The goal of the apprenticeship program at Soil Born Farms is to provide a training ground for aspiring farmers by teaching the basic concepts and practical applications of organic food production. It is also our goal to teach Apprentices to use agriculture as a platform to see how food systems tie into the larger social issues of food security, social justice, and public health.
Apprentices are exposed to all aspects of food production. They learn about propagation, irrigation, soil management, harvesting, marketing and many other associated skills through a combination of hands-on learning and structured classes. Although most of the time is spent working directly with food production, apprentices also have the opportunity to work with the surrounding community. Apprentices will be directly involved in the training and mentorship of youth in Soil Born Farms' Green Corps Job Program and may also have opportunities to work within the context of other Education and Food Access projects. This blend of technical training and educational experience is what makes our program a unique and enriching experience for all participants.
Apprentices work and live on the American River Ranch, a 55-acre ranch using field-scale agricultural techniques. At various times during the season, they also have the opportunity to work on our smaller Farm on Hurley Way, a 1 acre market garden, applying hand-scale bio-intensive gardening methods. Produce is distributed to several outlets in the county of Sacramento including an on-site farm stand, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and retail and restaurant sales. Additionally a significant portion of our produce is sold or donated to low income residents.
Second Year Opportunities
Managing the Sacramento Food Bank’s Demonstration Garden: This opportunity blends small scale food production with educational work and community outreach into a dynamic and fulfilling experience. This is a perfect interim step for someone interested in a career as a Farmer and Educator.
The apprenticeship runs from March 1 to November 1. The work/education week runs 45-60 hours per week over five days. Apprentices also work an additional day every four weeks to cover irrigation and animal chores.
Canvas tents with access to indoor kitchen, shower, and common living room.
Apprentice Training and Instruction
1. Hands-on Training: 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. The farm manager gives impromptu lessons in the field on related topics.
2. Classes: Although most of the teaching and instruction comes as informal training in the field, approximately twelve more formal classes are provided. These classes cover basic concepts of ecological farming and marketing that directly relate to what is happening on the farm at particular times of the season. The instructors for these classes are the farm managers and, occasionally, guest lecturers.
4. Youth Education: Part of working at Soil Born Farms means participating in educational projects. Apprentices assist in leading youth corps staff (ages 16-21) in farm activities on a regular basis, and may also assist with experiential student field trips (grades K-5). They may also work at one of our urban farm stands or participate in other food access projects as needed.
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