Agroforestry Apprenticeship Program

On-farm agroforestry training

 

In order to change the agricultural system in the Midwest, we need to train a new generation of agroforestry farmers.The Savanna Institute Apprenticeship Program is the only of its kind–providing experience and technical education for aspiring agroforestry farmers through on-farm training with a mentor farmer as well as community-building opportunities for farmers, apprentices, and those 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.

Are you ready to be part of this transformation?

On-farm, hands-on experience is hard to find for agroforestry enthusiasts. Our apprenticeships provide experience and technical education for aspiring agroforestry farmers through on-farm training with a mentor farmer as well as community-building opportunities for farmers, apprentices, and those interested in agroforestry.

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 do I become an apprentice?

To Apply: To be considered, please fill out the application indicating your top three host farms. Application packets will be processed and forwarded to each of the farms indicated in your application. 

DEADLINE: Application review begins February 2022 and will remain open until positions are filled, so apply ASAP if interested.

Interviews: 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.

Contact Michele 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.

    “This apprenticeship marked the beginning of my journey into learning the skills and art of growing food while regenerating the health of a landscape.”

    – Ethan S. about his apprenticeship at the North Shore Agroecology Center