Small Farm Unit Apprenticeships at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina

Apprentices come to the Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ Small Farm Unit (SFU) to learn the basics of running a small farm in eastern North Carolina in a practical, hands-on manner by working with the farm manager, extension personnel and university researchers on a daily basis. Apprentices will participate fully in the production and marketing activities of the SFU as learners and partners, and may observe and participate in education and research/demonstration activities as occasions permit. Apprentices are expected to develop the expertise to take charge of specific enterprises or aspects of the small farm unit.

The SFU is a 30-acre unit of the 2,000-acre Cherry Research Farm in Goldsboro, in Wayne County, eastern North Carolina. The apprenticeship is designed to be a practical, experience-based, hands-on learning adventure. Apprentices work with other learners and are guided by CEFS staff with experience in production, marketing, research and social context. There is Internet access as well as contact with NCSU, NCA&TSU and NCDA&CS resources.

The apprenticeship for 2010 will focus on production and marketing in the context of eastern North Carolina. Currently the SFU is engaged in the following activities, presently used for research and demonstration purposes:Apprentices

  1. organic systems work (utilizing cover crops, animals, soil building and high-value crops);
  2. season extension production in high tunnels and greenhouses;
  3. organic transplant production;
  4. beneficial insect farmscaping;
  5. small fruits—blueberries, strawberries, blackberries—and high-value vegetables;
  6. pastured meat (goats and poultry);
  7. marketing locally through farmers markets; and
  8. post-harvest handling and food safety issues.

Apprentices develop skills and are encouraged to mentor each other as well as interns and others learners engaged in CEFS programs. As relevant, field trips to farms, university campuses and farmers markets in other parts of North Carolina are part of the educational experience for CEFS SFU apprentices.

Apprentices in the communityThe apprenticeship is designed around an entire growing season, February 1 to September 30. Some weekend and holiday work is required. There is also the possibility of a winter apprenticeship (October 1 to January 31).

Housing and a modest stipend of $100 a week are provided. If there are sufficient funds, there may be a modest bonus allocation of “profits” from farmer market sales to apprentices. All CEFS workshops are free to apprentices, and attendance/participation is highly encouraged.

To Apply:

Submit an email letter of interest to Steve Moore at, and include the following information:

  1. your area of interest in sustainable agriculture,
  2. your background, resume, and contact information for three references, and
  3. why you would like an apprenticeship at the CEFS Small Farm Unit. Please mention what you hope to get from the experience and what you can offer to the Small Farm Unit team.

After receiving your information, John O’Sullivan or Steve Moore will contact you.

We will begin reviewing applications on January 1, 2010.

For more information on the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, check out their website at:

For More Information on Jobs and Internships, Please Visit the Employment/Internship Page

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