary education. Classes on the farm engage students who struggle with the methods and structure of classroom education, and specifically serves to help those students who most need extra support to be engaged and interested in school. On the Youth Farm students engage their brains and bodies in completely different ways then indoor lessons.
Our programs include a year-round Go Green! class, year-round Lunchtime Farm Club internship program, Physical Education Classes that utilize the farm as a “gym,” and a Summer Youth Leaders program. Our staff works with teachers and administrators to engage more then 1,000 students to participate in Youth Farm activities annually, via: farming, working at the market, gym class, leading farm tours, scheduled Service Days, weekend Volunteer Days and workshops, and more.
We facilitate a year-round Go Green! class for 30 students. Go Green! is an elective class open to grades 9-12 at the High School for Public Service and is composed of dynamic units on nutrition, food justice, media advocacy, horticulture skills, and environmental sustainability. Students build critical thinking and community organizing skills as well as comfort with farm work and the skills to grow their own food. The curriculum was created by BK Farmyards farmers and HSPS teachers in 2009, and Go Green! continues to be one of HSPS’s most popular electives; so much so that some students take it twice. 159 HSPS students have taken Go Green! so far.
Lunchtime Farm Club
Our after school Farm Club and Lunch Time Farm Club is made up of a diverse group high school students. This dynamic group meets weekly to work on food & health advocacy projects and on maintaining the farm. Students work independently during the week to motivate more students to get involved in the farm and food justice and health activities, such as making free juice for students during lunch and cafeteria composting. All of the youth participating in Youth Farm activities receive ongoing training and mentoring from our Youth Coordinator and Co-Farm Managers.
Physical Education classes
For the past two years, HSPS physical education classes have utilized the farm and farm activities – from bed digging to composting and planting – as a fun new way to get students active and excited about staying fit. Students who do not complete the mandatory physical education requirements for graduation can make up hours by volunteering on the farm. In 2012, 20 students were able to satisfy graduation requirements through farm work.
Summer Youth Leaders programFor the past four years we have offered a paid youth leadership program to our students. Youth leaders are hired through an application and interview process, to work 20 hours a week for eight weeks in July and August. The program emphasizes job training and leadership development through learning about urban agriculture. Summer Youth Leaders receive job and leadership training through many hours of hands-on farm work, and training in entrepreneurship, nutrition/cooking, and community organizing. Students lead fieldwork activities for adult and youth volunteers, lead farm tours, sell produce and assist market customers, conduct cooking demonstrations at our farmers market, canvass the neighborhood as part of market outreach, and survey market customers. Through all of these activities and more these teens became food advocates within their community. Thanks to the Levitt Foundation for the sponsorship of this program!
Farm-Based Learning for Youth All Over NYC
The Youth Farm hosts groups of all types and ages, and can design a basic tour or workshop on the farm to suit your group’s interests. We offer a sliding scale based on school type (Title 1, Public and Private) to be able to provide participatory learning opportunities to all.
Examples of our Farm-Based Learning and Tours
- * 5 Senses Tour of the Youth Farm. Explore the Farm and healthy eating through taste!
- * Compost: Fixing a World of Waste! Learn how composting works, see the magic of compost and why it can help solve many environmental problems.
- * Team Building on the Farm. Grow trust, respect and bonding in your group or class through fun activities and games on the farm.
- * Urban Agriculture and Food Justice. Learn about sustainable agriculture in the city and how it relates to systematic inequalities in access to quality food and health issues.
Email Patricia (at) bkfarmyards (dot) com