Farming Apprenticeships Offer Free Training with Nice Perks

In recent years, Americans have been getting more in-touch with nature through farmstays, or vacations on working farmers. Now there’s a new type of agritourism called farming apprenticeships. Here’s how it works: you volunteer at a farm in exchange for free room, board and education.

Farming apprenticeships are quickly becoming even more popular than farmstays. Some farms seek paid help, while others are looking for seasonal interns. Whether you’re doing it to start your own farm, or just want to experience something different, there’s a farm apprenticeship available for just about any preference.

A quick search on the Grow Food website returns seven farms in South Carolina (where Charleston Naturally is based) offering apprenticeships. The description for Red Fern Farm reads:

Located 30 miles south of Greenville, SC, Red Fern Farm is a small, family-owned and -operated farm comprised of 100 acres. We are chemical-free and focused on long-term sustainability and permaculture; we are not certified organic and have no plans to be. We produce heirloom vegetables and fruits; culinary, aromatic, and medicinal herbs; transplants; grass-fed lamb; and wool goods. We direct market our products through the Carolina First Saturday Market in Greenville, SC and other seasonal markets around the Upstate.

Redfern expects a minimum of 30 hours of work during the week (Monday through Friday) and approximately 4-5 hours of market work on most Saturday mornings between May 1st and October 31st. Sundays are always free days. Work on weekdays begins no later than 9 a.m.

Interns are required to keep an activity log. The vast majority of work centers around the garden and greenhouse, so a potential intern should have a strong interest in organic gardening including seed starting, planting, weeding, pest control, harvest, and preservation. Other tasks include livestock management, construction projects, market prep, farm planning, and producing value-added products from our vegetables and herbs.

We’d love to hear feed back from anyone who has completed a farming apprenticeship, so please post those in the comments section!