ACORN’s “Organic Farm School” Now Accepting 2014 Applications

Posted by Lucia Stephen on January 20, 2014 1 Comment

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APPLY NOW! The Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN)’s Grow A Farmer Apprenticeship Program is now accepting applications for the 2014 season.

“Collaborating with a diverse team of ten long-standing, certified-organic ‘host-farms’, this curriculum-guided, farm-based program offers 6-month intensive placements–from May to October–for people who are pursuing a career in organic agriculture,” states Lucia Stephen, Program Coordinator.

Offering a dynamic mix of knowledge, skills, and community connections, the 2014 program will provide aspiring agrarians with a unique combination of field learning and “classroom” work. Whether on or off the farm, teachings will explore both the practical and the more theoretical aspects of farming – ranging from soil fertility and marketing, to the importance of marketing and farm business planning.

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Young and aspiring growers gather at the 2012 Beginner Farmer Symposium.

Participants also benefit from attending regular farm-based workshops/mixers, field-tours and major ACORN events, including the Beginner Farmer Symposium (August 2014) and the annual 3-day organic farming Conference and Trade Show (November 2014).

“While formal schools can teach you the nuts and bolts about farming, it really is the experience of farming that will instill the depth of understanding that is required to know whether farming is right for you,” states Sara Burgess, 2013 Grow A Farmer apprentice. “My experience was great. From moving through the changes and needs of a demanding growing season, to networking with fellow young and long-standing growers, my participation in the Grow a Farmer program provided immense knowledge and direction for my future as a young farmer.”

Participants in ACORN's 2013 Grow A Farmer Apprenticeship Program participate on a NS Farm Tour/Work Party.
Participants in ACORN’s 2013 Grow A Farmer Apprenticeship Program gather for a field day at TapRoot Farms, Port Williams, NS.

There’s no doubt about it, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, over 75% of Canadian farmers will face retirement within the next ten years, leaving a looming void in agricultural production and fertile farmland in need of succession. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of aspiring producers, keen to start their own farms, but who lack adequate agricultural education and farm experience. There is a strong need for comprehensive training and resources to help bridge this gap, though the key is in finding a suitable path to take. And learning from the best.

Applications for the 2014 Grow A Farmer Apprenticeship Program are now posted on the Grow A Farmer website here. For full details, please visit www.growafarmer.ca. The application deadline is March 3rd, 2014 and all interested participants are encouraged to apply now as limited positions are available.

About the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN):

Since 2000, ACORN has been the key organization for information on organic agriculture, eating organics, and connecting all the parts together in order to advance the local organic sector in Atlantic Canada. For more information, please visit www.acornorganic.org.

For all inquiries, please contact:
Lucia Stephen, Program Coordinator
506-536-2867 or 1-888-322-2676
lucia[@]acornorganic.org
www.growafarmer.ca

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