New York State: Stone Barns Center seeks Field Apprentice

1 Mar
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a non-profit farm and education center located just 25 miles north of Manhattan in Pocantico Hills, New York.  Stone Barns operates an 80-acre four-season farm and is working on broader initiatives to create a healthy and sustainable food system.  Through our Growing Farmers Initiative, children’s education programs, and diverse public awareness programs, we aim to improve the way America eats and farms.

The Apprenticeship Program at Stone Barns is a focal point of our mission and is a unique educational experience.

Field Apprentice

Field vegetables at Stone Barns are grown intensively throughout the year using appropriate season extension technologies.  Field Apprentices learn how to grow a diversity of high quality vegetables by developing an understanding of how to manage soils to increase biological activity, utilize mineral content, build organic matter and maximize plant health.  The Field Apprentices participate with a team that includes the Four Season Farm staff, interns, campers and volunteers on a 5½ acre growing space that produces vegetables for our partner Blue Hill restaurant and our own Farm Market.  (Revenues from these endeavors, in turn, support our farm operations and educational programs.)

In addition to being exposed to the day-to-day operations of the field production, all Stone Barns apprentices are introduced to a holistic agricultural curriculum that includes weekly readings, classes and participation in the Hudson Valley Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program.

A typical week includes a combination 35 hours of independent field-based work and hands-on instruction plus five hours of classroom time.

What You Will Learn

The hands-on experiences for the Field Apprentice include but are not limited to the following:

  • Pruning & Mulching techniques
  • Organizing/cropping plans
  • Preparing/planting beds
  • Soil amending
  • Direct seeding
  • Transplanting
  • Weed control
  • Harvesting
  • Irrigating
  • Seed saving
  • Processing and marketing of over 100 varieties of vegetables.

All Farm Apprentices also participate extensively in Stone Barns Center’s educational outreach with school groups, Farm Camp and the general public.  Apprentices take part in public tours, occasional farm markets (on and off site), and Center-wide activities such as Harvest Fest, Sheep Shearing Day, and the Young Farmers Conference, as well as other special weekend events on the farm.
Requirements for Admission

A commitment to learning about healthy and sustainable food systems and passion for developing as a farmer and an educator are prerequisites.  No prior farming experience is required; however, applicants who have some background in farming, food systems, or experiential education are preferred.  Additional prerequisites include a positive attitude, a desire to learn to function as a member of a team and the ability to be outside in adverse weather conditions.

The Program is generally presented from Monday through Friday for a period of 6 months and includes 35 hours per week of hands-on experience in the Field and 5 hours per week of classroom time and assigned readings and farm field trips to other farms in our region (May-October).  A monthly stipend of $1,250.00 will be provided.  No housing is provided for this apprenticeship opportunity.

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter explaining why you want to participate in this program and what you hope to learn from it.  Please also include a summary of the experiences you have had that you think are relevant to your participation in the Program.  Your application package should be submitted to

There are two course opportunities offered for this Apprenticeship Program.  The early season course runs from mid-April through October.  The application deadline for the early course is March 15, 2011.   The late season course runs from late June through November.  The application deadline for the late course is May 2, 2011.  Please specify which course you prefer in your application.

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