YA Apprenticeship 2022: Fort Saskatchewan, AB – Sundog Organic Farm

Posted by Kolby Peterson on December 27, 2019

Are you an aspiring farmer looking to gain experience on a vegetable farm? Are you interested in learning organic farming management? Sundog Organic Farm is offering a unique apprenticeship; join their team!

About the Farm

Both Jenny and James have a heritage of market gardening that extends to their families in the Netherlands.  Farming is literally in their blood!  Sundog Organic Farm (est. 2009) started out on the Vriend Organic Farm land and after two years there, moved to its current location in Sturgeon County, near the Sturgeon river. James and Jenny now have one dog, three boys, twelve hens, fourteen acres, and five hundred rubbermaid bins! As a certified organic farm, you will learn the principles of organic market gardening as well as gain experience in direct marketing as James and Jenny move their produce through The Organic Box and at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers market.

Our farming practices begin with respect for the soil. Soil covers only a small part of the earth, and what we have has been built up over millennia to become the life-supporting substrate that we can grow food in. It is teeming with organisms, all of which work together to become a nutrient-dense matter that supports plant life (along with sun and water). We work together with these elements to grow vital foods for our customers and our family. We seek to farm with a balance of efficiency and sustainability. We farm on a small scale; this leads to less reliance on large-scale equipment as well as increased human interaction with soil and plants.

About the Apprenticeship

An apprentice on this farm will work alongside James or Jenny, and sometimes with other staff or independently as experience permits. The apprentice would participate in all levels of market gardening from planting (seeds in the greenhouse, seeds in the field, transplanting both mechanically and by hand), weeding and cultivating (with hand tools), to harvesting a wide array of crops from carrots, beets and potatoes to herbs, lettuces, broccoli, beans and more, as well as washing, packaging and selling produce in a farmers’ market setting.

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 also be invited to attend the 2022 Organic Alberta Conference.

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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 with the host farm to identify the skills they want to develop and create a learning plan.

MARKET GARDENING DIRECT MARKETING
Crop planning WHOLESALE MARKETING
crop varieties organic certification
WEED MANAGEMENT GREEN HOUSE MANAGEMENT
POST HARVEST HANDLING SOIL FERTILITY / NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT

Requirements of the Apprentice

The apprentice must be willing to work hard, to be curious and to remain inquisitive. A  vehicle will be necessary to drive to and from the farm.

Housing, Stipend, and Duration

Housing will be off farm and apprentices are responsible for  finding their own housing. Fort Saskatchewan is just a few minutes away.  A stipend will be paid depending on length of stay and expertise. You will work alongside other staff and employees. This apprenticeship is 6-8 months – beginning late May and going until late October.

About the Community

For Saskatchewan is a hop, skip, and a jump from Sundog Organic Farm and has full services. It is 45 minutes away from Edmonton.

The farm is on Treaty 6 territory and the traditional and ancestral lands of Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/ Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, and Inuit 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 

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS. Apply by February 15th, 2022. 

Interested in an Apprenticeship but this isn’t quite the right one? Check out other Young Agrarians Prairie Apprenticeships being offered in 2022 here. 

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