Sustainable Agriculture Apprenticeship at Michigan State University Tollgate in Novi – 2018
The Sustainable Agriculture Program at Michigan State University Tollgate is looking for two apprentices for the 2018 season. This is a full time job spanning mid-May until mid-October.
Tollgate is located on 160 acres in Novi, MI and includes pasture, hay fields, 40 acres of forest, a conference center and educational facilities. The sustainable agriculture field totals seven acres with three under cultivation as well as a heated greenhouse for transplant production. We grow more than forty different vegetables for sale to our seventy member CSA, at market and wholesale. Embracing organic growing methods and progressive growing techniques, our production strives to grow food that nurtures soil and human health.
For more information on the farm and our programs, please visit: http://www.canr.msu.edu/tollgate/
The Sustainable Agriculture Apprenticeship
The sustainable agriculture apprenticeship is designed as an intensive introduction into the field of small scale sustainable vegetable agriculture, equipping participants with the technical skills needed to begin their own operation. Apprentices will be responsible for the day to day operation of the farm, including planting, weeding, harvesting and processing the produce. CSA distribution and market stands will also be operated by the apprentices. At the end of the season, the apprentices will have an excellent handle on the operation of the farm and dedicated participants would be qualified for the field manager position the next season, or the apprenticeship program at MSU’s North Farm, an intensive 3 year program.
Apprentices will be supervised by the Field Manager, who in turn reports to the CSA Coordinator.
As part of the program, apprentices will engage with textual and online material as well. These more formal learning opportunities will connect the hands on technical training to larger concepts necessary to understand the operation of a farm. Topics covered in the apprenticeship include:
Crop and soil science
Business management and marketing
Pest and disease control
Apprentices will also have the opportunity to visit other organizations that are involved in the local, sustainable food movement, including farms, processing facilities and other relevant businesses. The apprentices may also have the opportunity to engage with the animals on site, assist with educational programming and be involved with value added processing of the farm’s produce.
Pay is $9/hour with some benefits. Apprentices will have access to and are encouraged to use the produce from the farm.
Sustainable Agriculture Apprenticeship Qualifications
Previous farming or gardening experience is not required. Instead we are seeking candidates with a demonstrated interest in sustainability and indications that this experience will inform your future work. Making this connection should comprise the bulk of your application.
Applicants for the Sustainable Agriculture Apprenticeship are expected to be physically capable as the job involves completing long stretches of strenuous labor in challenging working conditions. Previous outdoor work experience is preferred and the applicant should be able to lift 50+lbs. The physical nature of this job cannot be understated, as it requires physical work in the hot sun for months. Please indicate your outdoor experience in your application.
Applicants should have a demonstrated ability to listen to directions and execute them. This is a crucial element of this job as apprentices are relied upon to become more autonomous as the season progresses.
A positive attitude and solid communication skills are essential to success in this position. Those who have previously had difficulty working on small teams are encouraged to develop these skills before seeking employment as an apprentice.
Applicants are encourage to espouse the qualities that make them unique and how those qualities will contribute to a small team.
To apply for the Sustainable Agriculture Apprenticeship please send an e-mail to Will Jaquinde at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following material:
Resume, one page
Cover Letter, one page
Two References, work preferred, no family members or friends (who weren’t employers).
The deadline is February 1st, although applicants may be accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants will be informed of an interview opportunity no later than February 8th.
MSU Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race,color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status.
To learn more about farming jobs and internships or to post an opportunity on beginningfarmers.org, go to: http://www.beginningfarmers.org/internship-and-employment-opportunities/