In October of 2015, SOIL developed and introduced a simple pledge that farm hosts listing with SOIL have the option of signing. The pledge lays out a few basic commitments that the host has agreed to. The aim of the pledge is to make apprentices more comfortable raising concerns about issues covered in the pledge, when such concerns arise during an apprenticeship. Each time a farm-host renews their annual SOIL membership, they will have the option of signing the pledge. If a host signs it, this will be indicated in their online SOIL profile.
Here is the pledge:
As a host of farm apprentices,
I encourage my apprentices to request a formal, sit-down check-in, once per month during the apprenticeship, during which both parties will have an opportunity to express any concerns they have about the host/apprentice arrangement.
I will provide, in writing, a description of the working and living conditions my apprentices can expect while apprenticing on my farm, as well as any other relevant details agreed upon before the apprenticeship begins. I invite my apprentices to alert me, at any point during the apprenticeship, of any instances where I fail to meet the commitments made in this document.
I encourage apprenticeship applicants, during the interview process, to ask me the following questions:
1. If you are not paying at least a minimum wage, can you please describe how your apprentice will be treated differently than a paid labourer, with regards to workload or time devoted to education, for example?
2. Can you please describe your approach to education of your apprentices?
3. Can you please provide some contact information of past farmhands or apprentices?
4. What is the average number of hours per week expected of me? What is the maximum amount expected of me?