Agroforestry Apprenticeship Program

On-farm agroforestry training

Savanna Institute’s Apprenticeship Program is a one-of-a-kind experience, providing technical education for aspiring agroforestry farmers through on-farm training with mentor farms. Apprentices also take online coursework and have community-building opportunities with farmers, other apprentices, and more interested in agroforestry. We strive to support all participants to ensure program accessibility and support to historically marginalized and low income groups through diversity, equity, and inclusion training to mentor farmers and through paid apprentice employment. Because training days are open to the public, apprentices also begin to become acquainted with the network of farmers and businesses that will become a crucial support for their work when they begin farming on their own.

Apprenticeships are available on a rolling basis. Apply now for the 2024 Season!

On-farm experience is hard to find for beginning agroforesters. Our Apprenticeship Program provides experience and technical education for aspiring farmers with mentor farms across seven Midwestern states.

Benefits of becoming an apprentice


  • What you will learn: Each apprentice will come away with a unique experience based on their host farm. In addition to on-farm mentoring, educational topics may include: perennial crop establishment, management, and harvest; farm planning and decision-making; equipment maintenance; product marketing; farm/tree finance, and more. You’ll also take our Beginning Farmer Online Course.
  • Duration: Timing and duration is dependent on the needs of the host farm and the availability of the apprentice. On-farm experiences are at a minimum 10 weeks (part-time or full-time), and can be longer.
  • Location: All participating mentors are located in the Midwest; all people able to work in the US are encouraged to apply.
  • Pay, room and board: Payment and benefits vary by host farm. See the Benefits section in the Host Farm Descriptions for more information.
  • Additional activities: In addition to the online course materials and on-farm experience, apprentices participate in monthly cohort calls; write a reflection about their on-farm experience, and participate and attend local field days.

How to Apply


  • Fill out the application and indicate your top three choices for host farms. The Savanna Institute will forward your application to our partners at the three host farms selected. Application review begins January 15, 2024 and will continue on a rolling basis until positions are filled.
  • Mentor farmers will interview their top choices and offer a position to their final selection; apprentices can decline this offer for any reason. Our goal is for a good mentor-apprentice fit! Interviews may happen as early as February, or may continue into the spring, depending on the farm and timing required.

Email us at [email protected] with questions or for more information.

Urban Agroforestry Training Programs: A Joint Report

Over the fall of 2021, Big River Farms, a representative from an emerging Black land trust, Dream of Wild Health, Pillsbury United Communities, and the Savanna Institute held four meetings to discuss the big questions, needs, and costs associated with developing an agroforestry focused urban apprenticeship program. Together, we created a blueprint for establishing an urban agroforestry training program.

Shower Goats and Arctic Kiwis with Xinyuan Shi

Xinyuan joins Savanna Institute’s podcast, Perennial AF, to talk about her work with silvopasture and riparian buffers..

Bill Davison standing under a tree

Sponsor an Apprentice!

Your gift could provide experience and technical education for aspiring farmers through on-farm training with a mentor farmer and community building opportunities for farmers, apprentices, and those interested in incorporating trees on farmland.