Farm & Garden Apprenticeship Program
EarthDance apprentices (aka “Freshman Farmies”) learn the skills of organic agriculture, through hands-on education in the fields and from experienced farmers and gardeners. EarthDance’s Farm & Garden Apprenticeship Program was developed to serve the needs of individuals seeking to learn organic growing techniques and practices, on a part-time basis. Some apprentices aspire to operate their own farms, while others plan to cultivate home, community, and youth gardens. The program incorporates instruction in techniques applicable to garden-scale production in addition to large-scale growing.
The Farm & Garden Apprenticeship Program Runs April-September
Check back this fall to apply for the 2018 Apprenticeship Program!
- Part-time gardening and farm shifts
- Field and Market training
- Weekly Classes
- 5 tours of nearby farms and gardens
- Project opportunities in the Seven Generations Garden
- Take home a weekly share of the harvest YOU help grow!
- Subscription to “The Organic Broadcaster,” a publication of Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)
- Option to receive graduate or undergraduate college credit from UMSL. Contact Chelsea at email@example.com for details.
What’s it like to work with EarthDance on the farm & at the markets?
Find out with these volunteer opportunities!
On the 3rd Friday of each winter month, we will be harvesting for market. Contact Nick Speed at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
On the 3rd Saturday of each month, we will be vending at the Winter Ferguson Farmers Market. This runs November-April. If you are interested in volunteering at the EarthDance booth, please email Matt Lebon at email@example.com.
What will I do as an apprentice at EarthDance?
1. Grow food
As an apprentice, you will engage in all aspects of vegetable cultivation, including bed preparation, transplanting, seeding by hand and with a seeder, weeding with tools, managing pests organically, fertilizing, composting, and working with cover crops. EarthDance farm also raises pastured hens for eggs; apprentices participate in flock husbandry. EarthDance production also includes flowers, herbs, pasture eggs, fruit, and season extension. Apprentices will learn about these systems as well.
2. Learn from experienced farmers
Each field work shift begins with a field walk or “mini-class,” led by our Farm Managers. EarthDance farmers are dedicated to sharing what they know and providing apprentice farmers a rich variety of experiences. Weekly classes, led by EarthDance staff and other agricultural professionals, deepen your learning.
3. Practice Permaculture
Implement and build skills in water management, sheet mulching, no-till, companion planting, Hugelkultur, food foresting, herb spirals, and native planting.
4. Challenge yourself
Farm work, done in all weather conditions, provides rewarding, physical challenge.
Apprentices learn proper harvest techniques and prepare produce for sale at farmers’ market. Apprentices also take home a weekly share of the harvest!
7. Network with other farmers
The EarthDance Apprenticeship provides numerous opportunities to meet and network with other area farmers, including 5 tours of neighboring farms in Missouri and Illinois.
8. Become part of a supportive network of concerned food citizens
EarthDance promotes a strong sense of comradery among apprentices. Farmies often form close friendships in the field, and support one another’s endeavors after finishing the program.
9. Savor delicious experiences
Fresh veggies will inspire your creativity in the kitchen, while occasional potlucks bring the group together.
With classes like”Farming as a Business” and many opportunities to seek the advice of experienced farmers and gardeners, the EarthDance Apprenticeship provides support to help you advance toward your agricultural goals. Also, some apprentices continue on as Sophomores with EarthDance, pursuing focus projects in an area of interest.
Interested in Becoming an EarthDance Apprentice for the 2017 Season?
Come visit the Farm: Potential apprentices are encouraged to visit the farm on a tour or participate in a volunteer shift. Please contact Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions about the program?: Please send an email to Chelsea at email@example.com for more information.
Apprenticeship Alumni: Click here to learn about some of the projects our apprentices are pursuing.
“I wanted to learn how to be a better gardener and to improve my physical health. Mostly, I wanted to do something for my spirit…there is little more satisfying than getting covered in mud, picking a few extra sun gold tomatoes or ground cherries as I walk by, or leaving with a bag full of new vegetables and learning how to cook them…none of these experiences compare with the gifts of the community.” -Carla Fletcher, Class of 2015
“I comfortably went from a weekend gardener to a full-fledged farmer, and now I have a plan for my own farm, 1/4 acre by 1/4 acre.” -Mark Erker, Class of 2016
“Learning opportunities from farm tours and selling at farmers markets with EarthDance gave me the basic knowledge and courage to move (earlier than we had planned) and start our own market farm. I am currently farming one acre of vegetables at our farm, Blue Bell Farm.”- Jamie Bryant, Class of 2010