Are you an aspiring farmer looking to gain experience on a diversified farm, learning about market gardening and raising mixed livestock? Join Becky and John for a farming apprenticeship at Stonepost Farms.
About the Farm
John and Becky Doherty purchased what is now Stonepost Farms in 2016 and have been busily expanding their farm business since. They raise an impressive assortment of livestock, including chickens, laying hens, pigs, cows, turkeys, and the tiniest of them all – honeybees. They also grow veggies for markets and a CSA program. It’s a happening place! John and Becky are continually seeking ways to integrate the inspiration they take from the regenerative farming movement and put it into practice on their farm. People they follow include Allan Savory, Gabe Brown, Joel Salatin, Jean-Martin Fortier, and Elliot Coleman, among others.
About the Apprenticeship
Stonepost Farms consists of John, Becky and their two young children – Cadence and Keagan. It is a busy and diverse operation which serves surrounding communities high quality food. This apprenticeship will teach skills in direct marketing diverse food products via farmers markets and a CSA program. On the farm, this includes all aspects of gardening, such as starting plants, garden prep, transplanting, weeding, watering, pruning, and harvesting, both in the field and the greenhouse. The apprentice will learn about the care and management required for the various livestock living at Stonepost Farms, which will include spring calving, rotational grazing of cows, putting pigs out to pasture, moving chicken tractors, honeybee hive checks and honey extraction, animal processing, haymaking, and of course, all the troubleshooting that goes hand-in-hand with farming!
The apprentice will be helping with all farm chores, but activities can be tailored to the apprentice’s interests. Becky will be the main mentor and is full-time on the farm. John currently works off-farm and will be a secondary mentor to the apprentice.
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.
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.
|NUTRIENT DENSE FOOD PRODUCTION||market gardening|
|COMMUNITY SUPPORT AGRICULTURE MODEL||DIRECT MARKETING|
|FARMERS MARKET SALES||Greenhouse management|
|ROTATIONAL Grazing||Mixed livestock husbandry|
|EGG PRODUCTION||animal processing|
Housing, Stipend and Duration
Housing will be on-farm in a renovated camper. The downstairs of the farmhouse has a full bathroom and living room area available for the apprentice to use. Internet, laundry, and a growing farm library will be accessible. Meals are eaten together with the Doherty family, with as many ingredients from the farm as possible. Stonepost will offer a stipend depending on length of stay and expertise. This apprenticeship is 4-6 months.
About the Community
“When we talk about land, land is part of who we are. It’s a mixture of our blood, our past, our current, and our future. We carry our ancestors in us, and they’re around us. As you all do.” Mary Lyons (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe)
We would like to acknowledge the longstanding history of the land we now reside and to understand our role on the current landscape. Stonepost Farms resides on the traditional lands of the Cree, Michif Piyii (Mētis), Tsuu T’ina and Stoney; to the north the Kelly Lake Mētis Settlement Society; to the west the Niitsipiis-stahkoii (Blackfoot/Niitsitapi); to the south the traditional lands of the ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ ᐊᐢᑭᕀ Nêhiyaw-Askiy (Plains Cree); and to the west the Asebuwuche Winewak. The languages of these territories includes but is not limited to ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ (Nēhiyawēwin) Plains Cree, ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ (Nēhiyawēwin), and Nakota ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ (Nēhiyawēwin); to the southeast is Anishinaabe (Ojibwe). In 1876, with colonization, Treaty No.6 was signed which encompasses these territories; it was signed on August 23, 1876 at Fort Carlton in Saskatchewan and stretches from western Alberta, through Saskatchewan and into Manitoba; including 50 First Nations. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that Stonepost Farms is located on the traditional territories of the peoples of Treaty 6 and the Metis Settlements and Metis Nation of Alberta, Regions 2, 3 and 4.
Our farm land is cleared and mostly consists of pasture, it was traditionally forested but was long ago cleared with some of the first non-indigenous settlers to the area. These lands were unfairly taken away from its stewards and its peoples forced to what are referred to as reservations with defined boundaries. The traditional lands on which we now reside on and the larger area around us was used for but were not limited to hunting, fishing, trapping, harvesting of plants including berries and herbal medicines, as well as ceremonial uses. Although we are not able to turn back time, it is our intention to learn from these stewards, to seek knowledge on how to do better by the land on which we are on, and to spread what we have learned.
We know we are privileged and we are here to learn and grow, to understand what our role is. We believe it is important to understand the past, we know we cannot go back and correct history, but we can acknowledge that what was done was not right and can seek to help mend and build a resilient community where we are all treated equally, where we can learn from each other, to honour each other. We recognize our many blessings.
We feel so fortunate to be here, on traditional Treaty 6 land, growing and learning from this land and all she has to offer. We give honor, respect, and dignity to our lands everyday and our only hope is to give back. We at Stonepost Farms hope we can change the future through continuous learning, listening, and sharing. We welcome anyone to come visit; share your stories, we love to hear from you.
Be sure to check out Stonepost Farms on social media and the world wide web!
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.