Posted by Sara Yagelniski on November 11, 2021

Open skies and grassland diversity at it’s finest near Grassland National Park, farmers Allison and Cody welcome you to come learn about organic and regenerative farming! Get out onto the land for a beautiful and fun farming adventure in 2022.


Upland is located near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan – Treaty 4 Territory

Allison and Cody farm over 2000 acres and produce several crop types including pulses, cereals, and oilseeds. They live in the heart of the grasslands and brought cattle into their farm rotation to promote diversity and healthy soils. They moved onto the land in 2010 and have been focused on organic and regenerative farming while raising 3 children. Cody and Allison are both passionate and interested in building soil health and producing healthy food for their community.


About the apprenticeship:

An apprentice would have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the farm. Activities would include operating a variety of large farm equipment, working with cattle, pigs and chickens, brewing compost tea and making compost, fencing, moving and cleaning grain, basic equipment repair and maintenance, soil, plant and grain sampling. Allison and Cody are well practiced and are excited to share their skills and knowledge.

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 Saskatchewan 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 mentors:

Cody Straza was born and raised in the Wood Mountain area. He grew up on a farm and completed an engineering degree at the University of Saskatchewan in Agricultural and BioResource Engineering. After completing this degree he went on to work in the manufacturing sector for several years before returning back to farm in the Wood Mountain area. One of Cody’s strengths is in machinery design and he enjoys working with and improving the equipment on the farm.

Allison Squires was born in St. John’s, NFLD and grew up primarily in Southern Ontario. After completing her BSc in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Guelph (Guelph, ON) she moved to Saskatoon, SK to complete first her MSc and then Ph.D. in Toxicology at the University of Saskatchewan. Like Cody, Allison is very interested in promoting the organic industry, especially through on-farm research. Allison serves the national organic community as a director on the Canadian Organic Growers board and in 2020 was also elected to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) North America board of Directors.

Neil MacDonald, the full-time year round employee in charge of the cattle herd will also be mentoring and working with the apprentice at times.

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.  

operating farm equipment seeding and harvesting
compost tea making compost
Working with cattle fencing
microscope / grain sampling Moving / cleaning grain
pigs and chickens basic repairs and maintenance

Skill required of the apprentice
*A class 5 drivers license with a clean drivers abstract and a criminal record check.
*An apprentice will need their own vehicle for off-farm travel.
*A laptop or tablet for internet access would be a good idea.
*Work boots (steel toed) are necessary, especially when working around cattle.
*Someone who is interested in organic regenerative agriculture and is keen to learn and immerse themselves in the farm experience and learn as much as possible during the apprenticeship.

Housing, Stipend and Duration
*The apprentice would have their own house provided, in a separate yard a mile south of the home yard. Complete with a fully functioning kitchen, the apprentice will be responsible for all of their own meals. Laundry and internet are available and the farm will provide a vehicle for on-farm use.

*There is also a lot of private outdoor space available for gardening etc.!

*Pay will be $15-$18/hour depending on experience. And compensation for overtime and stat holidays.

*Weekends would be time off. The exception is during the busy times such as seeding and harvest when everyone puts in the necessary hours to get the crop in (or off) around weather constraints. This extra time would be compensated with overtime pay and days off after the busy season and/or if it rains and field work is not possible.

*The Apprenticeship will start in April and end in October or November

About the Community and Land
Upland Organics is quite remote, a great way to be fully immersed in nature and the grassland. A 45 minute drive away from the nearest town (groceries, banking, restaurants etc.). They are minutes away from a regional park (www.woodmountainpark.ca) that has a concession and outdoor swimming pool. The farm is also very close to the East Block of Grasslands National Park and are a 20 minute drive north of the US border. And Wood Mountain has a library, whoot whoot!

Upland Organics is on Treaty 4 territory which is the traditional territory of the Blackfoot / Niitsítapi ᖹᐟᒧᐧᒣᑯ, the Assiniboine, the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ and on the homeland of the Métis 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.