Ready to start your apprenticeship?
Before you pick up your shovel and pitchfork, make sure you go through these steps:
1. Review the farm programs
Check out the farms listed in the region(s) of your interest, then write down one to five farms you would be interested to join.
We've included a map for those of you who haven't brushed up on your Canuck geography lately.
2. Complete the apprenticeship application
Complete the apprentice application and submit it to SOIL online. Be sure to indicate which farms you are interested in.
3. Send in your application fee
Either by cheque or online via PayPal. It's just 20 Canadian dollars.
4. Contact the farm of your choice
SOIL will send you a complete description of the farms in which you expressed interest.
Use this information to make direct contact with the farm where you wish to do your apprenticeship.
5. Start farming!
The host farms that list with SOIL, all Canadian, represent a wide variety of focus and practices. You could choose to work with farmers producing nutritious food for a market garden operation. Discover the enormous potential of growing healthy vegetables in raised beds, using natural fertilizers, and biological pest control. Learn the basics of animal husbandry while apprenticing on a small dairy farm or on the expanse of a large cattle ranch. Experience first-hand the advantages that can be gained by working with draft horses or developing the knowledge and skills necessary to properly care for fruit trees. The opportunities are endless.
This program was initiated to encourage the growth of sustainable agriculture. For this reason, SOIL is only offered to farms which emphasis organic techniques with little or no dependence on pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.
Apprenticeships are available to anyone over 18 years old who is healthy, self motivated and eager to learn. A time commitment of eight weeks is usually required. A full-season commitment is usually preferred. Most apprenticeships involve labor in exchange for room, board and the opportunity to learn, although some farms provide a wage or small allowance.
Farms must make a commitment to provide a teaching component to the apprenticeship. They are encouraged to provide a monthly stipend or wage to the apprentice. If this is not practical, most apprentices agree to room & board and a productive learning experience in return for their labor.
SOIL acts as a liaison between the farmer and the apprentice. Typically, apprenticeships take place between May and September, although many farms need help all year round. We endeavor to match the apprentice with the farm according to the information given by both parties.
It is the responsibility of both parties to come to a working agreement. Both parties should discuss such topics as length of commitment, hours of work, learning outcomes expected, housing and food arrangements, holidays, sick days, insurance, and other special needs.