YA APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM – Meet MB Mentors Katie and Colin at The Dogs Run Farm

Posted by Sara Yagelniski on November 18, 2020

Are you an aspiring farmer, rancher or grazier looking to gain the hands-on skills and experience? Are you feeling like you’re not quite ready to start your own business yet but want to keep the dream moving along? The Dogs Run Farm is excited to offer a meaningful apprenticeship to help you on your farming journey.

About the Farm
Located on Treaty 1 territory

Colin and Katie McInnes have been farming since they moved from Winnipeg in March of 2013. Their farm near Clearwater, MB is their second location, and their permanent home. The farm encompasses just under twelve acres on a beautiful valley, with a small unnamed creek, or run, at the bottom, plus 37 acres of rented pasture. Their two farm dogs enjoy roaming the creek, which from a birds eye view resembles a dog’s head. This is how the farm got its name. Food is the most important thing in their lives. Since making the decision to farm, raising excellent quality food for themselves, their friends and family, and their customers as been their goal. Colin and Katie raise Dorper sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, laying hens, geese, miniature donkeys, a horse, as well as a few cats and their dogs. The grow a large garden for flowers and vegetables for their own consumption. They are always looking for ways to make their farm more efficient and their home more welcoming. They are motivated by commitments to regenerative agriculture, their community, and skills and knowledge that have been passed down through generations. They practice rotational grazing techniques, which helps lands to recover and improve in relationship with the animals it feeds. They purchase feed such as hay and grains from their neighbors, which helps to keep the local economy healthy, and insures that they know where their feed is coming from. The grain they purchase for pig and poultry feed comes from close neighbors who practice no-till, poly-cropping, and minimum input farming. They also enjoy practicing skills such as carpentry, canning, soap making, tapping Manitoba maples for syrup, and gathering food from the wild.


About the Apprenticeship

We are looking for someone to help with day to day operations of our farm. The position would include activities related to the commercial side of our operation as well as garden maintenance, food preservation, weeding, involvement in meal prep and clean-up. We are passionate about food, and maintaining the health of our family, animals, soil, and the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The prospective applicant would be welcomed into our family for the period of the internship, and would be considered a valued and integral member of our team. Our main on-farm enterprises are livestock for meat and eggs, including pigs, sheep, poultry, as well as hand made all-natural soap. Animal duties would include: moving pens and fencing for pasture on a regular basis, feeding and watering chores, loading and sorting of animals, poultry brooding care, assistance with lambing etc. In addition to these tasks, there would be opportunities for other construction and maintenance projects on farm, including fencing, small construction projects, repairs, etc. Apprentices would be encouraged to make time for self-directed projects specific to their own faming interests, if so desired.

Time-off can be negotiated to suit the weekly needs of the apprentice, the farm, and the season. Any lengths of time off would need to be negotiated in advance. We expect a minimum of five days or work per week.

Colin is in charge of animal care, design, construction, and implementation on the farm. He is the ‘Departments of Infrastructure, Acquisition, and Agriculture’. Katie is in charge of customer service, marketing, household upkeep, seed starting, and garden and food preservation. She is the ‘Departments of Finance, Homeland Security, and Human Resources’.

Both Colin and Katie plan, cook, and clean up after meals. The mentorship would be customized based on the interests of the apprentice, as well as the seasonal needs of the farm. They would work with both of us.

An intern would be expected to provide their own work clothing including: appropriate footwear for various seasons/weather situations, gloves, hat, work clothes, pocket knife etc.

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.

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.

FARROWING soap making
FENCING gardening

Housing, Stipend and Duration

A private room with double bed in the farmhouse. Access to separate bathroom/shower.

In-house laundry, Wi-Fi, household library. Opportunity to use vehicle (non-exclusive use) can be negotiated.

Meals would be shared with the family, or prepared by the apprentice with provided ingredients. We are an omnivorous household, which includes, meat, eggs, dairy, grains, etc and would be best suited to an apprentice without a restrictive diet. An intern with specific dietary ‘wants’ may need to provide their own ingredients.

$1000 per month for a stipend

4-6 months (April-October)

About the Community and Land
Treaty 1 territory and the land on which the farm is located is the home and traditional territory of Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.

The closest Indigenous community to the farm is Swan Lake First Nation.
Quoted from Swan Lake’s website:
Swan Lake First Nation Ojibway people are proud and prosperous. We are rich in culture and beliefs and have strong ties to our land.
Signatory to Treaty 1, Chief Yellowquill followers settled along Swan Lake in the Pembina Valley, better known as “Gaubiskiigamaug,” curve in the lake.

Clearwater is the nearest town to the farm. It has limited amenities however it is home to The Harvest Moon Festival and society. A food focused and agricultural town. In the heart of the prairie landscape and surrounded by oaks!

The farm is about 1.5 hours to Brandon and 2.5 hours to Winnipeg.

More Details about this Apprenticeship and How to Apply 

Deadline January 31st, 2021.

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

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