YA APPRENTICESHIP 2022: BALGONIE, SK – SUNDOG VEGETABLES

Posted by Sara Yagelniski on December 13, 2021 2 Comments

Do you want to garden under the big prairie sky with awesome people? Sundog Vegetables has an opportunity for you in 2022 to learn about market gardening east of Regina in the beautiful grasslands, poplar stands, and pockets of wetlands. Come get your hands dirty and learn important sustenance skills.

 

ABOUT SUNDOG VEGETABLES

Sundog Vegetables is located near Balgonie, Saskatchewan – Treaty 4 Territory

Adam Bongarzone and his partner Sam, along with their kids Sylvia (10) and Fern (5), live an farm at Sundog Vegetables east of Regina. Their farm is primarily a market garden – vegetables and berries. Small orchard (not yet producing). Lots of new shelterbelt plantings (planting at least a few hundred new trees every year). They started the farm 2 years ago, so everything is still growing!  April/May will be preparing soil and planting new trees, perennials, and annual crops. In 2022, this will be shelterbelts, strawberries, asparagus, and raspberries. June will be some planting and lots of weeding. July the crew will start harvesting and August/September harvest will be in full swing, along with end of season clean-up and cover cropping. A fun filled growing season ahead spent in good company with humans and plants!

About the apprenticeship:

Sundog Vegetables follow organic practices even though they are not certified. They grow green manures, cover crops, reduce tillage where possible, apply animal manure and mineral fertilizers. Their plan is to more tightly integrate livestock and expand perennial crops in the future.

Primarily the apprentice will be helping with bed prep (4-wheel and/or 2-wheel tractors), seeding (both field and greenhouse starts), weeding (LOTS of that), harvesting, and washing/packing. There would certainly be some building projects during the year, like building mobile poultry houses. Inevitably some machinery breaks down, which would present learning opportunities.

As part of the apprenticeship, you will meet with other apprentices across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta who are part of the Young Agrarians Apprenticeship program. Field days, learning opportunities and potlucks will be planned with the Manitoba group at each hosts farm.  You will also be invited to attend a regenerative or organic food conference during or following the apprenticeship.

As the turkey watched the autumn sun setting over the prairie, it contemplated its own mortality, while also giving thanks for a life full of oats and grasshoppers.

About the farm mentors:

Adam is the primary farmer – he’s been farming for 12 years, mostly in coastal BC. He used to be a science teacher in the US and still do some sub work in the off-season. His partner, Sam works as an astronomy professor in Regina. She also milks and takes care of our small herd of dairy goats. Our kids Sylvia and Fern are usually not far away, picking berries or playing with chickens. Their 2021 farm hand may return for 2022, but that’s not certain yet.

Adam used to teach science so he loves to nerd out about botanical and soil science concepts in easy-to-understand ways.  He also enjoys teaching what he’s learned about farming. 

Sun Dog Vegetables Soil

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 through a learning plan with the host farm.  

market gardening maintenance of machinery
direct marketing organic weed control, weeding, weeding
seeding and transplanting soil health and fertility
pasture poultry (in garden rotation)  harvest, washing, and packing
perenial planting and care garden watering systems

Skill required of the apprentice:

*Good boots/shoes and work clothing for a variety of conditions (anything the prairie can throw at you from April to October).

*Willingness to learn, desire to garden, and positive attitude (especially in the weeds).

Housing, Stipend and Duration:

*Housing will be a 5th wheel camper ~25′. Functional heat, cooking, and running water, but no toilet (outhouse nearby). 

* Apprentice can use laundry in farm family’s house. Internet wifi does not reach the trailer but the apprentice can use inside or outside house as weather requires. Happy to lend books, farming or otherwise.

*The family is fine with lending their car for trips to town, longer recreational trips would be negotiated (some kind of $/km rate probably)

*The mentors can provide bulk foods – flour, oats, beans, etc. On farm they have veggies, milk, and eggs in season which are free for workers (the farm uses unsaleable produce first).

*Wage will be discusessed in interview, but somewhere between $12 – $15/hr with $250/month deducted for housing.

*6 months, April 15 – October 15

*Because it’s a seasonal job, it’s hard to spare a worker for more than 1 week off, ideally taken sometime mid June through early August. Exact timing would have to be coordinated with the other farmers/workers.

About the Community and Land:

Sundog Vegetables is located in Treaty 4 lands in the territories of the nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda peoples and the homeland of the Métis Nation. They are proud members of the Treaty Land Sharing Network.

Balgonie is the closest town (9 km) and has a store, post office, library, and restaurant. Regina is about a 30 min drive. Locally they have friends and neighbors who do a wide variety of different farming activities so there’d be opportunities to see different operations.

Sundog Vegetables is located on Treaty 4 lands. These are the territories of the Nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda, and the homeland of the Métis/Michif Nation.

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 to apply > January 31, 2022

Contact Sara (program coordinator) for questions: manitoba@youngagrarians.org

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2 thoughts on “YA APPRENTICESHIP 2022: BALGONIE, SK – SUNDOG VEGETABLES

  1. You are doing a good job! You has a strong focus on mentorship and community building. And You are a community garden that focuses on growing organic, locally grown vegetables.And in my opinion , your garden has an educational aspect to it, including the cultivation of native and exotic seeds. Thanks for your job!

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