Are you an aspiring farmer looking to gain skills and knowledge that match the ecological values you hold? Are you feeling the farming bug, but not quite ready to take the plunge and launch your own business? Meghan Vesey, Kwesi Haizelare and Tara Stephens are excited to provide you with a meaningful apprenticeship experience in your path to becoming a farmer.
About the Farm
Akesi Farms was started in 2014. The farm was previously used to raise chickens and sheep. The goals of Akesi Farms including having challenging and meaningful livelihoods, seeking resiliency, participating in community, and learning. Currently, Akesi Farms hosts chickens, geese, bees and annual/perennial gardens. The farm sells chicken eggs, honey and occasionally preserves/vegetables. Akesi Farms has also participated in Alberta Open Farm days in the past and plans to do so again in 2020. The farm is in a very cold area, so the gardens aren’t typically planted until the beginning or middle of June. Once that happens, a lot of work occurs very quickly! Snow arrives again by the middle of September. We have visitors many weekends in the summer, and we include them in our farm projects.
Fungi Akuafo was started in 2016. It is owned by Meghan Vesey and Tara Stephens – the operations/infrastructure are all at Akesi Farms. Fungi Akuafo was started to earn an income on the farm and to fill a niche in Canada for mushroom spawn production. Mushrooms have many potential uses from culinary and medical mushrooms to mycomaterials and remediation. All these need to start with mushroom spawn – and this requires a lab and specialized equipment/knowledge. Tara and I saw this as a potential business and a way to help others grow mushrooms. As products, we sell grain spawn, sawdust spawn (for outdoor projects), mushroom tours and workshops. Fungi Akufo is busiest from January to June. Most orders come in at that time of the year, but we do ship year-round across Canada.
About the Apprenticeship
Through this apprenticeship you will be working primarily with Fungi Akufo and mushroom spawn production. The apprenticeship will be four to six months, depending on the needs of the applicant, and will start in May. You will learn how to create mushroom spawn, create outdoor mushroom installations, help maintain mushroom greenhouse and participate in the harvest of mushrooms.
You will also gain experience with the many other projects and products on farm including managing the poultry flock (chickens and geese), helping with bee hive inspections and honey extraction, working in the kitchen garden and greenhouse, and managing orchards. You will also help preserve food for the family and for sale.
The apprentice will help with the creation of new ponds and water capture for the farm. They will also help with various repair tasks around the farm to maintain infrastructure. Akesi Farm also participates in Open Farm Days in August and expects the apprentice to help with this event.
Skills this farm has to teach:
The following skills are being offered by this farm. While you’ll get exposure to many of these areas, it is likely that not all will be covered. Apprentices will work to identify the skills they want to develop to a learning plan with the host farm.
|CULTIVATING mushroom SPAWN||FARM DESIGN|
|FRUITING MUSHROOMS||HOSTING WORKSHOPS|
|POULTRY husbandry||food preservation|
|VEGETABLE PRODUCTION||Food self-sufficiency & gardening|
|WATER HARVESTING||MAINTAINING INFRASTRUCTURE|
Housing, Stipend and Duration
Apprentices will have a room in the family home with laundry and internet available. Meghan and Kwesi are open to shared meals that will often include products grown on the farm and from neighbours. This is a four to six month apprenticeship. The apprentice would be paid minimum wage and would be required to pay a modest amount for lodging and meals.
About the Community
The farm is close to the town of Sundre that has full services. Sundre is located in the foothills and is a short drive to the Rocky Mountains. The region offers lots of recreational opportunities like hiking, biking, and more. The farm itself is an hour and half from Calgary.
Deadline February 15, 2020.