Become an apprentice at Common Hands Farm for the Season
Our farm strives to be an epicenter for new farmer training, and is well suited for aspiring farmers who are interested in learning how a farm enterprise works, developing their sensitivity to what the land needs, and learning to be valuable players in their agricultural community.
We offer two programs for young farmers and take applications on a rolling basis:
Spring Apprenticeship & Fall Apprenticeship with the possibility of a full-season apprenticeship that combines the two.
Ideally we would like apprentices to stay full season from April-November, but we understand that not everyone can commit to that. For this reason, we’ve designed our program in two phases. The spring phase of the apprenticeship begins in April with a 6-week long educational program. The fall phase begins in August and focuses mostly in on the job training, with some biodynamic lessons. Even if we are in the midst of a farming season, we encourage anyone who’s interested to learn about farming to apply.
This is our 8th year taking a group of beginning farmers on a journey through every aspect of a farm season, learning to think, act and work like a farmer. This program requires a dedication to living the lifestyle of a farmer and become accustomed to the many demands inherent to this profession, while working and learning alongside experienced farmers.
The apprenticeship is an intensive yet rewarding development of oneself in regards to nature and the surrounding world. This often involves shedding prior beliefs in favor of a more holistic worldview and a renewed sense of the Human being’s role in nature and our planet. Some of the topics we discuss and learn include:
- Introduction and Brief History of Agriculture
- Core Principles behind Sustainable and Regenerative Farming
- Biodynamic Agriculture Styles
- Introduction to Permaculture Principles and Design
- Greenhouse Management and Planting Skills
- Soil and Plant Growth Science
- Holistic Farmland Management
- Plant Species and Breeding
- Cover-Cropping and Crop Rotations
- Introduction to Farm Equipment
- Introductory Grazing and Animal Management
- Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Community Models
Throughout the season we do labor trades with neighboring organic farms, we take some field trips to broaden our agricultural horizons, and we participate in as many local learning opportunities as possible.
Apprentices who stay for a full season must understand that the work can be hard at times and demand all of your time and energy for a number of weeks at the peak of the season. We expect all of our full season apprentices to commit to the seasons entirety which ends the week before Thanksgiving. We allow for some time off throughout the season, but the nature of farming is that one must be present for most of the peak season, saving the big rest and recoup for the end of the year when the work is done. As a group we plan our time-off so that we are never short-handed in the field.
Enhancing soil through bed prep and fertilization, cover-cropping, and building soil humates.
Making biodynamic compost
Soil cultivation, weeding and weed control
Everything, from planting seeds to harvesting healthy vegetables
Managing pests and diseases
Irrigation and water management
Processing, handling, and distributing produce
Processing orders for local restaurants and retailers,
Packaging, bunching, and storage methods
Delivering and shipping
Creating healthy community
Attending at least 1 of our 5 weekly farmers markets as well as providing high quality produce with lots of options to our CSA members, and interacting with our consumer base on how to prepare their food, and how to eat well
Season long apprentices must be honest, open, respectful, driven and have a serious full-time dedication to learning farming. You must be ready to work hard and keep a positive attitude. A farm season is a marathon of sorts, and nobody completes it without being a completely transformed individual who is ready to meet any challenge with competency and newfound skills. If farming is for you, this experience will renew and refresh you.
How to apply
If our farm and our learning programs seem to be right for you, and you would like to be a part of what we are creating and growing, we look forward to hearing from you, and hearing about you.
We are looking for people who are serious about learning to farm, and are considering having, or running a farm of their own someday. Moreover, we are looking for people who are passionate about regenerating the earth through new forms of agriculture, and new forms of community engagement.
We do not expect that you have a full season farming experience prior, but you must have at least one short term, or part time farming experience in the past.
To apply, please send:
A current and brief resume
A personal cover letter about you that incorporates the following questions:
- We want to know what drives you to farm, and what your goals are with the apprenticeship.
- We are interested to know about your past work experience, and how you would bring your own skills and passions to your work on our farm.
- Tell us about your past farming experiences and what you learned from them. Reflecting on these experiences, why would you choose our farm as your next venture?
- How do you relate to the communities you live and work in?
- Do you share space well with others?
- How do you see yourself in a peer-run learning/housing situation?
- Tell us a bit about your work ethic. What are your strengths and weaknesses in general work environment?
- If able, name any specific skills you feel would benefit our farm or community.
- Do you have experience cooking and preparing food for large groups of people?
- Do you have experience with biodynamic farming? If you are unfamiliar with it, look it up and tell us a little bit about what you think of the idea.
We look forward to hearing from you and building a strong, caring, and co creative team!
You can email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill it all out below: