New City Farm grows delicious food, but its purpose is more than just feeding people. For almost a decade, New City Neighbors (the Farm’s parent organization) has been working hard in the Northeast side of Grand Rapids to impact the lives of the kids and youth in that area.The farm’s main objective is to provide job and life skills to high school youth in our neighborhood. Each summer we employ and mentor 10-12 high school students in a variety of skills within a Christian framework of discipleship. Students learn all aspects of the hard work of organic vegetable growing. They show up to work each day bright and early at 7am. Our students learn how to grow, care for, and harvest a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. The students do a lot more than just pull weeds and pick beans in the field.
Youth in our program also spend time in our commercial kitchen learning how to cook food from their own grown vegetables. One of our ventures, New City Cafe, provides a chance to increase their service industry exposure and see a variety of ways our produce can be used. Every week some of our students make a lunch (usually soup and salad) to share with the rest of our workers. Their experiences don’t just revolve around growing, making, and serving food. Our students brainstorm and execute marketing for the farm. They learn valuable construction skills when we build greenhouses, pizza ovens,or caterpillar tunnels and any of the other infrastructure that has been added over the years. Each week at our share pickups they learn how to greet customers warmly, paying attention to volume, grammar, tone and enthusiasm. They take field trips to other farms and business to see a variety of work places and learn about skills like customer service and their importance. The students design weekly farm newsletters, write blog posts, and create social media posts. This experience provides the students with a chance to work on their writing skills while learning more about their produce. The New City Farm curriculum also includes discussion about how to resolve workplace conflict through meetings and respectful conversations. They practice teamwork, problem solving, and goals setting while also working on more tangible skills like how to give an interview or build a resume. Students also participate in devotions where they can ask critical questions about life and God. After all this hard work and learning, they celebrate a season of accomplishment with brick oven fired pizza and root beer floats. Starting with weeds and ending with confidence, New City Farm works hard to develop in our students a wide spectrum of their God-given gifts.
If you are in high school and want to be a part of our team, check out our student job description. You can also apply online today! First year high school interns receive a $1000 stipend for completing our 11 week summer program (Tuesday-Thursday 18 hours a week). After completing the summer training program, we offer fall positions at $9.50 an hour. Make sure you download and fill out one of the reference forms. You can bring this with you when you are scheduled for an interview.
If you have any question, please email our Farm Director Lance Kraai
Are you a college student looking to gain valuable work experience in community development, organic farming, and youth ministry? We offer two college internships each season. Interns are expected to be present 15 hours a week June-August and will receive a $1000 stipend. We will happily work with your college to help you receive internship credit. Apply Here.