Apprentice Food for Thought
Ask Tom (Organic Growers School): Information on how to find an apprenticeship in WNC, as well as general things to look for when looking for farm work. Written by a CRAFT farmer and OGS board member.
Choosing an Apprenticeship (Organic Growers School): Individual testimony of an apprentice experience on a farm in WNC.
Finding a Farm Apprenticeship (Civil Eats): Basic information you should know before committing to a season on a farm. Good things to consider when looking for farm work.
One Path to Farming: An Apprentice Reflection (Organic Growers School): A couple’s journey on finding farming as their passion and working on a farm in WNC.
Department of Labor Directory of Fact Sheets: Includes information on agricultural tax exemptions and labor laws. Especially useful is fact sheet #12 (The FLSA for Agricultural Employers) and fact sheet #49 (The Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act).
IRS: Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee?: Helps determine how to classify workers for legal employment on your farm.
Meeting Prospective Apprentices: Guidelines for Farmers (Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association): Tips on interviewing and vetting prospective apprentices.
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA): A great overall resource, ATTRA also offers a simple farm internship and mentoring handbook, complete with a laid our curriculum.
New England Small Farm Institute: Print and online resources for organizing mentorship on the small farm, as well as teacher training resources. Also, legal resources specifically oriented to farming in the North East. The “On Farm Workstays” document highlights workstays conducted in 2008 in the Northeast.
Structuring Labor on the Small Farm (Organic Growers School, revised 2016): Chalked full of legal information regarding labor on the small North Carolinian farm.
Farm Work and Farm Worker Databases (South East)
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s (ASAP) Classifieds: Post and search for jobs in ASAP’s 60-county region (including NC, VA, SC, GA, and TN.) Note that these are not specifically organic farms, but any farm in these regions.
Apprentice Link (Organic Growers School): Connecting those interested in learning the sustainable agriculture trade with people willing to teach them in an apprenticeship setting. Specific to the Southern Appalachians.
Blue Ridge Collaborative Regional Alliance of Farmer Training (CRAFT): Through Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, a listing of both paid and unpaid positions within the WNC CRAFT network.
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA): Farm work organized by region through all of North Carolina.
Farm Work and Farm Worker Databases (North East)
North East Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Apprentice & Farmworker Directory: “The Apprentice & Farm Worker Program helps to connect farms with individuals interested in working and learning about organic farm systems. Vermont farms offer exciting learning opportunities about organic production methods either through structured learning experiences or general farm work.”
North East Workers on Organic Farms (NEWOOF): “NEWOOF is a regional Farm Apprenticeship Placement Service. Sponsored by the New England Small Farm Institute, and coordinated from their offices in Massachusetts, NEWOOF annually publishes an annotated list of farms (generally in the Northeast) seeking apprentices. The list is made available to interested workers who are responsible for contacting the farm(s) of their choice, and directly arranging for interviews.”
Farm Work and Farm Worker Databases (North West)
Rogue Farm Corps: Positions specifically in the Portland Metro, Central, South Willamette, and Rogue Valley portions of Oregon.
Farm Work & Workers Databases (National)
Beginning Farmers: “Beginningfarmers.org seeks to be a resource for employers and job seekers alike. In addition to offering job posting services, we want to connect job seekers to as many resources as possible that can help in the job search.”
Comfoodjobs listserv: You must subscribe to become a member of this listserv, and be forewarned: you will receive at least ten emails each day with work opportunities from all over the country. Free to post jobs for people who are subscribed.
Farm-Based Education Network (FBEN): “The FBEN is a free member network established to strengthen and support the work of educators, farmers, and community leaders who provide access and experiences of all kinds on working farms. The FBEN is a program administered by Shelburne Farms and supported by regional groups, network advisers, and founding partners who co-coordinate many of the outreach and program activities of the Network. FBEN Members receive electronic newsletters, and can share events, jobs and resources through our Ning social site.”
Good Food Jobs: More of a general food work database, “Good Food Jobs is a job search engine designed to link people in search of meaningful food work with the businesses that need their energy, enthusiasm, and intellect. We are dedicated to changing the world, one hard worker at a time.”
Greenhorns: Open job posting page within the general website. “The Greenhorns is a non-traditional grassroots non-profit organization made up of young farmers and a diversity of collaborators. Our mission is to recruit, promote and support the new generation of young farmers. We do this by producing avant-garde programming, video, audio, web content, publications, events, and art projects that increase the odds for success and enhance the profile and social lives of America’s young farmers.”
Local Harvest: Though not actually a work site specifically, many local farms are listed by region. If you’re looking for work in a specific area, it may be worth exploring and contacting farms of interest directly.
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA): “ATTRA is a program developed and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) … Its programs deal with sustainable and renewable energy, energy conservation, resource-efficient housing, sustainable community development, and sustainable agriculture.” ATTRA has a database of farming internship opportunities organized by state.
Orion Magazine Jobs: “Grassroots jobsource” nationally in education, conservation, agriculture, sustainability, outreach.
Sustainable Agriculture Jobs & Apprenticeships (facebook group): Closed group, must join to post and view (facebook account required.)
Farm Work and Workers Databases (International)
HelpX: “HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.”
Idealist: “Idealist is all about connecting idealists – people who want to do good – with opportunities for action and collaboration. With more than 100,000 organizations and 1.4 million monthly visitors to our English, Spanish (idealistas.org), and French (idealiste.org) sites, Idealist helps people move from intention to action all over the world.” Some farm opportunities are posted on this site.
Multinational Exchange in Sustainable Agriculture (MESA): “Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) connects sustainable farming leaders around the world for participatory training and cross-cultural exchange to strengthen local, resilient food systems worldwide. Since 1997, MESA has connected over 1200 farmers, activists and advocates and helped start nearly 130 small-scale farms and food justice projects worldwide.”
World Wide Oportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF): Although many amazing WWOOFing opportunities exist, please be wary when using this resource. Your body and time are valuable; be sure you are getting compensated fairly for the work that you do. This is an online database of internships and volunteer opportunities on organic farms across the world. Visiting and working on farms is a great way to travel and see a different side of another county or state.
Contact Sera, Farmer Programs Associate
OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and funding in part by Carolina Farm Credit, Community Foundation of WNC, CLIF Bar Family Foundation, French Broad Food Co-op, New Belgium Brewing, Organic Valley - Farmers Advocating for Organic Farming, Simply Organic 1%, and by the USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, Grant #2016-70017-25341. Read more about Farmer Programs' Funding Partners here.