Graduates at Work
Since the Apprenticeship began in 1967, over 1,300 students have graduated from the six-month, full-time course. Many have started their own organic farms and market gardens; others share the skills they've learned through urban gardening projects, youth gardens and farms, school and college farming programs, and apprenticeships on their own farms; a number of Apprenticeship graduates work in international programs in sustainable agriculture; many have helped advance organic farming through marketing and policy efforts.
Here are some examples of how Apprenticeship Program graduates are using their training –
Thom Broz founded Live Earth Farm in Watsonville, California, growing organic produce for a 700-member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project, regional farmers’ markets, and local restaurants
Mark Cain owns Dripping Springs Gardens in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas, where he farms vegetables and flowers for farmers’ markets and other outlets.
Vanessa Campbell and Alex Brown grow a variety of vegetables, fruit and flowers on their Full Sun Farm, a 17-acre operation located in the Big Sandy Mush Valley in Western North Carolina, near Asheville.
Ryan Casey and Ned Conwell furnish fresh produce to CSA members, farmers’ markets and restaurants from Blue House Farm in Pescadero, on the San Mateo County coast.
Matt McCue started Shooting Star Farm in Fairfield, north of San Francisco. An Iraqi veteran, Matt is active in the Farmer-Veteran Coalition’s efforts to create farming opportunities for ex-military men and women.
Kelsey Keener, Chad Morse, and Noah Bresler raise vegetables, fruit, and heritage livestock on historic Williams Island near Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Jered Lawson and Nancy Vail started Pie Ranch (pictured above), an educational farm that connects students with the source of their food, near Pescadero, California.
Kevin Loth and his wife Charuth manage 34 acres of farmland near Lincoln, Nebraska, and were instrumental in creating a demand for fresh local, organic produce in the Lincoln area.
Kim Murchison and Josh Slotnick started Clark Fork Organics in Missoula, Montana, which provides organic produce to area markets, natural food stores, and restaurants. In 1997 Josh co-founded an academic program at the University of Montana called Program In Ecological Agriculture and Society (PEAS). The PEAS farm operates an 80 member CSA and sends 15 to 20 thousand pounds of food annually to the Missoula Food Bank.
Leroy Musgrave grows organic produce in the San Joaquin Valley and sells at the Mandela Farmers’ Markets in Oakland, California.
Ted Purdy is the Youth Farm Coordinator at FOOD for Lane County in Springfield, Oregon. The Youth Farm in a 3-acre educational farm that combines youth services with hunger relief and small-scale organic farming.
Amy Rice-Jones started and manages Bounty Farm, where she coordinates a team of volunteers growing food for low-income residents of Petaluma, California.
Rebecca Slattery owns Persephone Farm in Indianola, Washington, growing and marketing organic produce and flowers.
Cathrine Sneed developed a gardening program at the San Francisco County Jail, and went on to launch the post-release program known as The Garden Project to serve former offenders. The Garden Project today is nationally recognized and provides on-the-job training in gardening and tree care.
Claire Strader is the farm manager for Troy Community Farm in Madison, Wisconsin, growing food for a neighborhood CSA, farmers’ markets, and wholesale efforts. She also teaches college students, high-school youth, and adult volunteers through the farm’s internship programs.