What We Do
New City Farm grows great food, but it exists for 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 was added to the programming of NCN in 2012 to build upon the success of our community garden program and middle school job skills program, Breaktime Bakery. 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. And as much as our students play a large role in the work that happens in the field, they do a lot more than just pull weeds and pick beans.
Youth in our program also spend time in our commercial kitchen learning how to cook food from the vegetables they grew. Our new venture, New City Cafe, provides a chance to increase their service industry exposure and see a variety of ways our produce can be used. The students also feed themselves. Every week some of out students create a lunch meal 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 the marketing plan for the farm. They learn valuable construction skills when we build hoop or greenhouses, sheds, vegetable coolers, pizza ovens, 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 how they are important to the entire professional world. They see what it takes to start a small business. Our students also go on a college tours, where they learn about the variety of schooling options beyond high school, and where are shown the ins and outs of applying for financial loans and scholarships. The students design weekly farm newsletters and write stories about kohlrabi and heirloom tomatoes. This activity provides the students with a chance to work on their writing skills while learning more about the things they are growing. 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, it is clear why before they leave us, they celebrate a season of accomplishment with a five course meal at Graydon’s Crossing using food grown entirely by them on our farm. 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 $8.50 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.