The landscape and formal gardens at Stone Barns Center are diverse growing environments. Apprentices will get hands-on experience creating and maintaining ornamental, wildlife habitat, remediation and food production gardens as part of an ongoing effort to explore and develop a system of agriculture that is truly sustainable.
Apprentices in this program will gain experience in a diversity of horticultural, agricultural and agroforestry activities. Apprentices will participate in production, care and maintenance of the wide variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs that are part of our larger farm ecology. Skills and techniques for managing the land according to biological/organic principles will be at the forefront of the experience. It is with this understanding that the efforts taken for the landscape are to improve the health and quality of the whole farm as a single organism.
The Landscape and Formal Gardens program offers two distinct apprenticeships.
Formal Gardens: This program will focus on gardening in the more intensively managed formal aspects of our landscape. These gardens have a wide diversity of ornamental and edible woody and herbaceous plants, including vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs for culinary uses. They serve as demonstration, recreation, and educational spaces for visitors and students.
Forest Gardens and Landscape: This program will focus on the forest gardens and wild landscape. These less intensively managed areas are dedicated to habitat creation to encourage and sustain biological diversity and abundance and produce crops for sale, while being inviting places for people to explore and learn. Besides caring for the areas, this apprentice will work with the Four Season Farm terrace crew to coordinate harvests of herbs and floral material from the landscape.
In addition to being exposed to the day-to-day operations of the farm, all Stone Barns apprentices are introduced to a holistic agricultural curriculum that includes weekly readings, classes and participation in the Hudson Valley Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program.
A typical week includes a combination of 35 hours of independent field-based experience and hands-on instruction plus five hours of classroom time.
What You Will Learn
The hands-on experiences for the Landscape Apprentice include but are not limited to the following:
- Propagating native and edible plants
- Creating habitat niches for habitat and/or food production
- Harvesting herbs and edibles
- Participating in the effort to restore functional ecosystems that serve to sustain biotic communities, conserve resources and engage visitors
- Seed harvesting
- Working with volunteers
All Farm Apprentices also participate extensively in Stone Barns Center’s educational outreach with school groups, Farm Camp and the general public. Apprentices take part in public tours, occasional farm markets (on and off site), and Center-wide activities such as Harvest Fest, Sheep Shearing Day, and the Young Farmers Conference, as well as other special weekend events on the farm.
Requirements for Admission
A commitment to learning about healthy and sustainable food systems and passion for developing as a farmer and an educator are prerequisites. No prior farming experience is required; however, applicants who have some background in farming, food systems, or experiential education are preferred. Additional prerequisites include a positive attitude, a desire to learn to function as a member of a team and the ability to be outside in adverse weather conditions.
The Program is presented 5 days per week for a period of 6 months and includes 35 hours per week of hands-on experience on the farm and 5 hours per week of classroom time and assigned readings and farm field trips to other farms in our region (May-October). A monthly stipend of $1,250.00 will be provided. Housing is available for $250 per month, on a limited basis.
Please submit a cover letter explaining why you want to participate in this program and what you hope to learn from it. Also include a summary of the experiences you have had that you think are relevant to your participation in the Program. Note which apprenticeship you are applying for in the subject line – Formal Gardens or Forest Gardens and Landscape. Your application package should be submitted to email@example.com.
Both programs run from April 1, 2013 through October 4, 2013. The application deadline is January 21, 2013.