Graduates at Work

Apprenticeship graduates Nancy Vail and Jered Lawson (seated at right with dauher Rosa) founded Pie Ranch, a working farm and youth educational center near Pescadero, California

Since the Apprenticeship began in 1967, more than 1,400 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. You can learn more about Apprenticeship graduate's work at the Grow a Farmer website's map of alumni projects.

Aaron Blyth is the farm manager at Big River Farms in Minnesota, where he directs an immigrant and minority farmer training program and CSA project that's part of the Minnesota Food Association.

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 Garden 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.

Katie Davis is the Farm Director for the Jones Valley Teaching Farm in Birmingham, Alabama.

Emily Freed is the regional production manager for Jacob's Farm/Del Cabo, Inc., one of the largest producers of organic culinary herbs in the world. She also founded and owns Farmer Freed Culinary Salt Blends.

Luke Girdling runs the farming operation for Bistro West restaurant in Carlsbad, California as part of their Farm-to-Table program.

Matt McCue founded and manages 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.

Jered Lawson and Nancy Vail started Pie Ranch (pictured above), an educational farm located near Pescadero, California that connects students with the source of their food.

Kevin Loth and his wife Charuth manage the 34-acre Shadow Brook Farm near Lincoln, Nebraska, and were instrumental in creating a demand for fresh local, organic produce and hand-crafted cheeses in the Lincoln area.

Matthew McDermott manages Seattle Tilth Farm Works, a 34-acre site outside Seattle providing small farm business training and other production and educational programs.

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.

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.

Matthew Raiford runs the 6th-generation family-owned Gilliard Farms in Brunswick, Georgia. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Matthew also teaches culinary skills and founded the Apprenticeship's Farm-to-Fork annual fundraising dinner.

Amy Ridout (Rice-Jones) manages the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden, the teaching farm for the College of Marin.

Cathrine Sneed developed a gardening program at the San Francisco County Jail, and went on to launch the post-release program 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.

Lucia Stephen coordinates the Grow a Farmer Apprenticeship and Mentor Program, a beginning farmer training program in Brunswick, Canada.