Are you an aspiring farmer looking to gain skills and knowledge that match the ecological and regenerative values you hold? Are you feeling the farming bug, but not quite ready to take the plunge and launch your own business? Young Agrarians and our network of exceptional mentor farmers are offering advanced, hands-on farm apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture. Participants with a serious interest, curiosity and commitment to full-time farming are invited to apply.
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.
Do you want to be a Host Farm Mentor? Read more here.
We are looking for Host Farm Mentors in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
As part of the program, apprentices will also visit other farms that are hosting Young Agrarian apprentices. This gives you the opportunity to learn from other ecological farmers, be exposed to different perspectives and practices, and make connections with other apprentices in the program.
Duration: Most apprenticeships last 8-12 months, however some farms offer 4-6 month programs. Start dates and end dates will be determined by the host farm and apprentice.
Hours: Work hours will vary with the season; however, apprentices are prepared to work 6-days a week. Living on a farm, you will be presented with constant change. While summer months offer abundance and long hours; winter brings shorter days, cold weather, and a slower pace. If the apprenticeship extends to the off-season, apprentices will learn about business planning and marketing, and/or focus on special projects, such as building and repairs.
Compensation: The greatest benefit to apprentices is the opportunity to become fully immersed in the daily labor and operation of their host operation. Room, board, and stipend packages vary from farm to farm. Housing is safe, secure and internet is available on each farm.
Food: While apprentices can expect to have some food provided by their host operations, they must clarify details and expectations related to food with their mentors as soon as possible upon accepting the apprenticeship position. Some mentors will provide a variety of food as ranch or farm products, while others will provide shared meals or possibly additional food stipends. Apprentices may be expected to participate in food preparation and clean-up for shared meals.
Days Off: Apprentices are encouraged to clarify details pertaining to days off and paid leave with their mentors as soon as possible upon beginning their apprenticeship.
Insurance: Each farm is required to have Workers Compensation coverage and insurance.
Orientation: Apprentices attend an online orientation in April. Attendance at this event is mandatory. The orientation will prepare you for your learning journey: you will learn about ecological agriculture and meet visionary farmers, connect with your fellow apprentices, meet the project coordinators and have fun together.
On-Farm Evaluation & Meetings: Mentors schedule 3 larger evaluations with the apprentices throughout the season to review skills checklists, discuss learning goals, observations, and general concerns or questions that arise. Monthly check-ins between mentors and apprentices are conducted to assess well-being and exchange more formalized feedback (though feedback is ongoing and often exchanged informally). Weekly meetings to review the schedule for the week are to be expected.
Education and Graduation: All participants will attend supplemental trainings and workshops offered in combination with the farm tours and potlucks. These workshops are designed to expose apprentices to topics ranging from soil health and land management to financial management and business planning. Apprentices will be invited to attend a regenerative agriculture conference (yet to be determined), at a discounted rate, as part of their apprenticeship curriculum and graduation.
Farm Log: Apprentices receive a workbook to log their day, for recording weather, hours worked, activities, observations, learning goals and questions that arise. The farm log is used to guide your check-in with farm mentor and program coordinators.
Peer-to-Peer Networking: Apprentices will have the opportunity to network with fellow apprentices, local farmers, agricultural professionals and meet other young agrarians. Each apprentice is responsible for organizing a farm tour with potluck, and will visit other apprentices’ farms.
One-on-one Support: Young Agrarians staff will facilitate an in-person check-in with each apprentice and help you develop your learning strategy. Phone calls and emails will be the primary form of communication throughout the season, but the Apprenticeship Coordinator will always be available if apprentices want additional check-ins.
Program Work & Evaluation: Apprentices are required to complete a formal exit interview with the mentor farm and program coordinator, a program evaluation with the program coordinator, and complete a final report in the form of a shareable post for the Young Agrarians blog.
2023 Host Farms
Check out our mentor farms:
- 350 Farms – Cold Lake, AB (pigs, pastured poultry, agritourism)
- Triple Lyoness Farm – Westlock, AB (cattle, pastured poultry, pigs)
- Common Ground Garden Project – Red Deer, AB (urban agriculture, outreach, composting)
- Carrots by Cam – Carseland, AB (market garden, root vegetables)
- The Homestead – Goodfare, AB (market garden, cattle, pastured poultry, pigs)
- First Nature Farms – Goodfare, AB (pigs, bison)
- Backwoods Buffalo Ranch – Mayerthorpe, AB (bison, pigs, pastured chickens, vegetables, farm store)
- Steel Pony Farm – Red Deer, AB (market garden)
- Root and Regenerate Urban Farms, Leaf & Lyre Urban Farm, Land of Dreams, Chef’s Farmer – Calgary, AB (urban agriculture, market gardening, cultural work)
- Grey Arrow Farm – Camrose, AB (market garden)
- Sundog Organic Farm – Gibbons, AB (market garden)
- Goodnote Community Farm – Leduc, AB (farm enterprise development, homesteading, agricultural education)
- Reclaim Organics – Pigeon Lake, AB (market garden, year-round microgreens)
- Lady’s Hat Farm – Castor, AB (flowers, lamb, honeybees)
- Tee Two Land and Cattle – Kelliher, SK (cattle, grain)
- Wakamow Free Food Farm – Moose Jaw, SK (market garden, perennial fruit)
- Grovenland Farm – Lanigan, SK (chicken, pigs, cattle, vegetables)
- Springer Family Farm – Foam Lake (cattle, grain, worm composting)
- Upland Organics – Wood Mountain, SK (grain, cattle)
- Axten Farms – Minton, SK (grain – growing, seed cleaning, milling)
- Richards Family Farm – Bangor, SK (holistic management, livestock, regenerative crops)
- Katerynych Family Farm – North Battleford, SK (Glutin free orgainic grain)
- Luna Field Farm – Ninette, MB (cattle, pigs, laying hens)
- Boundy Farms – Cartwright, MB (cattle, sheep, chickens)
- Fresh Roots Farm – Cartwright, MB (Honey Bees, cattle)
- Dogs Run Farm – Clearwater, MB (sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, soap making)
- Fostering Change Farm – Balmoral, MB (cattle, pigs, goats, poultry)
- Long Way Homestead and Ferme Fiola Farm – Ste. Genevieve (Sheep, wool fibers, fiber mill)
- Dunrea Farming Company and Prairie Knight Farms – Dunrea, MB (market garden, grain)
- Green Beach Farm and Food – Strathclair, MB (cattle, pigs, chickens, horses)
- Almost Urban Vegetables – Winnipeg, MB (market garden, homestead)
- Green Pastures Farm – Gardenton, MB (sheep, wool, turkeys, crops)
Do you want to be a Young Agrarians Mentor Farm? Details and mentor application here: Become a Mentor
Apprentice Application Process:
Only complete applications will be reviewed by the host farms. Applicants must be 16 or older to apply.
STEP 1: Online Application –
Complete the online application form: https://youngagrarians.org/apprenticeship-program/apprentice-application/
STEP 2: Telephone Interviews
Successful applicants will be contacted for an interview with the host farm and program coordinators.
STEP 3: Initial Farm Visit
Selected applicants are encouraged to visit the host farm for 3-5 days*. After this visit both parties will decide if they will proceed with the program.
*the program does not provide funding for this initial visit
STEP 4: Participant Fee Payment
Participants who are accepted into the program are required to pay $175 before the start of their apprenticeship to secure their position in the program.
Host farms will conduct video or phone interviews with select applicants. Confirmation of successful applicants will be in February.
Apprentice start dates vary by farm however are generally April or May 2023.
For more information contact:
Kolby Peterson, YA Alberta Apprenticeship Coordinator
Alieka Beckett, YA SK Apprenticeship Coordinator
Sara Yagelniski, YA MB Apprenticeship Coordinator
The Young Agrarians Apprenticeship program curriculum and materials have been adapted from the Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Apprenticeship program.