Farm & Garden Apprenticeship Spotlight

EarthDance is in its 9th season of its flagship program, the Farm & Garden Apprenticeship. Each year apprentices come to the program with farm & garden dreams and leave with the knowledge and confidence to pursue them. Apprentices are truly an asset to the farm and to show our appreciation we will be highlighting individual ‘farmies’, as we lovingly call them, in a seasonal series, Apprenticeship Spotlight. Check back here and on EarthDance social media to learn more about other amazing apprentices throughout the season.

Julian Keaton: Julian is a music business entrepreneur and spoken word artist in St. Louis ( who had zero experience farming or gardening before the apprenticeship. Julian applied for the program because the lack of urban black farmers and food deserts, especially in North City, is concerning to him. Two years ago he began wanting to start a community garden. He said, “When I saw the flyer for EarthDance I thought, I have to to apply for this.” Julian has big plans after the apprenticeship. His goals include an urban farming initiative with education programs, farm production, cooperative grocery stores, and a farm to table cafe.

Jill Duncan: Jill runs a wellness business and specializes in coaching the body back to balance. ( She has spent time WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) around the world and is a backyard gardener.  Jill is also an EarthDance Board Member who has supported the organization since before its founding in 2008.  This year, she wanted to dig deeper into the programs. Speaking to how her perspective has shifted upon joining the apprenticeship class, Jill says, “What inspires me the most is witnessing all the connections that are happening on this land.” The apprenticeship is step one in Jill’s pursuit of her farm dream. After the apprenticeship, she plans to use her skills to open a cafe where the food will be grown on site.

Michael Tzinberg: Michael is a preschool teacher, yoga instructor, and also supports adults with developmental disabilities through Easter Seals Midwest. Michael had little experience farming or gardening before beginning the Farm & Garden Apprenticeship so he thought the experience would help him to be a successful grower. Michael’s favorite aspects of the program are learning about permaculture, getting to know his classmates and teachers, and connecting with nature. Michael is most proud helping dig a swale (ditch) to prevent rainwater from collecting in the high tunnel. Michael would like to take the skills and knowledge gained through the apprenticeship program to start a community garden. “I’m having so much fun, learning so much, making awesome new friends, and…one of my favorite things about the apprenticeship is that I feel more confident and empowered to grow food, sustain myself…my community, and the environment…” Come out to EarthDance for the Farmers Formal Buzz party Sunday, July 23rd from 5-7pm to hear Michael’s band, Banjos & Beansprouts.