YA APPRENTICESHIP 2022: Cartwright, MB – Fresh Roots Farm

Posted by Sara Yagelniski on November 22, 2021

Are you an aspiring farmer who wants to gain experience growing amazing food for an amazing community? Fresh Roots Farm is excited to offer a meaningful apprenticeship to help you on your farming journey.

About the Farm

Fresh Roots Farm is located on Treaty 1 territory near Cartwright, MB. 

Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek have been farming since 2011, on a quarter section inherited from Michelle’s grandparents. They decided to try and make a living from the land, laying down “fresh roots” along with optimism for a modern yet traditional style of food production. They rent another quarter section from Michelle’s father.

Fresh Roots Farm consists of a herd of around 45 cows and their calves and 40 ewes. Their beef and lamb products are marketed directly to customers in Manitoba. The farm also includes an apiary of around 100 beehives that produces raw honey, most of which is sold either as wholesale to stores, or direct to consumers. Troy and Michelle also have a laying hen flock to around 80-100 hens. In summer the hens are on a pasture-based rotating system. They also produce much of our own food, including a vegetable and herb garden.

Fresh Roots Farm has a fantastic network of returning customers mostly based in Winnipeg, MB. Troy and Michelle pride themselves on stewarding the animals and the land, while providing a variety of nourishing foods to local Manitobans. 

About the Apprenticeship

The apprentice will work in most aspects of the farm operation. They will help with daily chores related to livestock including feeding and watering laying hens, egg collection, checking on cattle and sheep, setting up fences and moving animals to new paddocks. In May and June, the apprentice will help with calving and lambing.

Beekeeping activities will include feeding, splitting and queening, moving hives to yards, checking on hives, collection of honey, and honey harvesting/packaging. The apprentice will also help with planting, maintenance & harvest of the household vegetable garden.

Additionally, the apprentice will assist with preparing direct marketing orders. They will also help with regular construction, maintenance and repair projects on the farm.

About the mentors

Troy is a first generation farmer, after growing up in Dauphin, MB and after having gained his M. Environmental Studies at University of Manitoba. Michelle grew up on a mixed farm and ranch and got her B. International Development Studies at University of Winnipeg. Though Troy wasn’t raised on a farm, he had a deep interest in farming and rural life. Like Michelle, he felt strongly about food sovereignty and sustainable food production, as well as community development and justice values.

Their son Sydney was born in 2017, and they endeavor to continue farming in a way that will enable the next generation to have farming as a viable livelihood option. They are expecting a 2nd child in late 2020, and therefore, Troy will be the primary mentor in 2021.

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.

Livestock husbandry calving and lambing
maintenance and repair gardening

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Skills Required of the Apprentice

Prior farm or ranch experience is preferred, but not required. The apprentice will be expected to  work independently and in a team.  Organization and problem solving skills will be helpful.  Knowledge of basic tools/hardware, building or construction knowledge, and/or beekeeping experience would be an asset. They will also be working outdoors in various types of weather. The apprentice will need to take responsibility for their own personal self-care.

Note: It would be almost impossible for Fresh Roots to host an apprentice that had a known serious allergy to bee stings. Honeybees are kept close to the home yard, and they are preferring to have someone come that can actively engage (safely) in the beekeeping enterprise.

Housing, Stipend and Duration

This apprentice will have separate housing,  a cozy one-room ‘cabin’ in the farmyard affectionately called it the ‘Willa Villa’. It has electricity, though not running water, but water is provided for drinking and running water is accessible nearby, as well as an outhouse. The apprentice can respectfully use the bath, showering and laundry facilities in the main house. The cabin and house both have WIFI. The apprentice will be required to have appropriate work clothing.

The apprentice will generally be provide with food. Breakfast can be prepared and eaten privately in the apprentice’s own housing. Lunches and most suppers can be enjoyed together. 

The farm will provide a stipend of around $1000/month. Food for 3 meals a day and snacks and accommodation will be provided for free. The apprentice can expect 1-2 days off per week. This apprenticeship will be from May to August or September. 

About the Community and Land

Cartwright, Manitoba is the nearest small town and the farm is about 1.5 hours to Brandon, MB and 2hrs 45mins to Winnipeg, MB. Many beautiful lakes surround the farm and nearby land. Turtle Mountain Provincial Park and Spruce Woods Provincial Park – both within an hours drive have many hiking trails, camping opportunities, and beautiful land.

The farm is on Treaty 1 territory and the traditional and ancestral lands of Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. These communities have a deep relationship with this land based on, among other things, a spiritual connection and subsistence extending back thousands of years.

Young Agrarians recognizes the unresolved Indigenous land title and rights in the diverse territories in what is today called Canada. As we live and work in the context of and in response to a colonial system of laws and policies, it is important to acknowledge the historical and ongoing impact of agriculture and land enclosure on Indigenous lands and food systems. In this context, we acknowledge our collective responsibility to position Indigenous Peoples and their experiences with coloniality, in a narrative of reconciliation that places ecology, land stewardship, and Indigenous land title and rights at the forefront – if we are to sustain the Earth’s ecosystems in today’s rapidly changing climate.

Our deepest hope is that the future of our food systems is diverse, interconnected, and resilient, embraces people of all walks of life and sustains the water, plants, and creatures in ways that benefit and work alongside Indigenous Peoples and narratives and ways of knowing and caring for the land.

This farm, like many others, is surrounded by agricultural cultivated land, uncultivated land, Indigenous people and voices from non-settler walks of life. We encourage everyone to build relationship with the land and community that surrounds the place where you will be learning.

More Details about this Apprenticeship and How to Apply 

Deadline January 31st, 2022.

Interested in an Apprenticeship but this isn’t quite the right one? Check out other Young Agrarians  Apprenticeships being offered in 2022 here.

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