The Begin Farming Apprenticeship Program is an in-depth educational program for aspiring farmers to gain the hands-on experience and skills necessary to begin a career in organic agriculture. Ideal candidates will have a strong commitment and desire to beginning a start-up farming operation of their own.
Up to nine apprentices will work on one of two central Ohio certified organic farms during the 2017 growing season:
Apprentices will gain on-farm experience in the daily production practices of a mixed vegetable operation, including experience with equipment and infrastructure. They will also be immersed in farm business management, including organic certification requirements. Apprentices will work with the Begin Farming Program Coordinator and their host farms to develop a personal learning plan, within the scope of the apprenticeship, tailored to their training needs. To enhance the learning experience, apprentices may receive customized reading materials to complete. By the end of the apprenticeship, participants can expect to have a strong understanding of what it takes to operate a production-oriented, small farm.
In addition to this paid position, apprentices will attend off-farm educational workshops hosted by OEFFA, tour exemplary farms, and connect with other apprentices and early career farmers through robust networking opportunities within the community. Apprentices that complete this program receive a beginner's farm planning course scholarship to help clarify their motivation, vision, strengths, and training needs to begin their own operation.
The Begin Farming Apprenticeship will be physically, emotionally, and intellectually challenging. If accepted, you will:
Apprentices will be paid $10/hour, receive an individually-tailored educational plan, and networking and educational opportunities with others in the program, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What do you, the apprentice, want to learn from this experience? Consider making a detailed list of the skills and experiences you want to acquire in order to begin farming on your own. Also, consider your farming philosophy, and learn more about the host farms from their websites to see if you will be a good match. You will be working closely with your host farmer(s), and developing a strong, working relationship will be essential to a fulfilling, positive experience. This program is geared towards organic vegetable production, so if you are seeking an experience on a multi-species livestock operation, this may not be the best fit for you.
Please consider thoughtful responses to the following questions to prepare for your application:
Please direct all questions to Kelly Henderson, Begin Farming Program Coordinator.