1-Week Boot Camp Course: How to Become an Urban Farmer

, Founder BK Farmyards

Who is this class for? 

Are you sitting at your desk right now, considering  a job or career change? Do you want to make a difference in your community, get back to your roots and get your hands in the dirt?

This class is for

  • aspiring urban farmers who want to see what it takes to grow food in an Urban setting.
  • for homeowners/renters with backyard or frontyard space, roof space, terrace or deck
  • food justice and community organizers who want to deepen their knowledge about farm business
  • or anyone who wants to learn to grow their own food

Whether  you want to farm your backyard, your friend’s backyard, your roof, or terrace, you will learn in this Boot Camp series the ins and outs of Urban Farming.  This class is for all levels of experience.

This class will be structured into 3 sessions:

  1. Video Lecture Series:  Get To Know Your Land - Site Assessment, Crop Planning,  & Backyard Farming Model (60 minutes)
  2. Video Lecture Series: How to Jump into Action in the NYC Farm Scene (60 minutes)
  3. Hands-on Field Work at Foxtrot Backyard Farm (5 hours)

The video lecture series will be available online well before the Field Work so you can ask all your questions in the morning and during our lunch break. 


What does this Boot Camp Cover?

  1. Getting to Know Your Land - Site Assessment and Backyard Farming Model
  2. Growing Lots of Food! - Crop Planning & CSA Management
  3. The Daily Grind - Seeding, Transplanting, Sowing & Irrigation
  4. Life Underground - Soil Health & Compost
  5. Get Rooted - Put Your Farm Plan into Action

What to expect, bring, wear?

In addition to field work, there will be handouts & assignments in crop planning, and some tasty morsels of home-grown edibles. For our day on the farm, wear close-toed shoes and work clothes. If you have a pair of work gloves and/or pocket knife, bring 'em. And don't forget a journal for observation. Please wear weather appropriate clothes. We have a place of cover if it’s pouring rain, but if it’s sprinkling, we’ll be on the farm in the elements.


What will I be able to do when I leave this class?

  • Witness first-hand Backyard Farming operation (600 square feet) with successful 6-member CSA!
  • Design your own crop plan and farm business plan
  • If you are a new grower, you will come out of the class equipped to take a $5.00 6-pack of tomato seedlings and grow 30 pounds of delicious tomatoes worth $150 at the farmers market. 
  • If you are an experienced grower, you will be prepared to run a micro-farm growing a minimum of 1-2 pounds of produce per square foot (depends on your model).
  • Be connected to urban agriculture projects happening all around the city and know how to get involved.

Check out our Flickr page with photos of some of BK Farmyards other farms. Edible Brooklyn did a great video of our backyard apprenticeship & CSA last year.



Note that there are video lecture series to watch BEFORE the Field Work component. You'll have a chance to ask questions about those videos in person if you take full advantage of them. This is an awesome book that all farmers love!!! John Jeavons’ ‘How to Grow More Vegetables’ It’s not required, but you will get so much more out of the class after reading this book and seeing some of the principles in action.
  • Digging, Seeding, Transplanting, Irrigating, Composting in Action

    Foxtrot Farmyard

    Ditmas Park (address to be given to students only)
    Brooklyn, NY

    Part 1: The Daily Grind - Seeding, Transplanting, Sowing & Irrigation

    In this workshop you will understand your crops’ needs and help you care for your plants with confidence. We will guide you through the activities of a farmer, and show you the tricks of the trade. You will start to understand the saying that, ‘a farmer’s footsteps are the best fertilizer.’


    Part 2: Life Underground - Soil Health & Composting 

    Healthy, delicious food starts in the soil. This workshop will focus on soil health through the lens of composting and pest management. We’ll study the life cycles of “good” & “bad” bugs and how to manage them through a series of organic practices. Find out why composting might just save the world and how you can capitalize on the work of the microscopic beneficial critters.

    Sun, May 20th, 2012

    10:00 am - 3:30 pm EDT

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Stacey Murphy

Founder BK Farmyards

Stacey is the founder of bk farmyards - a collective of urban farmers dedicated to the expansion of agricultural production and social justice in Brooklyn - and has led efforts in the design and implementation of 5 new farms in Brooklyn. As a farmer and teacher, Stacey has been featured in national media like Family Circle, Martha Stewart Radio, and the David Letterman Show. She has been teaching sustainable urban farming techniques for 3 years to people of all ages including a groundbreaking new year-round high school Go Green class that takes place at the Youth Farm. Stacey has also taught architecture and design at the University of Michigan.

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