Sprouting Farms Incubator Farm, WV

Sprouting Farms Incubator Farm

Talcott, West Virginia: Sprouting Farms Incubator Farm accepting Apprentice & Incubator Applications for 2017-2018 Season

Application Deadline: April 29, 2017
Sprouting Farms, (www.sproutingfarms.org) a non-profit incubator farm and training center is launching our first season at the Sprouting Farms incubator farm in Talcott WV, located in the beautiful Greenbrier River Valley of West Virginia.  We believe that long-lasting impact is created by training new farms in quality and sustainable production techniques, and providing shared resources and educational opportunities to the whole farm community.     Our program focuses on providing farmers solid business management and production skills along with hands-on apprenticeship, mentorship, and the land and resources necessary to launch, experiment, and refine their farm businesses. Click here to download project overview (https://goo.gl/iHJsjB).
An apprenticeship at Sprouting Farms includes: 
  • Land and resource access
    • Growing space up to 1/2 acre and use of onsite hoop-house space
    • Access to tools, equipment, and other production resources through the Resource Sharing program
  • Farm business course
    • Course will meet twice a week throughout the season and includes hands-on classes and farm business, production, and record-keeping classes.
    • Opportunity to develop, refine, and field-test your farm business plan before launch.
  • Paid apprenticeship & farm mentorship
    • 400 hour paid apprenticeship $9/hr over the course of the season (up to $3,600)
    • Apprentices have the opportunity to complete apprenticeship with with mentor farms in the region
Qualifications & application:
Visit: http://www.sproutingfarms.org/apply.html to learn more and download the  Apprentice Application Packet (https://goo.gl/G1dA8n). Please send your apprentice application, and resume via e-mail to admin@sproutingfarms.org by April 29, 2017.
Sprouting Farms Incubator Farm Program Details
Land and resource access
Participants have access outdoor growing space up to a 1/2 acre and use of onsite hoop-house space to explore production techniques and products that they are interested in pursuing.   Apprentices will have access to project tools, equipment, and other resources through the Resource Sharing Program. Access to equipment is included with the Apprenticeship Program and training will be provided.
Farm business course
The inaugural farm business course will meet twice a week from May 15, 2017 – December 2017.   The course includes two evening class periods and a half-day hands-on lesson.  Specific course schedule and topics are developed to meet learning objectives of each cohort of apprentices entering the project.
Paid apprenticeship & farm mentors
Apprentice wages are $9/hour for 400 hours (approx. 20 hrs./wk. for 5 months) up to $3,600 over the course of the season.
Sprouting Farms Incubator Farm Participants will submit learning goals and a skill map that will be used to help pair apprentices with appropriate mentor farms.   Participants will have the opportunity to complete their 400 hour apprenticeship on both mentor farms and on the Sprouting Farms production farm depending on mentor fit and availability.
Incubator Program
Once apprentices are through the first season and have a completed business plan, apprentices are eligible for the Sprouting Farms Incubator Program.  The program will provide access to larger plot sizes and continued opportunities for mentorship, guidance, and support as they launch their farm businesses
Adaptive Management
Given that this is the first year of a new program and that the Sprouting Farms is still being developed, there are undoubtedly going to be some minor unforeseen hitches along the way. Sprouting Farms team will work to minimize these complications and ensure that they are resolved in a fashion that meets all party’s needs. While this may require some patience and understanding on the part of program participants, it is important to remember that there are some significant opportunities presented in this inaugural Sprouting Farms season. Most notably, farm apprentices  will have the chance to:
  • Participate in the development of farm infrastructure;
  • Shape the incubator program for upcoming seasons and future Sprouting Farms farmers;
  • Have access to some of the best farmland at Sprouting Farms; and,
  • Use the novelty and visibility of this program as a marketing tool.
Sprouting Farms Incubator Farm Apprenticeship Course Application Process
Accepting applications for 2017 apprenticeship course from February 1 – April 29, 2017.
Sprouting Farms Incubator Farm Apprenticeship Application Criteria
  • Demonstrated farming experience
  • Interest in sustainable production techniques
  • Farm/agricultural business idea or concept
  • Commitment to developing and operating  a farming enterprise in West Virginia
  • Project “fit”
    • Ability/willingness to work cooperatively
    • Ability/willingness to respect other farm participants
2017 Apprenticeship Costs & Payment Schedule
Sprouting Farms will make available land, equipment, infrastructure, and services to apprentices.  The cost of the apprenticeship program $2,000/season however, for the 2017 inaugural season the course cost will be $1,000 which includes access to a a 1/2 acre and use of onsite hoop-house space farm business course, mentorship and hands-on paid 20hr a week apprenticeship along with the resources available through the program.
Payment plans
Payment plans, scholarship funds, or other financial aid may be available if needed for participants who are unable to pay for the course up front. Contact program staff for more information.
Follow us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sproutingfarmswv or on instagram & twitter @Sprouting_farms

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