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apprenticeships

CLOSED – 2017 CROPS APPRENTICESHIP

NOTE: We are no longer accepting applications for 2017 apprenticeships.

We will post 2018 apprenticeships later this year. 2017 position description is included below.


Apprentice Program Curriculum and Responsibilities

The apprenticeship program aims for each apprentice to become skilled in the practices of agroecology. The idea is that a field of crops is an ecosystem where ecological processes apply. Implicit in that idea is that agroecosystems can produce better food. The goal is to minimize environmental and social impact with fewer external inputs. Our agroecological principles serve as the tools for these management decisions. The crops apprentice will gain practical production experience in a diversified cropping system. This production experience will be supported with on-farm and indoor classroom time to provide a comprehensive understanding of agroecological systems. The farm crop manager and his team will provide daily operational training, mentorship, and guidance in the crop production spaces and its CSA, retail, and wholesale markets. The apprentice will participate on a team that includes farm managers, other apprentices, support staff, interns and volunteers.

Apprentices participate extensively in the Center’s educational outreach, providing them with opportunities to build communication skills around our practices in agroecology and food system change with diverse audiences, including farmers, chefs, weekend visitors, youth day-campers, and high school and college students.

In addition, apprentices will participate in classes, workshops and conferences led by Stone Barns Center’s experienced farmers, Blue Hill chefs, and other food and agricultural experts in the region. The aim is to create literacy around agroecology. This academic component will reinforce and supplement the apprenticeship’s hands-on production training with a working knowledge of the science, arts and real-world challenges of agroecology. Some workshops will be complemented by traveling to other farms in the region through the apprentice’s participation in the Hudson Valley Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program and other Hudson Valley partnerships.

Crops Apprentice

The crops apprentice will learn skills for growing, harvesting and processing a diversity of high quality vegetables, flowers and herb crops in our 7-acre vegetable field, 2-acre grain/row crop rotations, 1/2-acre winter garden with unheated movable greenhouses and 1/2-acre soil-based four-season greenhouse. Exposure to each production area will be organized through rotations. Time will be spent assisting the farm crops manager and assistant managers with daily farm operations. Through the course of the season, the apprentice will develop production skills including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Seed starting
  • Greenhouse management and season extension
  • Bed preparation
  • Direct seeding and transplanting
  • Crop and soil health
  • Compost management
  • Seasonal varietal selection
  • Crop maintenance and weed management
  • Irrigation systems
  • Operating and maintaining relevant machinery
  • Harvesting
  • Processing vegetables for storage and sale
  • Tracking production/record keeping
  • Supervising volunteers and interns

These crop production skills will be supported through on-farm rotations to different areas of the farm. Additionally, roughly 25 percent of your time will be dedicated to interdisciplinary training in agroecology and food system literacy. Topics will include but are not limited to:

  • Soil, flavor and health
  • Genetic diversity
  • Food’s future in education
  • The botany and zoology of our landscapes

The purpose of this interdisciplinary training is to create literacy around key principles of agroecology to empower future leaders to contribute to the conversation around our food systems’ real world problems and the budding solutions that are a part of the current dialogue.

Requirements for Admission

Applicants should be committed to learning and passionate about developing their career as a farmer and food system leader. Preference will be given to applicants with at least one full season of farming experience and a background in a production setting. Strong commitment and effort is required and solid time management skills are essential. Apprentices will need to feel comfortable in an educational setting. Teaching or public speaking skills are a plus. Additional prerequisites include the ability to lift at least 50 pounds, be outside in adverse weather conditions and to function positively in a team and as part of a collaborative work environment. Parts of the apprenticeship require intensive physical effort.

Additional Information

The program runs five days per week and includes weekend rotations. This is a nine-month apprenticeship, running from March 6, 2017 to December 1, 2017. Each apprentice receives a bi-weekly stipend of $1,250 (gross before taxes) which includes funds for housing. In addition, Stone Barns voluntarily provides workers’ compensation and short-term disability insurance to apprentices.

To Apply:

Please follow the application steps here. The deadline for applications is October 31. Promising candidates will be interviewed and invited for a mandatory in-person trial day during November and early December.

Stone Barns Center

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a nonprofit organization on a mission to create a healthy and sustainable food system that benefits us all. We are working to build a culture of eating based on what farms need to grow to sustain healthy soil and a resilient ecosystem. In our quest to transform the way America eats and farms, we convene change makers, train farmers, educate food citizens and develop agroecological farming practices.

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