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Learnings from an apprenticeship journey

Marit harvesting chard

It's been just over a year since I began my apprenticeship at Crossroads Community Farm, and it has definitely been a year of learning!


When I stumbled across the Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship Program while looking for farm jobs, I knew the mixture of on farm learning and classes would be a perfect fit for me to learn everything I needed to know about running a diversified organic vegetable operation.


But when I showed up last May, I knew very little. From going on field walks to operating heavy equipment, I have learned so much from my wonderful farm mentors. I also spent the winter taking three classes and attending other learning opportunities such as the Organic Vegetable Production Conference and TEAMs (Training and Education for Aspiring Managers) hosted by FairShare.


Fast-forward to this season and my skill set and confidence has skyrocketed. As the new crew started, it has been cool to reflect on how just one year ago that was me. I am now helping train and manage the crew, running transplant teams, and helping identify and solve pest problems.

Marit driving a tractor on the farm

Just a few days ago I was in the truck with a new crew member and she asked, "Did you know how to do any of this before you came here?" I said "nope!" And she said, "So you have learned all of this in the past year?" And to me, this showcases the beauty and effectiveness of this apprenticeship.

 

One of my favorite aspects of the apprenticeship is being able to connect with and learn from fellow apprentices. There are about 10 of us in my cohort and we have been able to get to know each other at field days and through our classes in the winter. It has been invaluable having a peer support network of people going through a similar experience as I am, and being able to celebrate each other’s wins and offer advice or personal experiences with struggles faced on the farm. I know that I will be able to rely on this support network even after we have all moved on from this apprenticeship.


I don't know yet what my next step will be after completing this apprenticeship in the fall. I do know that I could enter a farm manager position at another organic diversified vegetable farm and feel confident in my abilities because of this apprenticeship and everyone who has supported me along the way.


~ Marit Hovey

Apprentice at Crossroads Community Farm


You can support the apprenticeship program, and other programs that invest in farmers, at fairshare.kindful.com.

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