Meet Your Future Farmers – YA Apprenticeship Program

Posted by Michelle Lam on May 15, 2021

Please help us welcome our 2021 Apprenticeship cohort! These folks are part of the Young Agrarians Apprenticeship program and will be spending an entire season at our partnering mentor’s farms. Get ready for long farm days in the sun, getting covered in dirt n’ mud, and a season of learning opportunities! Our apprentices are placed at regenerative farms across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba!

If you’re interested in being a part of the Young Agrarians Apprenticeship program in the future, click here to learn more about becoming an Apprentice and here to learn about becoming a mentor!

Erin Froese

Hi! My name is Erin. I grew up in Treaty 1 territory, Morden, MB, quite close to the place where my ancestors first settled in the 1870s. Food has always been an important and active part of my life. I grew up with a large garden in my backyard, my mom owns and operates a small bakery, and my dad enjoys beekeeping to supply the bakery and our family with honey.

I am particularly interested in what it means to live well in a place. This includes an active engagement with questions of land history, climate justice, and food sovereignty.  I see farming as a way to delve into these questions while also striving to care for my community, for my neighbours, and for the land. That is why I am excited to jump into the YA Apprenticeship program! I’m looking forward to learning new skills and building relationships along the way.

Sara Vanderwyst

Hi there, I’m Sara! I’ll be working at The Homestead this summer. I left Nova Scotia 2 years ago to travel and experience new things, which is where I started working on farms. What was meant to just be a quick gig to fund my travels turned into a passion that I wanted to explore. The YA program excites me because I believe it’s a great way to learn more about regenerative agriculture and be a part of something important! My long term goals are to help connect people to where their food comes from, and bring awareness to a more holistic way of farming. I love to cook & bake, explore nature and I’m always down for an adventure.

I can’t wait to get my hands covered in dirt (and probably pig poop) and work with passionate farmers this summer!

Elizabeth DeCorby

My name is Elizabeth DeCorby and I have lived in Edmonton for all of my life. I am currently an engineering student at the U of A and have spent much of the past year working at my desk — I can’t wait to be outside every day! I will be apprenticing on an organic vegetable farm near Camrose called Grey Arrow Farm. I have a deep love for the natural world and its self-sufficient processes. I am in constant awe of the resilience of plants; especially those that produce our food. My hope is that one day the whole world will have the education and experiences that allow them to feel as close of a connection to the land as farmers and Indigenous peoples do.

I have always had the desire to live more simply and sustainably, and by learning the skills needed to grow my own food I hope to further pursue this goal. I hope to use the knowledge I gain of farming and business to feed my family and community in the future. There are so many alternative ways of living and providing for your own basic needs; this experience will provide me the knowledge, time, and space to experiment with different lifestyles. Thank you Grey Arrow Farm and Young Agrarians for providing me with this opportunity!

Bronwyn Green

Hi! I have been serving and managing restaurants for the past 12 years. I have been independently studying agriculture and food systems ever since, here in my hometown of Winnipeg. My favourite place to be is in the backyard garden, with my cats. I have a huge dream of building a green space just outside of Winnipeg that acts as a gathering place for people who are struggling with their mental and physical health. A community engagement centre that can help bring people together and coach/guide others through the basics of self care, by teaching practical skills, like gardening, composting, cooking, preserving and storing food, home and health maintenance, sewing, and waste management. I have always wanted to live in a slightly rural environment, where I can grow my own food for my family and community. And coach others to do the same, on the land. I love to bike and rollerblade around town. Living within walking distance of the places where I get supplies is very important to me. I sing, songwrite, play the guitar and ukulele for fun. I enjoy doing yoga, breath work, and meditating. I study Astrology, Human Design, Icelandic Runes in my spare time.

Nicholas Rowley

Hi!  My name’s Nicholas Rowley, and I’ll be apprenticing at Goodnote Community Farm just outside Edmonton, Alberta (near Beaumont).  I decided to go for the Young Agrarian program after spending an eventful summer last year with Grow Calgary.  It was a blessing to be able to be outside, meeting new people safely in the midst of the pandemic.  That fraternal feeling will continue through to this year – I’m super excited to continue learning about permaculture / regenerative agriculture in a fantastic community setting.

For me, this means diving in headfirst and learning as much as I can (in this case, about animal husbandry, rotational grazing, as well as food processing applications – raw dairy into yogourt/cheeses).   My goal is to pay it forward; I want to share the process & help create an awesome food future for our province..

..and if I get to share a bit of my cooking knowledge along the way, that will be cool, too.  Ultimate goal: farm to table restaurant.  Still a cook at heart, will be a lot of fun to play with ingredients as fresh as they come.  I want to bring more awareness to the value of supporting small scale agriculture – better food is just the start~

Abigail Schmidt Brown

Hi, I’m Abigail! I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta on Treaty 7 territory but spent a sizeable portion of my young adulthood in Victoria on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen peoples where I just recently graduated from the University of Victoria with a degree in Religious Studies and Spanish and a permaculture certificate. I am looking forward to feeling more confident with my hands in the dirt by collaborating with other farmers and apprentices alike to unpack the theoretical and practical ways to approach regenerative agriculture. I see regenerative agriculture as a way forward and so I’m excited to be working with these techniques this summer and hopefully into the rest of my life.

Kaitlyn Busson

Hi everyone! My name is Kaitlyn Busson and this summer I will be apprenticing atThe Homestead in Goodfare, AB. I have grown up on a farm in Northern Alberta but I know I have so much more to learn about agriculture. This summer I hope to have a fun experience, meet and work with great people, and learn more about the intricate details of such a diverse operation as The Homestead. My long term goal is to apply the knowledge I gain this summer to a career as a large animal veterinarian and fellow producer. I’m super excited to be part of this program and can’t wait to start this experience and meet all of you incredible people!

Chelsea Klinke

Oki, tansi, hello friends! My name is Chelsea Klinke and I am a visitor on Treaty 7 territory, originating from Delaware, USA. Within Moh’kinstsis, I will be apprenticing with Michael Gavin of Dirt Boys Urban Farming. In addition to assisting with their CSA for the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living and distribution to YCC Growers, my role will be to kickstart and manage a market garden. Our vision is to address shortfalls in urban food resiliency by working with food-insecure communities to kickstart a local market in a neighborhood that currently does not have one and build the capacity of community members to grow their food communally. I will therefore transfer the knowledge and skills honed in my apprenticeship to support a grassroots movement of increased urban food production grounded in regenerative and agroecological principles. Aside from my apprenticeship, I am a doctoral student in Anthropology at UCalgary focusing on Indigenous Food Sovereignty. As a co-founder of FoodScape Calgary, a social enterprise offering Indigenous land stewardship and permaculture consulting, I am passionate about bridging the academic/public divide through experiential learning with plants as food, filtration, and medicine. As ‘sustainable agriculture’ is place-specific, my vision for the Calgarian agrarian network (1) recognizes long-held Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing, and connecting that are local to Treaty 7, (2) is more socially inclusive and supports aspiring BIPOC agrarians who continually face systemic barriers in access to land and resources, (3) reframes our relationality with plants as kin and medicine, (4) supports native pollinators and efforts of ‘rewilding’, and (5) closes the urban metabolic loop as well as gaps in access to and security over healthy food choices. I look forward to meeting, learning from, and growing alongside you this summer!

Andrew Kozak

My name is Andrew and I am originally from Toronto. I will be the apprentice for Nature’s Way Farm up in Grimshaw, AB. I really enjoy working with my hands and I am hoping to learn more about soil health, gardening, living a sustainable life, and bringing those ideas back into our cities.

After volunteering on farms for a few months, I have realized that our land is deeply divided by those who live in rural communities versus urban centres. When I lived in the city, I rarely thought about where my food was coming from, or its quality. That changed when I moved to the country. My mission now, is to shift the urban mentality towards a better awareness of food, sustainability, and healthy lifestyle.

Annalise Beaulieu

Hi! I’m Annalise Beaulieu, and I’m excited to be apprenticing at Steel Pony Farm this summer. I am currently studying Horticulture at Olds College, and I joined the YA Apprenticeship Program hoping to learn a ton about regenerative agriculture. My longer-term goal is to engage directly with communities helping them to build vibrant, resilient, and regenerative food systems. In my spare time I read a lot of fiction, eat a lot of dessert, and drink a lot of tea.

Matthew Kyriakides

Hi everyone! My name is Matthew Kyriakides and I am excited to be a part of the Young Agrarians mentorship program. I am a farmer-researcher with a huge love for agricultural systems that care for the soil. I have worked for many years on vegetable farms across Canada and hold an MSc in Earth and Environment from Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands where I focused on soil quality and ecosystem restoration. I have enrolled in a PhD program with the University of Victoria and the Sandown Center for Regenerative Agriculture which will examine the effects of various land care techniques on restoring soil quality in a former horse racing track. I am currently seeking funding for my project and will begin in September.

I am very excited and grateful to work with the farmers, animals, and plants at Lazy Plum Farm for the summer. Most of my non-research field experience has involved crops and trees, and I am keen to learn more about how to practically work with animals in a way that cares for both them and the greater agricultural ecosystem. Connecting with the agricultural communities in Saskatchewan will be an integral part of my PhD preparation.

Leia Zulyniak

Hi YA!

My name is Leia Zulyniak and I’m a university student in Saskatoon, SK. This summer I will be apprenticing on Lazy T and Lady’s Hat Farms in AB! I am looking forward to spending time outside, playing with baby animals, and growing my skills and experience with holistic and sustainable practices. Once I finish my degree, I hope to bring some aspects of sustainability to my family’s organic farm in Yorkton, SK! I’m so excited to become part of this community, learn from my mentors and other apprentices, and become part of the process of ecological reconciliation!

Madison Anderson

I grew up in Brandon Manitoba, where I lived on a small acreage outside of the city. I was involved in the local 4-H club, riding and caring for her horse, learning patience and responsibility. With 4-H I got to be the president of the club for 4 years and learned a lot about running meetings and public speaking. I went on to compete in show jumping for many years after riding multiple times at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair.

I have worked at many different jobs including retail work and then working with people with disabilities for many years.

I then decided to quit my job and attend Assiniboine Community College to take my 2-year diploma in Agribusiness. During the summer at college I got the chance to help a friend on the farm, and he ran a manure hauling business, so I got to spend long hours driving a tractor to many different farms hauling manure out to their fields.

I am looking forward to my future in the Young Agrarians Manitoba Apprenticeship where I can learn hands-on skills that will help me in the future!

Vanessa Siemens

I am Vanessa! I am from BC and am taking a BSc in Agronomy at the university of Manitoba. I am interested in regenerative agriculture because I believe that it is necessary for humanity to connect to the ecology and diversity of life to maintain and sustain our systems. I am excited to apprentice with Fresh Roots Farm to learn about cattle ranching and to continue to learn about beekeeping.