Soil Born Farms offers a unique apprenticeship in sustainable agriculture on an urban community farm. Through a combination of hands-on field work, formal classes, field trips and reading discussion, this intensive experiential education aims to train the next generation of organic farmers in the Sacramento area. The farming apprenticeship also provides a valuable foundation for those interested in working to address issues of food security, social justice, and public health.
Hands-on Training/Field Work (40-45 hours/week):
Most of the instruction on organic farming techniques is in the form of traditional apprentice-style learning. Farm managers work closely with apprentices in the performance of daily farm activities. In this type of learning environment, apprentices have the ability to observe and ask questions during the work day about anything related to ecological farming. Priorities and problems are discussed during weekly field walks, and the farm managers give informal training on topics related to tasks as they arise. In addition to maintaining and harvesting crops and working as part of a field crew, apprentices will specialize in various responsibilities throughout the season during 4-5 week-long rotations: orchard management, animal husbandry, pest management, packing/farmstand, and farm management.
Farm Tours (monthly): Once per month, two-hour farm tours at a diverse array of farms in the region are scheduled. This is an opportunity to learn about different scales and approaches to sustainable agriculture. The farms are chosen in order to expose apprentices to various stages, sizes, marketing niches, and systems of production.
Readings & Discussions: Each apprentice will receive a compilation of readings on sustainable agriculture topics, which parallel class topics and topics covered in the field. Apprentices are expected to read each section as the class on that topic approaches. In addition, the apprentices will meet periodically to discuss readings from this manual and other sources to deepen knowledge on a particular topic.
Community Connections: Although this is apprenticeship is focused on farmingm, each apprentice will have the opportunity to spend time with each of the various programs that make up Soil Born Farms. This includes participating in a field trip with our Youth Education team, taking part in a fruit gleaning with our Harvest Sacramento program, preparing a meal or supporting a community cooking demo with our Culinary Arts Program, supporting our Volunteer Program, and helping out at a mobile food distribution site with the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services.
The second-year apprenticeship is designed to provide advanced training and farm management experience to deepen the training received in the first year. Apprentices who graduate from our first-year program have the opportunity to apply for a second year of apprenticeship at Soil Born Farms. While it is not required that those who apply for the first-year apprenticeship be interested in pursuing the second-year opportunity, applicants are encouraged to consider it. The focus of this apprenticeship is flexible based on interest and proclivity of the chosen candidate but two concrete opportunities exist every year:
Managing the Farm on Hurley Way: Each year one or two apprentices take over management of this one acre urban farm and use their season of working there as a self-directed educational experience. Second-year apprentices will have the unparalleled opportunity of “running” a farm, with support and mentorship, established infrastructure and equipment provided by Soil Born Farms. They will create a crop plan, order seeds, sow starts, transplant, cultivate, harvest and market their produce to local accounts. Second-year apprentices are mentored by a mentor from the farm staff, who visits for weekly check-ins, site walks and technical assistance. This second-year experience provides new farmers with an opportunity to apply the skills and training they received in the first year, gaining the experience of managing a farm for a season.
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How To Apply
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