It’s no secret that Brooklynites take their food seriously, and Bushwick is no different. For many of us these days, our food choices are as much about their social and environmental impact as their effect on our tastebuds. And more and more people, it seems, aspire to go even further than conscious consumerism when it comes to food: to do nothing short of change the world.
If you’re one of those people, the opportunity you’ve been looking for might be not on a quiet farm upstate but right here in Bushwick. The food justice oriented non-profit Ecostation:NY is looking for Community Apprentices eager to sink their hands in the soil at Bushwick Campus Farm and Greenhouse, where they will learn urban farming and participate in other projects that support the organization’s social justice and educational missions. Farm Manager and School Liason Glenda Ullauri tells Bushwick Daily that apprentices come from all levels of experience with the agricultural arts, so even if you haven’t sprouted a seed since a grade school science project, you’ll be able to build your farming skills from scratch in the program.
But the program isn’t just about farming. Located on a high school campus, Bushwick Campus Farm is an asset to students and educators who use it as a learning resource. Education is integral to the program, and “apprentices are expected to have an interest or experience in working alongside youth,” says Ullauri. Some of the farm work may also be done at EcoStation’s newest rooftop farm, Farm-In-The-Sky.
Apprentices will also divide their time between farm work and other roles supporting EcoStation’s projects, as determined by a concentration of their choosing. This could include running farm education workshops, helping manage Bushwick Farmers’ Market, or planning special events like Calabazafest!. The concentrations, Ullauri tells us, are about “connecting [the farm work] back to the community.” In other words, this work is where you learn how to create positive social change starting from the simple act of growing food (OK, even that part isn’t really that simple).
Monisha Akhoury of the 2014 apprentice class leads a cooking demonstration at Bushwick Farmers’ Market
Ullauri tells us that past Community Apprentices have gone on to pursue a variety of opportunities within the burgeoning urban agriculture sphere, such as developing the aquaponic system for OKO Farms, becoming a farmers’ market entrepreneur and an urban-farming educator at a city school, and even advancing to leadership positions within EcoStation. Ullauri herself started as a Community Apprentice last year.
The Community Apprentice Program runs from April 18 to November 15 and apprentices are required to commit to at least 9 hours a week to the program.This is not a paid opportunity, but apprentices can expect to take home plenty of farm-fresh produce. It doesn’t get more local than that.