Meet Your Future Farmers – 2022 YA Apprenticeship Program

Posted by Michelle Lam on May 03, 2022

We have an exciting bunch of fresh faces joining us for the 2022 Young Agrarians Apprenticeship Program across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba! Please join us in welcoming this new cohort of aspiring regenerative and ecological farmers.

What is the YA Apprenticeship Program? Our apprenticeships are a full immersion program that puts you into the heart of running a farm business, day in and day out. Our carefully selected family of farm mentors have diverse expertise and skill sets – their farm philosophy is guided by a holistic framework that recognizes the connectedness of the land and people. Although farm activities will be different on each farm, the core activities will involve care of soil, pasture and livestock, farm direct marketing, and using sustainable practices for cereal, grain, and vegetables.

Want to learn more about the YA Apprenticeship Program? Read more about becoming a YA Apprentice or becoming a mentor in the program. Psst…there are still a few farms recruiting apprentices for the 2022 season. It’s not too late to apply!

Let’s welcome the 2022 cohort of apprentices:

Alberta:

Nicole Boere – Dirt Boys, Leaf & Lyre, Chef’s Farmer – Calgary, AB

Hi there! I’m Nicole, I’m a settler currently living in Nojiwanong/Peterborough, Ontario and am so excited to apprentice this summer with Dirt Boys, Leaf & Lyre and Chef’s Farmer in Calgary. I spent the last few years at Trent University studying sustainable agriculture and food systems and am looking to grow my knowledge in producing good food and fostering community in urban settings. My visions for the future of ecological and regenerative agriculture are community-owned and operated food-producing spaces that span rural and urban space, incorporate a wide variety of native and perennial plants and support the health and longevity of entire ecosystems. As a young person passionate about the potential of food in community, I can’t wait to dive into fields with folks that feel the same way, and to continue to build awesome spaces collectively.


Curtis Reynolds – Dirt Boys, Leaf & Lyre, Chef’s Farmer – Calgary, AB

Curtis will be apprenticing with Leaf & Lyre Farms, Dirtboys Urban Farm, & Chefs Farmer in Calgary Alberta this summer. He is eager to learn about holistic land management practices to build soil, improve fertility and long term ecological health. He dreams of regenerative agriculture being more widely practiced and stronger localized food systems in the community for the community. In the future he is interested in expanding what can be grown in our cold climate by exploring breeding and plant selection to develop new varieties for the prairies.


Nathan Richards – Nature’s Way Farm – Grimshaw, AB

Salutations, fellow agrarianites!I’m Nate. Ecological enthusiast who knows a thing or two about a thing or two. I’ll be tending to the needs of Nature’s way Farm.
I joined up with the apprenticeship program in search of hands on education and know-how when it comes to the fundamentals of running a small farm. My hope is to gather enough experience from my time spent in the field to take with me wherever I may go, to utilize the knowledge in different lines of work, and to share with others the importance of ecological agriculture from a passionate point of view. I’m eager to learn and equally as eager to meet fellow farmers who share this passion.
Now, let’s get out there and grow as a people!


Brittney Henry – Grey Arrow Farm – Camrose, AB

Hello! My name is Brittney Henry and I am so excited to be an apprentice for Grey Arrow Farm this year! People who know me know that when I’m with my plants (and pets!), I am incredibly happy. When I found out about the Young Agrarians program, I knew this was the next step for me in combining my love for sustainability and plants. My future goals are to work in sustainable agricultural research and to one day start my own vegetable and flower farm. I believe this apprenticeship will teach me more than I could hope, particularly when it comes to protecting the relationship between community, agriculture, and nature.


Clayton MacKinnon – The Homestead – Goodfare, AB


I’m Clayton and I’ll be apprenticing with The Homestead in Goodfare Alberta this season. I joined the YA program with an aspiration to learn the reins of starting my own ranch and better understand regenerative agricultural methods through hands-on experience. My ultimate dream is to create a ranch that showcases regenerative agriculture and its methods, to create a truly immersive agricultural tourism operation. One that re-ignites people’s connection of learning how their food gets from farm, to the table.


Tishawni Ellery – Sundog Organic Farm – Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Hi I’m Tishawni! My apprenticeship is with Sundog Organic Farm, where I’ve worked for the past two seasons, but I have a different journey this year. Organic Farming peaked my interest back around 2019, as a bit of a WHY. Now, I strongly believe in our interactions with the land as an effective climate solution. I have dreams of wholesome agriculture, maybe permaculture ideals, where all these intricate relationships with plants and animals are supported. The climate crisis feels overwhelming as an individual, until you get a group of regenerative farmers together, and their efforts make it seem do-able. I am excited to be a part of this community and learn from all the experiences. This program is going to help me reach my personal mission of where I can contribute.


Val Navarro Marin – Reclaim Organics – Pigeon Lake, AB


Hi, My name is Valeria Navarro Marin, but I prefer it if you called me Val. I am originally from Mexico but have been living in Canada for five years. Since then, I have been blessed with amazing opportunities like the one I have this summer, joining Ryan in his farm Reclaim Organics. From a young age, I have had an affinity for the natural world around me. I come from an indigenous background, so farming has always been part of my family. My love of the environment has grown into a desire to dedicate my educational and professional career to sustainability efforts, and the way I want to do it is through agriculture. Even though I have farming knowledge in Mexico, I want to expand my knowledge and put my skills into practice, which I can see applying as soon as I finish my environmental science bachelor degree. My plan in the future is to start my own sustainable farm in Canada and therefore be able to give my family a chance to move to Canada and use their abilities.


Thomas & Matthias – First Nature Farms – Goodfare, AB

Hi there! We are twin brothers Thomas and Matthias and grew up in Belgium, near the city of Brussels. We will be apprenticing at First Nature Farms in Goodfare, Alberta. We are both passionate about farming and food production and simply enjoy the surrounding nature. We strongly believe in a regenerative way of farming that supports local communities, combating climate change, improving animal welfare, and restoring the ecological systems while producing healthier food. During this apprenticeship we want to learn about the natural environment where our mentor farm is located. By being involved in such a diverse operation as First Nature Farms we hope to learn all the aspects of regenerative agriculture. Following the whole life cycle from different livestock species from birth to packaged meat and being self-sufficient really inspires us. Giving those animals such a quality of life in harmony with nature while supporting local communities with this nutritious food is something unique. We joined the YA program to learn about regenerative agriculture, but most of all to be part of the
community to support each other and share our visions on agriculture. As aspiring farmers, it’s our dream to live in a rural place that still has natural wild areas where we want to start a regenerative farm. We believe it is our purpose as humans to continue life on earth in future since we care about the world and the next generations of life.


Tanya Hardy – Backwoods Buffalo Ranch – Mayerthorpe, AB

Hi! I am Tanya Hardy, I’m 19 years old and I am from Bromont,
Quebec. I will be apprenticing at Backwoods Bufallo Ranch, Alberta! I am so excited to be part of the young agrarian program, I decided to be part of that program because I’ve been around farms all of my life, it’s a true passion for me. Last summer I went to Alberta and instantly fell in love with all its farms, fields and lovely people. I quickly noticed that it’s not the same type of agriculture like we have in Quebec. I wanted to learn more about it, experience life on a diversified Ranch and meet amazing person! I thought that Young Agrarian and Backwoods Bufallo Ranch would be a life time experience for me and help me find my way for my future. want to learn and experience everything! Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be part of the farmers community in Alberta! That would be one of my dearest dream. Working hand-in-hand with nature and neighbours!I will never thank Laurie and Chad enough to allow me to live a part of my dream, it means a lot to me. I can’t wait for this adventure to begin!


Alyssa Friesen – Stonepost Farms – Wildwood, AB

Hi, my name is Alyssa! I’m an ecologist with a passion for caring for the earth and I’ll be the apprentice at Stonepost Farms this summer. Over the years my interest in regenerative agriculture has grown as I’ve learned more about its potential to address environmental issues like climate change and biodiversity loss. I joined the Young Agrarians apprenticeship program to gain hands-on experience with sustainable agricultural practices and learn about farm management. I love spending time in nature and am really looking forward to caring for livestock, getting my hands dirty in the garden, and eating some really amazing locally grown food. My husband, Mark, and son, Reed, will be joining me on this adventure and we’re really excited to experience farm life as a family! In the future, we would love to operate our own regenerative farm, growing nutritious and sustainable food for ourselves and the local community. My hope is that regenerative farming practices will transform the agricultural system to benefit both human and ecological communities in my son’s lifetime and for generations to come.


Michèle Paziuk – Steel Pony Farm – Red Deer, AB

Hello! My name is Michèle and I am 23 years old. I am passionate about the outdoors and some of my favourite things to do are camping, hiking and well, farming! I joined the Steel Pony Farm team in July of 2021 and fell in love with it immediately. The mentality and culture cultivated around regenerative agriculture has added a quality to my life I didn’t know was possible. Additionally, I have been in the restaurant industry for the past 10 years so it’s been very humbling to see how our food arrives at our tables. I am so excited for this incredible opportunity to learn about regenerative agriculture and spend time with likeminded people!


Manitoba:

Shannon Meadley Dunphy – Long Way Homestead & Ferme Fiola Farm – Ste. Genevieve, MB

I’m Shannon Meadley Dunphy and I have spent the past 10 years studying and working as a field ecologist. Currently I’m based out of Montreal / Tiohti:áke where I’m working on my PhD. Fibre farming has been a special interest of mine ever since I volunteered as a shepherd with le Repaire de Biquette, an urban eco-grazing initiative. I’m looking forward to apprenticing with Longway Homestead and Ferme Fiola Farm this summer, as my first real introduction to agriculture. I am excited to learn about raising sheep; wool production, processing and dying; and dye plant gardening!


Christina Devos – Boundy Farm – Cartwright, MB

Hi, my name is Christina Devos, I live in Fork River, Manitoba. I am currently a student at
Lakeland College, enrolled in the Animal Science Technology program. My family has a
commercial cow/calf operation and grows both conventional and organic crops. We strive to produce sustainable products for our customers and our environment. I am passionate about regenerative agriculture and am eager to expand my knowledge and experiences. I decided to join the Young Agrains program to explore regenerative practices to one day bring back to my own farm.


Boma Okorosaye-Orubite – Fostering Change Farm – Balmoral, MB

Hello, my name is Boma Okorosaye-Orubite, I am a 3rd year student of Animal science in the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Manitoba. I am from a nonfarming background however I grew up with a passion for animal care and plant cultivation, so I decided to pursue a career in Agriculture. I am very interested in sustainable environmental practices, and I see myself as an ambassador of the earth. Hence, in my future agricultural career I want to develop and create ways to balance the negative impacts of human activities to the environment and help people develop care and concern for the state of the earth. When I am not studying, I can be found tending to my houseplants, cleaning my aquariums, making/listening to music, reading a book, hiking, at a church service, painting or watching a movie.


Victoria Radauskas – The Dogs Run Farm – Clearwater, MB

I’m Victoria Radauskas, I live on Treaty 2 Territory near London, ON, the homelands of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinabewaki, Attiwonderonk, and Mississauga people. I will be apprenticing on the Dog’s Run Farm with Katie and Colin McInnes. While I was raised in a small rural city, both of my parents grew up growing tobacco and cash crops with their families in southwestern Ontario, and my own interest in farming evolved fairly recently. Navigating the difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic me to refocus on what was especially important to me in life. This reflection highlighted farming, and animal husbandry in particular, as a potential future career. I have a passion for learning, sustainable living, biology, and helping others. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and dog, watching documentaries, knitting, and active living.


Sparrow Berg – Green Beach Farm and Food – Strathclair, MB

Hey, I’m Sparrow. I’m currently living and working in Treaty 2. I’ve been around conventional farming most of my younger years, living in a farming communities. While I was growing up, a lot of my friends had cows or did grain farming therefore I had exposure to farming early on. I would say I got into sustainable agriculture when I was 14 after dropping out of highschool. I moved in with my cousin who worked at a local food grocery store and for an urban farmer, she also began market gardening in those years. She opened the door to countless opportunities, such as working at an ecovillage and on some other sustainable farms, which I wouldn’t have gotten in the conventional school system. These opportunities plus living through a pandemic made me realize that I always want to be food secure. I now run a pastured poultry operation with my partner outside of Elphinstone, Manitoba and am going to work part time at Green Beach Farm to further expand my knowledge in regenerative agriculture.


Jordan Kondratiew – Clanman Jersey’s – Minnedosa, MB

My name is Jordan Kondratiew. I grew up on an acreage near Riding Mountain National Park where I still keep some horses (majority of which we have rescued). I have always loved animals and now have my own little funny farm started outside Minnedosa Manitoba. We raise a variety of ducks and chickens for eggs. Plant a large garden and also garden with a close friend to sell vegetables at farmers markets in the summer. We plan to invest in cattle this year to grow our farm.

I have a passion for animal health and welfare as I am also a Registered Veterinary Technologist. I work with different animal rescue organizations in my spare time. From pet shelters to horse sanctuaries. My love of animals and agriculture is something that is very important to me and my family.

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Also apprenticing in Manitoba this year are:

Oksana Iwanchysko at Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiative, Forest MB
Svetlana Medovoi at Boyd’s Beef near Forest, MB
Wing Hin Cheng at Fresh Roots Farm near Forest, MB
Noeline Hofmann at Poplarview Stock Farm near Pipestone, MB

and Amandine at Luna Field Farm near Belmont, MB


Saskatchewan:

Olivia Irving – Upland Organics – Wood Mountain, SK 

My name is Olivia Irving and I hope to learn how to ecologically raise cattle as well as set up a bee farm during my time at Uplands Organics. When I found out about the Young Agrarians apprenticeship I thought it would be a great opportunity to further my farming knowledge and provide the tools I need to have an operation of my own. In the future I hope to have a cattle farm that produces healthy animals and improves my land health. As well, I want to be able to pass on the knowledge I gain from this program to ensure Saskatchewan’s agriculture benefits our land and livestock.


Maggie McBride – Farm One Forty – Vanscoy, SK

My name is Maggie McBride. I am apprenticing at Farm One Forty this summer. My partner and I recently bought a 45 acre acreage with a friend. We are in the same area as Farm One Forty, with similar soil, climate and predators. I am hoping to gain experience with a variety of livestock, to feel confident with my own animals. We are hoping to use rotational grazing and large scale composting to boost the fertility of our soil. I am very excited to learn about how Farm One Forty has developed a community of support, the ability hosts events, integrated a work/trade for access to land and collaboratively runs camps over the summer.


Rilee Moat – Tee Two Land & Cattle Co. – Kelliher, SK

I am apprenticing at T2 land and cattle. I joined the program because I come from Regina and didn’t really have any contacts or opportunities in the industry going for me. I am hoping to learn next to every aspect of regenerative agriculture as it’s a personal belief that we need to keep the earth healthy and able to sustain life for many years to come. One day i hope to have my own land and herd, maybe something like 1 or 2 thousand cattle would be awesome in my eyes. I hope to take the lessons i learn here during my apprenticeship and apply them for the rest of my life so that i may have a successful regenerative farm of my own. Being primarily a construction worker my whole life I have found out that I like operating equipment, working hard, and the feeling of a job well done and this industry provides me with all of those things. One day maybe i’ll be in a position to take on my own young agrarians and tell stories of how i got started, and give them the opportunities and knowledge to carry on with their dreams. Thanks to the Y A program for giving me a place to meet the right people.


Thomas McNinch – Tee Two Land & Cattle Co. – Kelliher, SK

Hello everyone, my name is Thomas McNinch, and I will be apprenticing at the Tee Two Land and Cattle farm for the next year. I joined the program to learn more about mixed farming and growing both grain and cattle and the benefits of practicing both. Coming from a farming background, doing what is best for the environment and the land is crucial to me and I cannot wait to learn more about it. My hopes for the future of ecological agriculture are quite simple really, I want more people to be aware of the positive aspects that agriculture can provide us.


Haley Dechaine – Groveland Farm – Lanigan, SK

My name is Haley Dechaine. I am a third year student at the University of Saskatchewan taking my degree in Animal Biosciences. This summer I have the privilege of apprenticing with Grovenland Farm. I joined the apprenticeship program because of the amazing opportunity to learn how differently the operations from one farm to another are. It also gives me the chance to grow my network for possible future employment. My long-term farm goals are to hopefully one day move my small herd of cattle from my parent farm to my own and then expand. My hope for the future of ecological agriculture are that we can continue to improve on the sustainability so that there is enough food for the


Emily Breitkreuz  – Richards Family Farm – Bangor, SK

My name is Emily Breitkreuz. I am 18 years old and grew up outside of Theodore, Saskatchewan. Having grown up in the country, dirt and animals are in my blood! No matter how much I learn, or how much time I spend outside, I can’t seem to get enough…so apprenticing under the Richard’s Family Farm will be a great way to expand my knowledge and feed my love. Learning how all aspects of nature work together and depend upon each other is a resource that will always be an asset in the farming industry. I hope to continue on this journey in a pursuit of knowledge and fulfilment.

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