YA Apprenticeship 2023: Goodfare – First Nature Farms

Posted by Dana Penrice on November 02, 2022

Are you an aspiring farmer looking to gain experience on a mixed, long-time-organic farm? Are  you wanting to learn about a mixed livestock operation and heritage breeds? First Nature Farms is offering a unique apprenticeship; join their team!

About the Farm

First Nature Farms Logo

First Nature Farms is surrounded by land held within ecological reserves of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited, crown land, and other organic neighbours.  The 3000 acres of aspen forest, creeks, beaver ponds, pastures and farmland hold a rich diversity of both wildlife and wilderness, and domesticated species.

Organic since 1990 and WWOOF hosts for almost as long, the diverse ranch includes grass finished Belted Galloway cattle, Plains bison, free ranging chickens and turkeys, and their specialty, Berkshire pigs. They raise heritage breeds in a gentle environment from farrow to finish, outside and year-round. Dairy, you ask? The milk cows are close members of their family, supplying all their dairy needs.

About the Apprenticeship

First Nature Farms is a busy and diverse operation which produces high quality, organic meats for sales in Edmonton and Vancouver. This apprenticeship will teach skills in raising livestock organically which includes growing the grains, preparing feed rations, harvesting hay and caring for the animals from birth to packaged meat. The farm is a host to a diversity of projects, apprentices will also take part in other farm jobs such as milking cows, wood construction projects, metal working, gardening, machinery maintenance, firewood cutting and processing, cooking, among many others. Also, First Nature Farms is a hive of activity as WWOOFers from all over the world come to learn and spend time here. The farm is nestled within the boreal forest, and so there is endless opportunity to wildcraft medicinal herbs and mushrooms.

As part of the apprenticeship, you will meet with other apprentices across Alberta who are part of the Young Agrarians Apprenticeship program. Field days, learning opportunities and potlucks will be planned with this group at each host farm.

Skills this farm has to teach:

Many skills are being offered by this farm. Apprentices will work to identify the skills they want to develop and create a learning plan with the host farm. During the one year cycle of this farm, apprentices would be exposed to the following learning opportunities:

cattle: rotational grazing, health, moving, fencingequipment: operation, maintenance, repair safety
bison: feeding, managing, moving, corralling, ear taggingconstruction: wood, metal, welding, power tools, safety
low stress livestock handlingWinter Feeding & bale grazing
calving: signs, problems, managementVegetable production: gardening, seeding, maintenance, harvest
fencing: barbed wire, high tensile, portableFarm safety: do’s & don’ts, awareness
poultry: chickens, broilers, layers, turkeys, hatching, raising, slaughterpigs: housing, rotation, fencing, sorting, shelters, year-round farrowing, weaning, training


Housing, Stipend and Duration

All meals are eaten together with the host farm and WWOOFers/apprentices work together in meal preparation, clean up and maintenance of their living space. The meals consist of mostly organic ingredients and all meats are from First Nature Farms. Apprentices have private accommodation in the main log house or an adjacent cabin.

 A stipend pacakage is offered to offset living expenses such as concerts, junk food, beer, etc.  Serious interns are encouraged to spend one year to see the complete cycle of the farm.  Those that spend a year receive a bonus at the end of their stay and a calf, some chickens and a couple of pigs to get them started on their own farm.

About the Community
While the farm is a bustling place, many apprentices and WWOOFers love the surrounding rural Goodfare community. There are numerous neighborhood gatherings; celebrations and potlucks; campfires; educational workshops; and music concerts and festivals. Wilderness adventures await and include hiking, cross country skiing, fishing, canoeing, northern lights, wildlife sightings and star gazing.

First Nature Farms is located one hour west of Grande Prairie, nearing the border of British Columbia which lies 4 1/2 miles to the west.

Goodfare is the closest centre, 12 miles away, consisting of around 8 homes, a community hall, an outdoor hockey rink and a mail box. Beaverlodge and Hythe are also nearby and have all main services available.

First Nature Farms Galloway Beef

More Details about this Apprenticeship and How to Apply 

Deadline to Apply: January 31, 2023

Interested in an Apprenticeship but this isn’t quite the right one? Check out other Young Agrarians Alberta Apprenticeships being offered in 2023 here.