YA Apprenticeship 2021: Grimshaw, AB – Nature’s Way Farm

Posted by Dana Penrice on January 08, 2021 1 Comment

Are you an aspiring farmer looking to gain skills and knowledge that match the ecological values you hold? Are you feeling the farming bug, but not quite ready to take the plunge and launch your own business? Peter and Mary Lundgard are excited to provide you with a meaningful apprenticeship experience in your path to becoming a farmer.

About the Farm

Nature’s Way Farm, a 640 acre farm close to the banks of the Peace River in northern Alberta. Covered by aspen, birch, spruce, pine, and willow shelter belts, this farm provides wildlife habitat for moose, deer, beaver, foxes, coyotes, grouse, partridge, and migratory birds. This farm includes a livestock operation with cattle, sheep, pigs, dairy cattle and a farm garden. It also operates an alfalfa seed and leaf cutter bee operation. The farm is certified organic and certified humane.

Photo: Rianna 2017 Nature's Way Farm Apprentice
Nature’s Way Farm Apprentice – Rianna – making hay

About the Apprenticeship

Through this one-year (period of 8 months from April 21st until December 21st possible) apprenticeship, you will learn about grass-based farming, planned grazing of cattle, sheep and hogs, pasture calving, lambing and farrowing, animal nutrition and low stress livestock handling. Learn about seasonal grass-based dairy and dairy processing. An Agrarian Apprenticeship would be incomplete without learning about  soil building, including mineral balancing soil and making mineral rich compost.

Nature’s Way Farm will also expose you to Holistic Management, a framework used by many farmers to make socially, environmentally and ecologically sound decisions. The family also values traditional nutrition following the teachings of the Weston A. Price Foundation. From time to time, this farm also hosts WOOFers, interns and others coming to learn.

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 hosts farm. You will be provided with a learning fund to support travel or other learning opportunities you wish to pursue.  You will also be invited to attend the 2022 Organic Alberta Conference.

Peter giving the 2019 YA Apprenticeship cohort a lesson in soil testing

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.

livestock husbandry managing for soil fertility
livestock health compost making + application
low stress livestock handling direct marketing
milking food preservation
leaf cutter bee management Food self-sufficiency & gardening
 Grazing management operating farm equipment
forage seed production fencing
field crop production + harvest (baling silage + hay) carpentry

Housing, Stipend and Duration

Apprentices will live in a separate house that is furnished and includes appliances. A monthly stipend will be offered. This is a 1-Year Apprenticeship.

About the Community

The farm is close to the town of Peace River that has full services, shopping, indoor swimming pool, and community theatre. There is a campground just across the river accessible by ferry where locals go horseback riding, 4 wheel biking, hiking, and canoeing on the river. In the winter there is a ski hill and cross country skiing. The farm itself is close to Grimshaw, AB which is 172 km northeast of Grande Prairie (2 hr drive) and 512 km northwest of Edmonton (6 hr drive).

The farm is on Treaty 8 territory and the traditional and ancestral lands of Tsek’ehne (Sekani), Dane-Zaa (Beaver), Slavey, Nehiyawak (Cree), Saulteau, Denesuline (Chipewyan), and Métis Peoples. These communities have a deep relationship with this land based on, among other things, a spiritual connection and subsistence extending back thousands of years.

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 

Application now open – deadline February 15, 2021.

Interested in an Apprenticeship but this isn’t quite the right one? Check out other Young Agrarians Alberta Apprenticeships being offered in 2021 here. 

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