Get your homesteading dream started with these 6 farm apprenticeships
If you’ve ever dreamed of homesteading but don’t know how to get started, a farm apprenticeship is a great way to learn skills, meet experienced farmers and try your hand at the homesteading life.
Here are six farm apprenticeships with upcoming deadlines that you might be interested in applying for.
The Maine Organic Farmer and Growers Association Apprenticeship in locations throughout Maine
The Maine Organic Farmer and Growers Association (MOFGA) has an apprenticeship program targeted at young adults with and without previous farming experience. Host farms are members of the association and located throughout Maine.
Apprentices have an opportunity to try their hands at a number of traditional farming skills, including organic vegetable, herb and flower production, marketing techniques and raising livestock for meat and dairy. Depending on the host farm selected, apprentices can also learn specific homesteading skills like house-building, food preservation and alternative energy production. There are even opportunities to work with maple sugaring, orchard pruning and cider pressing.
Applications are rolling, but most farmers are looking for apprentices that can commit to an entire growing season, between March and October. Download an application online. You can apply for up to 12 farms with your application. Search for participating farms on the MOFGA website.
Email your completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your completed application to MOFGA Apprenticeship Program, PO Box 170, Unity, ME 04988.
Slice of Heaven Farm in Sandy, Oregon
Slice of Heaven Farm offers an apprenticeship program to teach new farmers about sustainable organic farming practices as they grow produce for a 100-member CSA and two local farmers markets in an Oregon mountain community. Apprentices will gain experience seeding, transplanting, harvesting, cultivating, weeding, processing vegetables, packing and selling at farmers market. The apprenticeship is demanding, but the season is punctuated with celebrations and trips to local areas.
Apprentices work five days a week and are provided with a room on the farm with a communal kitchen and bathroom, a monthly stipend of $800 and home-cooked meals during the work days. The apprenticeship runs from March 15 through Nov. 15.
Previous farming experience is not necessary, but applicants must be at least 21 years old, non-smokers, have a reliable vehicle and be able to lift 50 pounds easily as well as squat, crouch and bend over for harvesting. Applicants also must also demonstrate the grit, passion, stamina and adaptability required to be a successful farmer.
To apply, e-mail Marieta Easley at email@example.com to request an application. Applications are due Feb. 1, 2019.
Reverence Farms in Saxapahaw, North Carolina
Reverence Farms is seeking an apprentice to manage a multi-species sustainable farm. The apprentice will gain experience in managing dairy and beef cattle, sheep and poultry and will learn skills like milking, lambing, trimming, feeding, packaging eggs, processing poultry and maintaining flock health.
Apprentices work 40 to 60 hours per week, five days a week, for anywhere from three to six months to a year. The position pays $10 to $12 with housing. Previous farm experience is not necessary, but applicants should be comfortable regularly lifting 50 pounds and spending most of the day working actively outdoors.
Applications are open until the position is filled. To apply, email a letter of interest, resume, and three references to Aeriel Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Reverence Farm Apprentice Application.”
Red Shirt Farm in Lanesborough, Massachusetts
The Red Shirt Farm apprenticeship is designed for new or aspiring farmers who are committed to learning about sustainable agriculture. Apprentices participate in all aspects of the farm’s operations, including greenhouse propagation, soil amending, weed control, pest management, harvesting animal husbandry, humane processing and farm marketing. Interns are also given the opportunity to participate in the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training, which includes regular half-day visits to other farms in the area and in the annual Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference. There are also opportunities to learn skills like food preservation and beekeeping.
Farm experience is not required, but the owners Jim and Annie Schultz, are looking for curious farmers who are honest and reliable with good interpersonal skills who are comfortable interacting with CSA members customers at farmers markets, volunteers and student work groups. The internship entails about 45 to 55 hours of work per week, and applicants should be willing to work in all weather conditions, be able to lift 55 pounds and have a valid driver’s license. Apprentices will receive room and board as well as a monthly stipend of $850.
The apprenticeship starts in early April and ends in late November. Admission is rolling until positions are filled. To apply, email a cover letter and resumé to: email@example.com and complete the online apprentice application.
Phillies Bridge Farm Project in New Paltz, New York
Phillies Bridge Farm Project is a nonprofit educational working farm that offers several apprenticeships in sustainable agriculture. They are currently hiring one full season farm apprentice for April through October and one summer farm apprentice for May through August.
Farm apprentices will be provided with the foundational knowledge to pursue small-scale vegetable production, including seed starting, greenhouse management, bed preparation, crop maintenance, irrigation, high tunnel construction and tractor operation. Apprentices will also assist in the CSA distribution for the 140 member CSA and growing vegetables for local health food stores, restaurants and low-income families through the farm’s food justice program. Apprentices participate in Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training farm visits and can develop skills in crop planning, marketing, client relations and no-profit management.
Apprentices will work 40 to 50 hours per week depending on time of year for a weekly stipend of $350, on-site housing and seasonal produce and eggs. Applicants should be responsible, punctual, hard-working individuals with good communication skills and a desire to learn who are able to comfortably lift 50 pounds and engage in repetitive physical work, no matter the weather conditions.
To apply, send a cover letter, resume, and three references to firstname.lastname@example.org.
La Ferme du Chou Beni in Saint-Privat-des-Pres, France
OK, maybe this one is a fantasy, but if you have the means to take your life to France, consider applying to the La Ferme du Chou Beni (translation: the Blessed Cabbage) apprenticeship for the spring and summer of 2019. The farm in the Dordogne region of France focuses on regenerative agriculture, using traditional crops and animals from the area for their organic fruit, wine, and livestock farm based around pigs, cows, vineyard and cider orchard.
The spring apprenticeship will focus on natural building restoration — including repairing stone walls, insulating, plastering and re-tiling the roof — but apprentices will also help prepare and plant a large garden; look after sheep, chickens and pigs; and prepare and plant a small fruit orchard. Summer apprentices will continue these tasks and also prepare the ground for a cider orchard and vineyard.
Experience in organic farming or natural building is preferred but not required, and apprentices are required to commit to a minimum stay of three months. Apprentices will be provided room and board, most meals and 750 euros per month in exchange for 35 hours of work per week for a single apprentice (couples are expected to work 25 hours per person per week for 900 euros/month). Apprentices will also have access to a bike, canoe and van for trips into town and recreational excursions.
To apply, send cover letter and resume to email@example.com.