ASHEVILLE, N.C.–Organic Growers School’s (OGS) Apprentice Link, the online matching service, and directory to connect regional farms and aspiring farm apprentices, has grown to list over 25 local farms in Western NC and connected at least 10 aspiring farmers with farm apprenticeships over the past growing season. They are currently accepting new applications to be listed on the site. Apprentice Link has easy-to-use search functions and features organic and sustainable farms in Western NC. Farms that are included in this list are vetted by OGS through the following criteria:
Farms are actively engaged in the local community.
Farms are using organic and/or sustainable production methods.
Farms are dedicated to training new farmers by providing education as a pinnacle element of their apprenticeship program.
Another element that makes Apprentice Link stand out is the references that are collected throughout the application process from both previous employees and consumers of the farm. Testimonials from those who have worked and purchased from the farm are important in understanding each farm’s level of commitment and involvement in the community; these references are posted publicly on each farm profile.
Scott and Lori Davis found Goldfinch Gardens (a Certified Naturally Grown farm in Burnsville, NC) through Apprentice Link in the winter of 2016. They have apprenticed with farmers Ben & Cedar for the past nine months where they became actively involved in WNC CRAFT Farm Tours, and are now in the process of purchasing their own farmland. “We really couldn’t have done this without the knowledge we gained through our experience [at Goldfinch Gardens]. Not only did Ben and Cedar take time to teach us throughout the workdays, but they have supported us … through the process of choosing land, going over their budgeting and planning methods with us, and really advocating for our future as farmers,” says Lori Davis.
Working as an apprentice is an invaluable step on the path to becoming a successful farmer. By connecting aspiring farmers with apprenticeship opportunities, OGS is facilitating the placement of highly qualified, reliable, & dedicated people to work on organic farms which both increases the efficiency of those farms and teaches the art and science of organic & sustainable farming for the next generation. Apprentice Link helps ensure that the next generation will enter their career in farming with a grounded understanding of what it takes to operate a successful sustainable farm.
Want to read more about Apprentice Link or search for farms that are hiring in WNC? Visit www.organicgrowersschool.org/
Curious about establishing an apprenticeship on your farm? Check out the Mentor FAQ page for ways to get started at www.organicgrowersschool.org/
Already have an apprenticeship opportunity on your farm and want to list it? Visit the Farm Application Page at www.organicgrowersschool.org/
Organic Growers School is the premier provider of practical organic education in the Southern Appalachians. We are building a mutually supportive network of prosperous farmers, productive gardeners and informed consumers engaged in creating healthy communities. Organic Growers School is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing organic education since 1993.
–Sera Deva, Farmer Programs Associate,Organic Growers School’s
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