Have you been wanting to up your food-growing game? Are you looking for a farm experience to boost your skills and knowledge and create connections to start your farming journey? Almost Urban Vegetables is a farm close to Winnipeg offering an apprenticeship spot in 2023!
About the Farm
Almost Urban Vegetables is located on Treaty 1 territory near Winnipeg, MB.
Marilynn Frith and Bruce Berry are the owners and farmers of Almost Urban Vegetables, which is a market garden producing over 40 varieties of vegetables and herbs. Their goal is to produce nourishing food with as little use of fossil fuel as possible and by following organic standards. Their soil is heavy clay and requires amending to produce well. They do not use synthetics in either fertilizer or amendments. The farm was started in 2007 to provide food for their family and a little extra to take to market, which has grown to provide seasonal vegetables to 80 families plus a farmers market.
The farm has pastured livestock that are rotationally grazed on land that is not in current vegetable crop production (sheep and chicken). They use a low till approach to cropping but also monitor soil organic matter and apply only natural slow release fertilizers and amendments.
The growing season gets underway in April and ends in October. A typical season will have a team of five including Marilynn and Bruce (the owner/operators), with helpers working five days of around 35 hours.
About the Apprenticeship
The apprentice will participate and work in all stages of vegetable production from seeds to the customer picking up. The variety of CSA gardens means that each day’s work is tailored to the demands of crops and weather. So preparation, seeding, watering, cultivating, harvesting, cleaning, packaging, marketing presentation are the major steps in this. Each crop is a learning opportunity in all of these steps. Their animals are aimed at home economy scale and an apprentice can once again get involved in all phases of that, or not, as they wish. Marilynn and Bruce value the contribution of the animals to the holistic solutions of regenerative agriculture.
The team leaders need and value their helpers on the farm (market garden). This has worked best when the helper is interested in, and motivated by, personal goals that align with sustainable/regen food production. They feel that small scale farming is an occupation that is not formally taught and must be learned by doing. There might be possibilities to have this recognized by wider society in a way that supports the creation of more successful small scale farms; and hopefully the Apprenticeship program is part of that picture!
As part of the apprenticeship, you will meet with other apprentices across Manitoba 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 be provided with a learning fund to support travel or other learning opportunities you wish to pursue.
About the mentors
The mentors would be Marilyn and Bruce (photo above). Depending on tasks and skills at that time, a mentee would be working with either one of them. Helpers in their second or third year will also occasionally assist on demonstrating tasks as well.
Marilynn and Bruce both came to farming as a second career, having previously held other jobs unrelated to farming. Marilyn formerly worked in television production as a news show director. She received certificates in both Horticulture and Permaculture prior to starting Almost Urban Vegetables. Bruce worked as a mechanical engineer, mostly in the automotive sector, but also in software for semiconductor fabrication. Since starting farming, he has been on a steep learning curve about soil, ecosystems and nutrition.
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||selling at a farmers market|
|homesteading||seeding, weeding, harvesting|
|soil health||raising chickens (small scale)|
|livestock integration||home scale sheep rearing|
|skills checklist||working on a team|
|marketing||organic soil amendments|
Skills Required of the Apprentice
*Happy working outdoors in all weather conditions.
*Curiosity, observant and willing to ask questions.
*English literacy and fluency.
*Please bring boots, gloves, headgear, and appropriate all weather clothing.
Housing, Stipend and Duration
*Accommodation can be either on farm or its is feasible to commute from the city.
*On farm there is a hard top camper, with washroom and kitchen shared in their shared house.
*Laundry, internet, and a bicycle available for use.
*Apprentices can eat any amount of vegetables they like from the farm. There is also eggs available and shared dinner is common but up to the apprentice.
*$16/hr, with some chargeback for room and board depending on what is provided to the apprentice. (can chat about in interview).
*35 hours/week typically.
*16 – 20 weeks – Beginning of May to end of Oct (ideally)
*All statutory holidays plus up to two weeks (unpaid) if desired.
About the Community and Land
The farm is located on the edge of Winnipeg, as reflected in our farm name. People can live in the city and commute to the farm for work. There is plenty of wildlife such as deer, fox, eagle, rabbit, wild turkey, and many more. People can access all the cultural events of Winnipeg and also access the urban forest adjacent to the farm.
“We live on Red River land that was settled by the Metis Nation.”
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.
Deadline – January 31st, 2023
Interested in an Apprenticeship but this isn’t quite the right one? Check out other Young Agrarians Apprenticeships being offered in 2023 here.