By Sera Deva
Organic Growers School (OGS), a premier provider of organic education in Western North Carolina, has re-launched a database profiling farms looking for apprentices. Apprentice Link was originally established in 2010, but a grant given to OGS in the winter of 2016 from Simply Organic 1% Fund enabled a redesign of the program, making it user-friendly.
The aim of Apprentice Link is to connect folks who are serious about learning the sustainable farming trade with farmers who are willing to teach them. Depending on the farm, compensation—from hourly wages to room and board and education—may be offered in exchange for farm work. The listing helps potential applicants find farms that are compatible with their farm training needs.
“There are many national and regional databases that offer similar services, but Apprentice Link offerings stand apart,” says Cameron Farlow, Farmer Program director at OGS. “The farms listed are vetted through an extensive application process, requiring that listed farms are actively engaged in the local community, using organic and/or sustainable production methods, and are dedicated to training new farmers by providing education as a pinnacle element of their apprenticeship program.”
A reference requirement takes previous apprentice experience into account. Both consumer and employee references are posted publicly on the farm’s profile, furthering community accountability and providing applicants with resources to help them make an informed decision when accepting farm positions.
The program focuses on WNC farms that participate in Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT), another farmer training program offered through Organic Growers School. A free service, Apprentice Link also doubles as The OGS Farm Network, geared towards consumers looking for sustainable, locally produced food. Learn more at organicgrowersschool.org/apprentice-link.
Sera Deva is the Farmer Program associate at OGS. She lives in a tiny home in Celo, NC, where she spends her time cooking and growing food.