Posted by Justin Girard on November 22, 2022

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


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, and 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 host’s farm.  You will also be invited to attend a regenerative or organic food conference during or following the apprenticeship.

Testimonial from 2022 apprentice Olivia:                                                                                                         “I’d say my biggest takeaway I’m getting right now is the amount of machinery I’m getting good at. You really get a chance to submerge yourself when you are working on the farm, and it usually only takes me a week to get comfortable on something once I’m shown how to drive it because I get to put in so many hours on every piece.”

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 her 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 equipmentseeding and harvesting
compost teamaking compost
Working with cattlefencing
microscope / grain samplingMoving / cleaning grain
pigs and chickensbasic 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 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 fieldwork 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 is 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.

More Details about this Apprenticeship and How to Apply 

Deadline to apply – January 31, 2024

Contact Alieka (program coordinator) for questions: Saskatchewan@youngagrarians.org