Molly was drawn to food justice organizing and farming in 2005, and has since worked in many areas of the sustainable food and farming movement. Molly began farming full-time in 2008, and has been Farm Manager at The Youth Farm in Crown Heights, Brooklyn since 2011. At The Youth Farm, she co-founded and directs the Accelerated Certificate in Urban Agriculture, a partnership program with Farm School NYC. Molly is a founding and Executive Committee member of Farm School NYC. She has co-taught core courses, Propagation and Growing Soils, annually since 2011.
ACCELERATED CERTIFICATE IN URBAN FARMING 2017-18:
Molly co-founded and co-leads an immersive 14 month training for adults in diversified vegetable and flower farming at the 1-acre Youth Farm in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Registration for FIC 2017-18 is now closed. Please check back in August 2018 for the 2018-19 program application.
UPCOMING WORKSHOPS and PANELS:
SOIL UNEARTHED: Basic Science, Profound Implications, Tues. Jan. 16th, 2018 6:30-8:30pm at The Brooklyn Grange Register HERE
Maybe you’re a community gardener, an aspiring farmer, a school garden educator or someone who’s curious about how soil regeneration can help save the world! If not any of these, you are an eater – a consumer – and depend on soil to live! Join longtime urban farmer and Farm School NYC’s Growing Soils teacher for a 2-hour deep dive into the complex and inspiring world of minerals and living organisms at work beneath our feet. Healthy soil is the source of nutrient, root anchorage, and water for the plants we eat, use medicinally, or enjoy as flowers.
In this lecture, you’ll learn about the basic components of soil (living and inert), and how soil’s natural processes can be supported by us to grow healthy food, flowers and herbs. Some basic concepts to be covered in this introductory class are: soil’s physical chemical properties, including texture, structure, and pH; how and when to cultivate soil to maintain soil’s health and to produce as much food / herbs / flowers as possible; a compost micro lesson; soil testing 101; risks for toxicity in urban soils and regeneration of soil; and resources for learning more about soil!
- WINTER WREATH WORKSHOP, Tues. Dec. 7th, 2017 6:30-8:30pm at The Brooklyn Grange
As we near the winter solstice, with shorter days and chilly nights, we find ourselves spending more time indoors. Harvest wreaths and advent wreaths have been used for centuries as symbols of the changing of the seasons. Wreaths are made to bring a touch of greenery indoors during an otherwise dormant time of year – evergreens are a reminder of strength, resilience and continuity. Whether you love the holidays or try to avoid the craze, making a winter wreath is a truly joyful process and a great way to spend an early December evening with a friend or two. Join sustainable floral designer Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers for a hands-on workshop in which she’ll guide you through the basics of wreath making, introducing you to simple design techniques. We’ll use locally sourced grapevine and evergreens, as well as a collection of pine cones, seed hulls, dried berries, dried flowers and other natural elements to create beautiful, fragrant pieces to take home. Light snacks and libations will be served.
- FLORAL WREATH WORKSHOP, Tues. Nov. 15th, 2016 6:30-8:30pm at The Brooklyn Grange
Fall is a beautiful time of year to take in the beauty of the natural world but with shorter days and chilly nights we find ourselves spending more time indoors. Embrace the changing of the seasons by bringing a bit of the outdoors inside. Join sustainable farmer/florist Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers and Urban Farmer Deborah Greig for a hands on floral wreath making workshop using dried flowers! You’ll learn how to create a decorative wreath perfect for November home decorating, how to source locally grown flowers, what flowers dry best, and how to dry flowers for optimal quality, color and longevity. Each participant will get to take home their handmade floral wreath. All materials and cozy fall refreshments included.
- URBAN SOILS 101: SOIL SCIENCE BASICS: Just Food Conference 2016
In this workshop participants will discuss the basic roles and constituents of soil; how the health of the soil community is the foundation for healthy plants and a sustainable farm; and how to shape our interactions with soil so that we help to nurture the soil community. We’ll also touch on urban soil health issues and soil testing.
- ROOFTOP FLORAL DESIGN: Flower Crowns and Basic Arranging
Sunday, August 17th, 2015: 10am-12pm
Join Molly Oliver Flowers co-owners Molly Culver and Deborah Greig at the Brooklyn Grange for a high-flying floral design workshop. Up on the Navy Yard rooftop farm, with the NYC skyline at our backs, and surrounded by buckets of locally-grown seasonal flowers, we will create gorgeous table arrangements and flower crowns and practice some basic floral design techniques.Whether you’re planning DIY flowers for your wedding, or want to build your skills for fabulous party-throwing at home, this intimate workshop experience will be relaxing, educational and fun. If you’re hoping to practice bouquet or boutonniere making, or want to learn how to keep flowers lasting longer, this workshop is also for you.So come, bring your friends, play with flowers and sip some special treats in a spectacular setting. Learn about local flowers, urban farming, and floral design. Treat yourself! Supplies, refreshments and a fun floral arrangement to take home are included.
- Oct. 1-3, 2013: Your Future in Farming and Homesteading: 3 Day Virtual Conference
Living off the land is not always easy. If you don’t have a mentor who knows the ropes, chances are you’ll make some costly mistakes. Join a group of extraordinary farmers, homesteaders, activists, and practitioners as they explain the secrets of their success and how to avoid the most common pitfalls.I will be teaching a virtual course on Soil Science for Beginners on Thursday Oct. 3rd. The conference is peppered with amazing agricultural and food justice advocates teaching on subjects near and dear to them.
- October 5, 2013, 2-3:30pm
Cover Crops: Get your Garden ready for Winter: The Youth Farm, 600 Kingston Ave., BrooklynGrowing tons of tasty veggies relies on sustainable practices, and one of the keys is putting your garden to bed properly. Learn some ways to protect and replenish your soil over the winter – planting cover crop (we’ll discuss varieties and practice sowing), mulching, and no-till soil cover practices. This workshop is great for a garden any size – from a 4’x8′ bed to a small farm!
September 7, 2013, 2-3:30pm
Flower Farming and Bouquet Making: The Youth Farm, 600 Kingston Ave., Brooklyn
Looking to try out some annual flower crops next year? Come to this workshop to see over 30 varieties of cut flowers in bloom, and to practice using them in bouquets. We’ll cover basic techniques for growing cut flowers, harvesting them, and maintaining them in your vase as long as possible.
August 3, 2013 2-3:30 pm
Planting Fall Gardens: NYC Season Extension: The Youth Farm, 600 Kingston Ave., Brooklyn
In order to have a bountiful fall harvest of greens, radish, turnips, and other delicious vegetables, planning and planting needs to start in August! Before you head out on vacation, come to this workshop in which we’ll practice creating a fall planting calendar and discuss ways to keep your fall crops protected, comfortable and productive.
- Managing Pests & Diseases w/ Organic Remedies: The Youth Farm, 600 Kingston Ave., Brooklyn
Using organic preventative techniques can be essential to maintaining a thriving garden or farm. In this hands-on workshop we will discuss common garden pests, their life cycles, and how to manage them without using synthetic chemical that are hard on the natural ecosystem.
Food for the Soul: Flowers for Education and Market: Just Food Conference, Saturday March 30th, 2013, 10:30-11:45am Co-taught with my design partner and fellow farmer Deborah Greig!
Flowers are an emerging sector of organic and urban agriculture. They boost your farm’s beauty, attract beneficial insects, generate revenue, provide a creative outlet (bouquets!), and another angle for exploring Ag-justice issues. Come share your experiences and hear from two experienced flower farmers and budding floral designers. We will touch on varieties, marketing options, crop management, curriculum ideas and more.
- Soil Science for Urban Growers: Just Food Conference, Friday March 29th, 2013 2:30-3:45pm
In this workshop participants will discuss the basic role and make-up of soil; how the health of the soil community is the foundation for healthy plants and a sustainable farm; and how to shape our interactions with soil so that we help to nurture the soil community. We’ll also touch on urban soil health issues and soil testing.
- Growing Soil: An Urban Gardener’s Crash Course: as part of a day-long course in Urban Homesteading
At the New York Botanical Garden midtown campus: April 20, 2013, 12:45-2:45 pm
As urban gardeners and farmers, we spend a lot of time plotting about growing abundant crops in small spaces. Central to this quest is growing healthy soil. Soil, while illusive to many, is the foundation for any healthy ecosystem or farm, be it small or large, urban or rural. We can save time and energy by prioritizing the health of our soil. In this class, we’ll survey basic soil science and common sustainable soil cultivation and fertility practices, from double digging to cover cropping. We’ll take a look at the delicate relationship between irrigation and soil health, and also touch on important aspects of urban soil health such as soil testing and amending. Students will be provided with a list of additional resources to continue their learning about soil.
- The City Becomes the Farm: The Whys and Hows of Urban Food Production: NOFA-NY Winter Conference
Friday, January 25, 2013, 9am-12:15pm
Learn from three pioneering urban farmers: Travis Klami of Streetlight Gardens (Albany); Ben Flanner of Brooklyn Grange (Queens and Brooklyn); and Molly Culver of The Youth Farm will get the conversation going with of East New York Farms (Brooklyn) their ideas and real-life stories of farming within a city. Find out their perspectives on the challenges and rewards associated with urban spaces and markets. You will learn many unique aspects of urban farm setups such as neighbor and community relations, permission and requirements for urban space usage, rooftop soil installments, space-appropriate infrastructure, usable soil on urban land, season extension, small-scale fruit production and more! h is halfday session will also be a time for networking, experience sharing and collaboration to help build the network of urban farms in New York.
- Putting the Garden to Bed: The Youth Farm, Saturday, October 6, 2012 2-3:30pm
Growing tons of tasty veggies relies on sustainable practices year-round. Farmer Molly will lead this hands-on workshop, and will review how to prepare your beds in the fall using minimal cultivation and compost, as well as cover crops. These techniques will help improve your soil and protect it over the winter months.
- Making Beautiful Bouquets: The Youth Farm, Saturday, August 4th, 2012 2-3:30pm
Creating a gorgeous bouquet is food for the soul. Using Youth Farm flowers, learn to combine seasonal flower varieties of varying textures and colors into smile worthy arrangements. In this workshop we’ll discuss the growing requirements of specialty cut flowers, bouquet making 101, and how to make your floral arrangements LAST!
- Growing Flowers for Arrangements: HAYSEEDS, Sunday, June 17, 2012 11am
Flowers are food for the soul. Once you move beyond the standard fare of garden roses, lilies and irises, “specialty cut flowers” (the heirlooms of the flower world) offer unique beauty and inspiration through their multiple colors and textures. In this class, taught by BK Farmyards own Molly Culver, we’ll cover the basics of cut flower growing, from propagation to harvest. We’ll view popular varieties popular among Northeast organic flower farmers, and spend some time bouquet making and arranging.
- UNION DOCS’ panel discussion: Saturday March 24th, 2012, 7:30 pm
“Gardener on the Roof: Examining Urban Farming”
With Scott Nyerges, Annie Novak (Eagle Street Rooftop Farm), Tyler Caruso and Erik Facteau (Seeing Green) and Molly Culver (The Youth Farm) in attendance for presentaion and discussion. Moderated by Nicola Twilley (Edible Geography) Join us as we wander into New York City’s Urban Agriculture movement and wonder- what is the future of the farm in the city? Not so long ago, tomato plants occupying fire escapes and dispersed community garden plots defined what it meant to grown your own food within city limits. Over the last two decades, young farmers and food advocates have brazenly imagined another way. Taking over rooftops and vacant lots, utilizing forgotten, creative and unexpected spaces, the once piecemeal community garden transformed into an urban farm. As the city turns its attention to becoming a greener place, with the adoption of PlaNYC, there is no doubt this group will have a hand in carving out a place for farming in the city’s future.Today’s panel brings together six people – a documentarian, two farmers, a writer and two planners- that actively expand, rethink and redefine the foodscape of New York City.Curated with Meg Kelly.
- BROOKLYN FOOD CONFERENCE: May 12, 2012
From Dream to Reality: Launching a Farm Incubator in NYC
Want to help launch a project that integrates new farmer incubation and community
food, agriculture and environmental education? Come to this workshop on the Floyd
Bennett Field Farm and Education Center. We’re looking for enthusiastic and talented
volunteers to help get this project off the ground this year. Join us!
- FLOWER FARMING FOR PRODUCTION: June 16 and 23, 2012. Location TBA.
Join me for a two day course at Kingsborough Community College as part of KCC’s new Urban Farm Training program. Learn the ins and outs of using an organic approach to cut flower growing, soil preparation, suitable varieties for the Northeast, harvest and post-harvest handling for longevity in your vase, and bouquet making basics.
- JUST FOOD ANNUAL CONFERENCE – EAT, WORK, GROW THE MOVEMENT: February 24 + 25, 2012
Soil Science Basics
If you’re new to farming—urban or otherwise—learning what soil is made up of and how to nurture and grow your soil sustainably will provide a firm foundation for your farm or garden’s productivity, vitality and longevity. We’ll review basic soil players and processes and discuss resources to continue your learning. All levels of experience are welcome!
Speakers: Ted Blomgren, Clinton Hill CSA; Molly Culver, BK Farmyards; Facilitator: Jessica Cortes, Just Food
Economic Viability of Small Scale Farming
From both a rural and urban growers’ perspective, we’ll be exploring what the economic needs are for a farm to be sustainable when providing to communities in New York City. What are the costs from seed to the consumer? Is it viable and if not what can we do to make that possible? Bring your questions for discussion after learning both views.
Speakers: Ted Blomgren, Clinton Hill CSA; Molly Culver, BK Farmyards; Facilitator: Jessica Cortes, Just Food