New York State: Stone Barns Center seeks Summer Greenhouse 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.

Summer Greenhouse Apprentice

The Greenhouse operation at Stone Barns Center is a unique, innovative and diverse growing environment.  This ½ acre ecologically managed, soil-based system has been producing superior quality vegetables year-round since spring of 2004.  The intensively managed system challenges its growers to develop their skills and efficiencies and to understand the greenhouse potential as it relates to the whole farm.

Through organized and methodical practice, the Summer Greenhouse Apprentice will gain the skills necessary to advance as a greenhouse grower. As the Apprentice proceeds through the 6-month course, he or she will accumulate responsibilities in order to understand the greater intricacies of labor, economics and maintenance of the structure.

In addition to being exposed to the day-to-day operations of the greenhouse, 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 of 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 Summer Greenhouse Apprentice include but are not limited to the following:

  • Weekly soil preparation
  • Seeding and transplanting
  • Harvesting and other horticultural activities
  • Learning to work with tools and systems to support healthy and long-term resilience in the greenhouse
  • Tracking greenhouse production
  • Monitoring the system’s efficiency and quality
  • Understanding the greater intricacies of labor, economics and maintenance of the structure

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 greenhouse 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.  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
There are two course opportunities offered for this Apprenticeship Program.  The early season course will begin in May and finish in November.  The application deadline for the early course is April 1, 2011. The late season course runs from June and finishes in December. .  The application deadline for the late course is May 2, 2011.


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