2020 Sustainable Agriculture Apprenticeship Program

Agroecology Education Apprenticeship

  • Apprentice Location: Raleigh NC State Campus and Agroecology Education Farm (AEF)
  • Mentor: Liz Driscoll
  • Start Date: Start date is in March or May 2020, for a duration of 6 or 9 months.
  • Apply now!

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and North Carolina 4-H seek a highly-motivated individual interested in pursuing a career in agricultural education to participate in a paid hands-on work and study apprenticeship program in agroecology education. The apprenticeship will last for 6 or 9 months and participants can start in March or May 2020.

Overview of apprentice experience: With the growing number of jobs that are associated with farms, community gardens, school gardens and related education programs, this apprenticeship will provide an individual with skills in sustainable and organic horticultural production, as well as experience developing, delivering, and documenting various educational and Extension outreach programs for diverse audiences. Our focus is on the balance of education and food production, while developing lesson plans and workshops for the farm and other agricultural education programs. The apprentice will shadow the AEF farm manager but will also work collaboratively with the NC State Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Youth Specialist to develop curriculum and workshops for youth, community members, and farm visitors. In addition to gaining foundational knowledge and skills of organic horticultural production, there will be field trips to local farms, restaurants, and community gardens during the program for a holistic educational experience.

Additionally, the apprentice will develop a special project of their choosing focused on both farm programming and education/curriculum in an aspect of agroecology, sustainable, or organic agriculture.

Farm workday

Overview of Agroecology Farm: The Agroecology Education Farm (AEF) is a 6-acre teaching farm near NC State’s main campus in Raleigh, NC. The AEF also functions as a satellite facility for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). We are dedicated to providing a variety of experiential learning opportunities in agroecology, sustainable, and organic agriculture to various students and the surrounding urban community. Currently, there are 1.5 acres in production, primarily for horticultural crops (fruits and vegetables). In collaboration with NC State Dining and chefs, everything produced on the farm goes to NC State dining halls, with the goal of extending the educational opportunities back to the plate.  While the farm is producing year round in the field and hoop house, we collaborate with various NC State faculty, dining chefs, and surrounding community partners to provide a wide range of educational experiences.

What specific skills are required for this position? While previous farming experience is not required, it’s important that the apprentice has a genuine interest and enthusiasm for agricultural education, as well as interest in holistic sustainable agriculture and small-scale production systems. Must also be a clear communicator, have a good attitude, able to work with diverse individuals, work independently when needed, able to perform farm work outside under various/adverse environmental conditions (cold, heat, humidity, rain, pollen), and able to lift 45 pounds.  

What does an average week look like? What might an apprentice encounter during this time? Generally, 40 hours a week with occasional weekend work expected. An average work week may include all types of farm work, as well as teaching high schoolers about plant propagation and developing curriculum for educational programs. The apprentice will be expected to be a leader on the Agroecology Education Farm with student workers and volunteers once they are trained and comfortable. The apprentice will learn to communicate about the farm and sustainable agriculture with diverse audiences from ages 5-18, university students, and community members. The apprentice will have the opportunity to work on a project of their choosing, that aligns with their career path and interests. There will also be opportunities to visit other farms, attend extension workshops and trainings, local conferences, and create valuable network connections.

Agroecology farm

Skills acquired with this apprenticeship will build a solid foundation for the following career paths: Teaching/Student Farms, Community Garden Educators, Non Profit Farms, Agriculture Education And Cooperative Extension, For-Profit Vegetable Production, Some Graduate Educational Programs.  

Other requirements? Apprentices will be expected to live in the Raleigh area and have their own transportation. You will be responsible for securing your own housing. Housing is not provided. 

Work Schedule: Monday-Friday with the possibility of some weekend and evening events.

Minimum Experience/Education: High school degree. 

Preferred Years’ Experience, Skills, Training, Education: A background in agriculture or education is not required, but applicants must show a keen interest in learning more about sustainable agriculture, vegetable and/or livestock production, and agricultural education. Applicants must be flexible and open to working with producers, Extension Agents, faculty, field technicians, and other organizations.

Compensation: $10/hr for approximately 40 hours per week. 

Learn more about the Agroecology Education Farm here.