February 13  to April 24th 2019*

Please read everything below thoroughly BEFORE applying:

The City Farm School Apprenticeship Course is designed to create urban organic farmers interested in growing veggies for markets, while also working collectively to design and manage a typical scale community garden plot. This year we are offering the full season course, as well as the option to take any of the three distinct sessions of the program.  Details for each session and how to apply will follow. 

Beginning in early March, students will embark on their apprenticeship that begins in our downtown greenhouse then transitions to our urban farm on the Loyola campus where it will wrap up in early November.  This program is ideal for someone thinking about applying for farm work outside of the city in the near future, but would like to sample the experience while remaining in the city. Designed for newcomers to gardening; the curriculum starts with the basics and builds on that knowledge as the season progresses. If you have already spent extensive time working on organic farms, then this school may not be ideal for you. However, if you are interested in learning more and possibly want a career in farming then this school will be a great stepping stone towards those goals.

Concordia’s  Loyola Sustainability Research Centre (LSRC) will offer a certificate of completion to all students that fulfil the 180 hours required of the program. This certificate will not appear on a Concordia academic transcript but will be approved by the directors of both the LSRC and City Farm School.

You do not have to be a Concordia Student to apply.  This apprenticeship is open to everyone!

What you can expect to learn from this program:

  • fundamental practices of organic vegetable gardening
  • principles of garden design and collective management
  • experience with managing, promoting and operating a market stand
  • technical training in greenhouse growing and seedling production
  • an understanding of local food systems, opportunities and challenges
  • how to design and facilitate workshops

How it works:

The program includes three distinct sessions which together make up the full season apprenticeship.  There is no difference in the content of the three sessions, the groups are integrated.  The apprenticeship can be completed over a maximum of 3 years.  You can choose to complete all three sessions in one year; spread it out over two to three years, or simply complete only sessions you are interested in á la carte; if you do not require the certificate. Our recommendation however, is to complete the full season in one year.  Only students who complete all three sessions will be eligible for a certificate from the Loyola College of Sustainability and Diversity.

The Greenhouse Growing Session (session one) lasts for 12 weeks months and is the first component of our Full Season Apprenticeship Program. From March until May, this session focuses on the skills and sciences behind greenhouse growing, soil, and seeds. It mainly takes place in the downtown Concordia Greenhouse located at the top of the Hall Building.

This session requires 60 apprenticeship hours and attendance to all 4 Saturday workshops for completion. 

The Market Garden Session (session 2) lasts for 12 weeks and is the second component of our Full Sesason Apprenticeship Program. Beginning in June and ending in August, this session focuses on urban farming and entrepreneurship through local markets. Through the summer season, interns work on the land to grow their own produce, develop a communal garden and sell it markets.  It takes place at the NDG farm at the Loyola Campus.

This session requires 60 apprenticeship hours and attendance to all 4 Saturday workshops for completion. 

The Permaculture, Policy & Planning Session (session 3) lasts for 9 weeks and is the third and final component of our Full Season Apprenticeship Program. Beginning in September and ending in November, this session focuses on harvest and transformation techniques for medicinal plants and end of year produce, permacultural methods of design, fruit forest landscaping, how to save seed and the science of seeds, crop planning and how to prepare over the winter and how to use gardening and growing as a source of community engagement and what is happening locally and globally in terms of food sovereignty and systems. It takes place in the NDG farm at the Loyola Campus.

This session requires 60 apprenticeship hours, attendance to all 4 Saturday workshops as well as conducting a student led workshop for completion.

To complete the Full Season program students must fulfill 180 apprenticeship hours (60 hours per session), attend all Saturday workshops and conduct a student led workshop.  Apprenticeship hours are completed by a combination of Weekly shifts (garden and greenhouse shifts),  Flex shifts (market and seedling shifts) and your Student-led workshop (student led workshops are done in the third session only).  Details on each are below.  Hours spent in  Saturday workshops do not count towards your apprenticeship hours. The schedule for your apprenticeship hours will be made with you upon enrollment and will not fluctuate, allowing you to plan your schedule and work around the garden.  The full schedule is detailed below.



During each of the three sessions you will choose your weekly shift – one four (4) hour shift that will not change from week to week (greenhouse or garden shifts).  This will make up the majority of your hours.  At the beginning of each new session, you will be presented with a sign-up sheet listing all of the flex shifts available to you to complete the remainder of your hours.  This sheet will be available for all students throughout the session, but it is highly recommended to sign up as quickly as possible for your flex shifts as they are limited.  Similarly, the scheduling of the student led workshop in the third session will be decided in session.

Apprenticeship Hours:

Weekly shifts: Greenhouse Shifts (only in session one)

From March to May students will work in the Concordia Greenhouse on our seedling project that produces more than ten-thousand seedling each year for community gardens and agriculture organisations around Montreal.  During these work sessions, students will work directly with the Greenhouse Staff to learn about seedling production and greenhouse growing.  This session is where it all begins!  Here you will learn to start all manner of vegetables and herbs right from the source – the seed!  Thanks to our partnership with HydroFlora, we will have access to a fully functional hydroponics room to test out different methods of propagation with hydroponics.  Greenhouse shifts will happen throughout session one only. 

Weekly shifts: Garden Shifts 

When the snow melts and the soil thaws, apprentices switch out to the Loyola garden in NDG. During weekly garden shifts students will work directly with the CFS coordinators on the upkeep of both their collective garden plots and the Loyola Farm – a functioning market garden.   As a compliment to the full workshop schedule, our staff will offer a series of “mini-workshops” in the garden.  During the mini-workshops we will focus in on some key technical skills, taking advantage of the smaller garden shift groups.  We will also use this time to facilitate discussions on current goings-on in the world of Food Security and Urban Agriculture. 

Collective Gardens: The ever popular collective garden plots are back again!  We will be breaking new ground for these plots this year, so students will have the opportunity to be the first to establish these new plots. Students will be placed into groups of 6, and will be responsible for designing, planting, and managing the garden plot throughout the year. CFS staff will be meeting with you on a regular basis to discuss the progress of your garden, make suggestions, and answer your questions.  You will be allotted some time each week during the weekly shifts to work collectively on your plot.

Loyola  Farm:    During the garden shifts students will participate in implementing our crop plan to maintain the productivity of the garden.  Apprentices will work along CFS staff to carry out all farm tasks in a timely manner to ensure that our produce is ready for market each week.  They will be introduced to many specialized tools for low-till, fossil fuel free market gardens including walk behind seeders, wheel hoes, and drip irrigation.

During registration you will select your weekly shift.  The available options are listed below.

Flex Shifts: Seedling Care shifts (March – end May)

The coordinators will present you with a list of these options at the beginning of session one.  The options will include leading volunteer sessions in the greenhouse, independent work with the seedlings, and a variety of actions related to the seedling sale (promotions, deliveries, set-up, help the day of the sale etc).  Students should note that although these shifts are spread throughout the session, the majority of them are offered towards the end of the session as the plants get bigger and more demanding and for set up and staffing the plant sale in May.

Flex Shifts: Market Shifts (mid-June – mid-October)

Bringing your produce to market is one of the most rewarding aspects of this program.  City Farm School apprentices will have the opportunity to showcase their produce at number of different markets throughout the season, some of which are listed below.  Students are expected to help in all aspects of the market – promotions, harvesting, packaging and selling.  At the beginning of the summer session, students will be presented with a sign up sheet listing the times and locations of all market shifts.  Students  will sign up in advance for the markets they will attend.

City Farm School Market: (Tuesdays 2pm-6pm) Ever popular with our neighbours, our ultra local market will take place once again right on site at the Loyola farm.  This market happens weekly throughout the entire season and is solely stocked with produce from our gardens.

Verdun CAUS market: (Dimanche 11h à 15h) Organisé par La Coopérative Abondance Urbaine Solidaire (CAUS). La coopérative vise à créer l’abondance pour les citoyens autant en alimentation saine et locale qu’en éducation et en relations sociales. Le marché fermier des berges aura lieu dans l’espace vert aux berges entre les 4e et 5e avenues (à l’est du restaurant Crescendo).
Westhaven Community Center Market:  New to 2019 we will be partnering with our neighbours at the westhaven community center to set up a new market.  Details to be announced shortly.

 Student-Led Workshop (session 3 only)

This is a very exciting and important part of the school.  It is where you, the students, get to experience the excitement of working with people who just want to learn more about urban agriculture! Working in pairs all CFS students will host a workshop in the Fall.  Each pair will decide upon a topic related to urban agriculture, food policy, DIY skills, or something relevant that is of interest to them and will design and facilitate a workshop. The workshops will be offered free of charge and will be open to community to attend and will be given on our sites or at a community organisation. You have the option of giving your workshop alone or in pairs. You will decide upon a topic related to urban agriculture that is of interest to you and will design and facilitate one workshop that presents this topic.  We will provide some options for locations for where you could give your workshop. Do not be afraid, this is a very fun part of the school!


Saturday Workshops:

This series of workshops is designed to familiarize student with the main theories, concepts and practices of organic agriculture.  The workshops will be presented by a number of experienced organic farmers, permaculturalists, horticulturalists and others with expertise in the field.  The goals of these workshops are to add depth to the practical training provided in the apprenticeship.


How to apply:

There are three steps to the application process:

  1. Fill out the application form and submit any additional documents by the specified deadline for each session.
  2. Meet with one of the coordinators for an interview / information session.
  3. Confirm your schedule and make your first payment by the agreed upon deadline.

COST: $700  Full Session  or $275 for individual sessions.  The fees can be paid in 2 installments,  with the first being due on the first day of each session.  What does the cost cover? The tuition covers the cost of the workshops, materials such as readings and supplies students take home, as well as the training you will receive from the City Farm School coordinators.

BURSARIES: We are offering a bursary program for those who need financial assistance. We don’t want cost to be a limiting issue, so are working to develop a sustainable model to help those who need support financially and will do our best to match your request. Please download and fill out this bursary application and upload it along with your application.

Apply NOW!

To apply for any of the sessions just follow the links below and fill out the application form by the specified deadline and take note of when the interview times are for each session.  You will be asked to upload your CV in the application.

Market Gardener Full Season Apprenticeship: March to November

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED FOR THIS SESSION.  You may still apply for sessions 2 and 3 below.

Session One “Greenhouse Growing”: March to May

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED FOR THIS SESSION.  You may still apply for sessions 2 and 3 below.

 Session Two “Farm to Market”: May to August

Apply for SESSION TWO “Farm to Market” by following the link and filling out the application form.  The deadline to apply is April 24TH.  Interviews will take place between May 1st – 3rd.

Session Three “Permaculture, Policy and Planning”: September to November

Apply for SESSION THREE “Permaculture, Policy and Planning” by following the link and filling out the application form.  The deadline and interview period for this session will be in August.  You are welcome to fill in the application at any time, but we will only be contacting candidates once the official application period has been announced.