Posted by Justin Girard on February 08, 2022

Faspa Farm is a great place to learn about grain farming with an ecological mind-set. Karen is passionate about the health of the environment and farming. She welcomes an apprentice to come get nerdy about soil and the love of the land. Surrounded by beautiful prairie and valley ravines, Faspa Farm is a great place to spend your 2022 growing season!



Faspa Farm is located near Manitou, Manitoba – Treaty 1 Territory

Karen Klassen’s family has been on the land where they farm since the 1930s. She farms with her Dad, George. Crops they grow include: wheat, barley, oats, rye, peas, fava beans, hemp, buckwheat and canola.
Faspa farm is a great place to learn, especially about how to grow grains, pulses, and other crops in the best way possible for ecosystem health.
They have transitioned 160 acres to certified organic production and have learned from organic techniques to reduce fertilizer use on the rest of their land by planting green manures/cover crops and ensuring there is something planted in the fall to cover the ground for the winter.
The farm also focuses on increasing biodiversity by planting pollinator strips, eco-buffers and additional shelterbelts throughout the farm, they preserve the wetlands present on the farm and are working on a project to convert part of the creek to a permanent wetland.
The crew at Faspa also practice minimal (or thoughtful!) tillage and use a no-till drill and to make things even more exciting, they have partnered with their neighbour to integrate livestock on the green manure where they practice rotational grazing!


About the apprenticeship:
Faspa Farm is a grain farm, so they require help with all related activities! Depending on the experience of the apprentice, they could drive tractor/do field work. If they did not have this experience, they would be slowly trained to do so, to check equipment and help prepare it for field activities; do crop scouting/soil health evaluations; maintain the yard site by keeping the bin areas clean; watering new tree plantings; establishing new eco-buffer and tree strips, work in the garden. Learning activities would include being a part of the discussions on farm operation planning, including crop rotation decisions; management decisions; data collection/record keeping/book keeping and marketing.

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.

About the farm mentor:
Karen would be the main mentor with additional support from her dad, George.

Karen grew up on the family farm, but then moved away and spent most of her adulthood travelling and living abroad. She is a trained dietitian and worked as an HIV Specialist Dietitian in London, UK before moving to Australia to do a PhD. She was a research fellow and lecturer in Melbourne, Australia when she decided to move back to the farm in 2018.

She loves the challenge of farming and learning about the nature that surrounds the farm. Karen also enjoys gardening, fermenting, distilling and playing with the chickens!
And she works part-time for the Manitoba Organic Alliance and Farmers for Climate Solutions.

(Karen’s parents)

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.  

grain farminggardening
green manures & livestocksoil fertility, care, and health
seeding with a tractorplanting and maintaining trees
Harvesting with a combinemachine maintance
soil testing and evaluationsoperating farm equipment

Skill required of the apprentice
*Karen would love if someone came with mechanical skills! But it is not a requirement.
*Work clothes for all weather including boots and gloves.
*The apprentice would need their own vehicle.

Housing, Stipend and Duration
*A basement room with a mini kitchenette is available as a residence.
*There is also usually rental apartments available in town if required.
*Laundry, internet, utilities etc. all would be available to an apprentice.
*Meals can be negotiated depending on the apprentice and their interest/abilities in cooking/meal prep!
*Karen grows a huge garden and would be happy to also negotiate sharing space in there or gardening together.
*Wage would depend on skills and experience. A base of $15/hour
*May-September, depending on the apprentice’s other commitments (i.e. University)
*The crew takes Sundays off except when there are weather conditions requiring seeding or harvest, but they always take at least 1 full day off each week. Expected work hours to be discussed.

About the Community and Land
The farm is located 5 km north of Manitou, a tiny village that has a grocery store and a few other shops. The farm is close to lots of hiking trails, a wetland reserve and dam for boating.

We acknowledge that we farm in Treaty 1 territory and that is the traditional territory of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.
-Karen Klassen

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 > February 15th, 2022

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

No photo description available.