We hope to be able to offer a version of this program this year, but at the moment we are unable to give any details or confirm if it will be possible.  Thank you for your patience and continued interest.  We hope to back in the gardens with you all this summer.  Take care and stay safe.

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 only offering the full season course.  

Beginning in early March, apprentices will embark on their apprenticeship growing seedlings in our downtown greenhouse and prepping the soil at our urban farm on the Loyola campus.  Following the full season through to early November  where they will wrap up the season as they began by learning to save seeds!

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 all the program requirements. 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:

In the early part of the season, from March until May, the focus will be on starting the seedlings, learning about the soil, preparing the garden for the season.  Apprentices will also spend a good deal of time familiarizing themselves with the behind-the-scene aspects of farming – crop planning and rotations as well as how to prepare for a successful market. During these first months apprentices will alternate week-by-week from the greenhouse and the garden.

During the heart of the season, from early June into August, the learning focus will be on maintaining the vigor and growth of the plants through careful pruning and strategic use of mostly farm generated fertility.  Learning organic methods for how to avoid damage from common pests and deal with new pests brought to the area by climate change. Apprentices  will work exclusively at the Loyola Farm during this time to grow their own produce, develop a communal garden and sell their produce at markets. 

Beginning in September and ending in November, this the focus shifts to harvesting and transformation techniques for medicinal plants and end of year produce, permacultural methods of design,  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.

The complete requirements for the program are

120 hours in Weekly shifts

30 hours in Collective Plot

Attendance at  ALL workshops

Completion of  Student-led workshop

Weekly shifts: 

As the snow melts and the soil thaws, apprentices begin the season, alternating between time at the Loyola farm in NDG and the Concordia Greenhouse in downtown Montreal.  During the weeks at the greenhouse, apprentices will work directly with the Greenhouse Staff to learn about seedling production and greenhouse growing.  Here you will begin to nurture all the vegetable, herb and flower plants that we will grow on the farm 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. 

Weeks spent on the farm, the learning and work will focus 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. 

During the garden shifts apprentices will learn to follow and implement 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.  As the season progresses, the apprentices will take on more and more responsibility for the farm and will alternate group-by-group as the lead in caring for different aspects of the farm.  As you gain more experience, you will gain the ability to make the decisions that make the farm work!

Collective Plots: The ever popular collective garden plots are back again! Apprentices sharing a weekly shift will work together with the others in their group to design, plant, and manage their own 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.

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

 Workshop Series:

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.

 Student-Led Workshop

This is a very exciting and important part of the school.  It is where you, the apprentices, get to experience the excitement of working with people who just want to learn more about urban agriculture! 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!


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.
  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   The fees can be paid in 2 installments.  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 please follow the links below and fill out the application form by the specified deadline and take note of when the interview times are.  You will be asked to upload your CV in the application.   If you have any questions about the application process or the program, please send them to

*Please note that we will be in contact with applicants that are selected for the interview process.

Market Gardener Full Season Apprenticeship: March to November