YA Apprenticeship 2022: Red Deer, AB – Steel Pony Farm

Posted by Kolby Peterson on December 27, 2019

Photo: Steel Pony Mentor, Mike, and 2020 YA Apprentice, Jillian

Are you an aspiring farmer looking to gain experience on a vegetable farm? Are you wanting to learn about market gardening and lean farm management? Steel Pony Farm is offering a unique apprenticeship, join their team!

About the Farm

Steel Pony Farm is an 8 acre market garden which grows a diversity of vegetables for a CSA program and for wholesale. Mike Kozlowski grows his veggies with an emphasis on soil health and high nutrient density. Specifically, he is on a path right now transitioning toward no-till production and is also exploring the diverse ways that vegetable farms can completely embrace regenerative agriculture. Steel Pony is located on Tamara Ranch just south of Red Deer.

About the Apprenticeship

Steel Pony is a busy and diverse operation which serves the local community high quality food. This apprenticeship will teach skills in CSA market gardening such as crop planning, seed selection, vegetable production, and both direct and wholesale marketing. Mike is passionate about good soil health translating to healthy vegetables, and so you will learn applied soil health principles, soil amendments, and various cropping rotations. In this apprenticeship, you will become familiar (and no doubt well fed!) with numerous vegetable crops well suited for central Alberta climate.

As part of the apprenticeship, you will meet with other apprentices across Alberta who are part of the Young Agrarians Apprenticeship program. Field days, learning opportunities and potlucks will be planned with this group at each hosts farm.  You will also be invited to attend the 2022 Organic Alberta Conference

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.

MARKET GARDENING DIRECT MARKETING & Wholesale Marketing
COMMUNITY SUPPORT AGRICULTURE MODEL Low-Till & no-till vegetable production
COVER CROPPING GARLIC GROWING AND SEED SAVING
WEED MANAGEMENT GREEN HOUSE MANAGEMENT
POST HARVEST HANDLING SOIL FERTILITY / NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT
NUTRIENT DENSE FOOD PRODUCTION LEAN FARMING
Photo: Mike Kozlowski, owner of Steel Pony Farm
Photo: Mike Kozlowski, owner of Steel Pony Farm

Housing, Stipend, and Duration

Housing will be off farm and apprentices are responsible for  finding their own housing. Red Deer is just a few minutes away.  A stipend will be paid depending on length of stay and expertise. You will work alongside other staff and employees. This apprenticeship is 6-8 months.

About the Community

Red Deer is a hop, skip, and a jump from Steel Pony Farm and has full services. It is a bustling city with many unique developments such as the Piper Creek Restoration Agriculture Project food forest and pollinator gardens.

The farm is on Treaty 6 and 7 territory and the traditional and ancestral lands of Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy), Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Cree, Saulteaux and Métis peoples. 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 

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS. Apply by February 15th, 2022. 

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

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