Are you an aspiring farmer looking to gain experience on a certified organic market garden farm? Are you wanting to learn about growing over 50 varieties of veggies?! Grey Arrow Farm is offering an apprenticeship at their slice of farming paradise; join their team!
About the Farm
Grey Arrow Farm is a young family farm. Andrea and Denis, along with their five children, are growing clean, healthy produce for their CSA, restaurants, and community in Camrose, Alberta. They grow approximately 55 types of vegetables and herbs over 2.5 acres of cultivated land on their beautiful 35 acre oasis in the Alberta prairies. They are situated on a serene lake, with paths and forest groves, and a Saskatoon berry orchard to enjoy. Their farm is just a 10 minutes drive to Camrose and a 45 minute drive to the city of Edmonton. They are partnered with a number of local artisan coffee shops and businesses (in both Camrose and Edmonton) where they distribute their produce bundles to their members each week. They have developed our program over the last four years to be an invested local food experience.
About the Apprenticeship
From Andrea and Denis:
“Our goal at Grey Arrow Farm is to steward the land, cultivate connection, inspire a love for good food, and to feed our local community. We are grateful we get to do so!”
An apprentice (single or a couple) would be an integral part of the farm— a constant contributor alongside Andrea and Denis during the farm season (6 month season) in the field and all daily operations.
The apprentice would work alongside Andrea and Denis, receiving training and helping to accomplish:
- prepping the fields
- applying compost teas and organic preparations
- seeding and transplanting
- laying tarps and irrigation
- helping put up high tunnels (makeshift greenhouses)
- trellising + pruning -weeding (using hoes, hands, small machinery, and flame; sometimes -working alone, sometimes alongside Andrea and Denis and the kids/other employees)
- harvesting produce
- washing, packing produce
- curing vegetables for storage
- field cleanup at the end of growing season
- harvesting, packing up, and storing vegetables for the winter
As this is a CSA farm, apprentice will also be helping directly with the CSA program, which involves:
- packing weekly veggie boxes
- assisting with drop-offs
- assisting in hosting weekly Garden Time evenings with CSA members. Members come and get their hands dirty in the garden for 3 hours, learning how their food is grown, and helping to conquer the workload (having confidence, enthusiasm, and being sociable are necessary elements because of this on Grey Arrow Farm!)
Additional tasks that may be required:
- tractor mowing around the farm
- helping with property upkeep
Bonus additions Andrea and Denis are happy to teach if apprentice has interest in learning:
- Farm marketing
- developing a customer base
- on-boarding your community
- Creating a kick-ass CSA program
- Networking and creating partnerships to further your farm
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’s farm. You will also be invited to attend the 2022 Organic Alberta Conference.
About the Farm Mentors:
Meet Denis and Andrea. Farmers, food lovers, parents of five (aged 9-16). Denis grew up on an organic vegetable farm and has long held a passion for stewarding the land and growing good food for good people. Andrea joined him in his passion, marrying in her own love of photography, marketing, design, influencing, and hospitality. Together they started Grey Arrow Farm (in 2016) and continue to enjoy growing and cultivating it into a staple farm in their community.
The main mentor on the farm would be Denis, though both Andrea and Denis work the farm and are skilled with all the jobs around the property. Primary roles on the farm are:
Denis- Head farmer, Field + operations manager, Garden Time coordinator
Andrea- Office administrator, Farm marketing + partnerships, CSA program coordinator, Customer relations, Content creator.
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.
|Certified organic vegetable production||market gardening|
|garden + field prep||DIRECT MARKETING – csa/restaurants|
|compost tea + organic preparations||harvesting/washing/packing produce|
|seeding + transplanting||winter vegetable storage|
|irrigation||winter field preparation|
|building + growing in high tunnels||tractor operation|
|trellising + pruning||Weeding using hands/hand tools/small machinery|
Housing, Stipend and Duration
This is a 6 month apprenticeship, beginning in May and wrapping up in October.
Apprentices will reside in a cozy, cabin-style bunkhouse on the property. Solar powered cabin features two loft beds, relaxed + comfortable seating, soft lighting, dining nook, kitchen area, shelves for storage, with beautiful front porch views looking out at the lake, and tree-lined garden. Clean compostable toilet outhouse is just a few steps from the cabin. Cooking will be done camping style, with propane stove and burner. Equipment, dishes, and supplies are provided for you. You are free to enjoy the lovely garden produce during your time here, and invited to join in some shared meals with the family as well.
Apprentice will receive a stipend.
Drivers licence (may be required to drive the delivery van from time to time)
Able to be friendly/sociable with confidence + enthusiasm (for leading weekly small groups of CSA members in simple garden tasks— don’t worry, you will be trained first!)
Able to work independently
About the Community
Life itself on Grey Arrow Farm is relaxed and peaceful, even when labouring out in the sunshine. Morning kayaks, evening campfires, incredible sunsets, and plenty of space to roam and enjoy makes it easy to feel like you have found yourself in a small paradise.
The town of Camrose, (located 10 minute drive away), is fully serviced and brimming with amenities— lovely parks with beautiful walking trails (cross-country skiing in the winter), shopping + grocery stores, library, movie theatre, restaurants, local coffee shops, swimming pool/rec centre (skating rink), boutique shopping, and UofA university campus.
Camrose hosts two large festivals each summer:
AUGUST—‘Big Valley Jamboree’ (Renowned country music festival featuring some of Nashville’s biggest stars)
JUNE—‘Jaywalkers Jamboree’ (A two day festival that transforms downtown Camrose into a hopping hub of street foods, fair rides, music and entertainment. Alberta’s oldest outdoor fair!)
The city of Edmonton is a 45 minute drive from the farm, with even more amenities, arts, festivals, entertainment, shopping, and food experiences to take in. Denis and Andrea can offer plenty of recommendations for things to see and do!
This farm is located on Treaty 6 land. Andrea and Denis aim to take care of the land in a way that recognizes the value the land has to them, others that have used the land before them, and those that may use the land after. They feel blessed to be located on the land they are on and feel the responsibility to be the caretakers of it.
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.
Deadline January 31, 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.