These days it’s pretty easy to get a quick farming 101, or lend a hand at a rooftop or community garden plot. But if you really want the nuts and bolts of raising a real bed of greens, Just Food has now launched a pilot Farm School for city dwellers. The non-profit, which promotes city CSAs, chicken coops and other urban food justice projects, has enlisted its network of farmers, gardeners and others to teach us not only how to grow food here throughout the year, but also how to get that fresh food into more hands.
The fall session runs September 7 through November 13, and applications are due Monday. It will include classes in “season extension” (like late-season use of hoop houses, cold frames and such), “preparing for winter” (seed saving, garlic planting, food preservation) and “small farm planning and design,” where you’ll acquire the acumen to turn that plot into a successful community space or business.
Winter’s the time to take on topics like mapping the city’s growing spaces and access to fresh food, as you will over their winter 2012 session. There’s even a course that looks at “NYC as an ecosystem” that’ll take you back to Native America to understand our current watershed and soil space. With spring comes lessons in botany, growing soil, and propagation, like managing micro-climates, and summer’s all about building, irrigation, crop management (including deciding which crops work best here) and tackling native pests with organic treatments.
You could take these classes individually, or in November, sign up for a two-year track to get certified in urban agriculture with a concentration in things like teaching, enterprise, husbandry or culinary arts. You can find all the specifics about the fall session, classes or certification in this downloadable application booklet or through their website. Note that there’s also a payment plan based on your income, because this is Just Food and they don’t like seeing anyone go hungry.