New York State: Stone Barns Center seeks Formal Gardens and Landscape 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.

Formal Gardens and Landscape Apprentice

The Formal Gardens and Landscape Apprentices will gain experience growing fruits, vegetables and herbs, and managing the landscape according to biological/organic principles.  They will also participate extensively in educational outreach with school groups, Farm Camp and the general public through their involvement in Center programs, events and markets.

The three Formal Gardens at Stone Barns Center are the Dooryard Garden (a mixed fruit, vegetable, herb and flower garden), the Courtyard Garden (a mix of ornamental and native flowers, grasses and shrubs), and an Herb.   The landscape includes more managed areas, such as the lawns, orchard, and the bee and woodland pond gardens, and less intensively managed areas that are dedicated to wildlife food and habitat.  This apprentice position is outdoors and involves working in all types of weather.

In addition to being exposed to the day-to-day operations of the gardens and landscape, 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 Formal Gardens and Landscape Apprentice include but are not limited to the following:

  • Growing and harvesting food, including herbs for both culinary and medicinal purposes
  • Creating habitat gardens
  • Engaging the public in the landscape
  • Promoting the health of the landscape in a way that increases biological diversity

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/gardener and an educator are prerequisites.  No prior gardening experience is required; however, applicants who have some background in gardening, food systems, landscaping 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 gardens 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 by March 15, 2011 to  Please be sure to specify Formal Gardens and Landscape Apprentice in the subject line.

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