Farm Apprenticeship

Applicants must submit resume and cover letter to [email protected] in addition to submitting their application.
Location: The Ecology Center
32701 Alipaz Street
San Juan Capistrano
CA 92675

Upon submitting this application, please send your resume and cover letter to [email protected]

Training and equipping for future farmers who aspire to change our local food system.

The Ecology Center Apprenticeship Program is an opportunity to gain relevant field experience on a regenerative organic urban farm. Participants will learn by doing and will be able to apply their skills to a variety of farm and garden career paths. Apprentices will rotate through the varying departments of our 28-acre educational nonprofit and regenerative organic farm. Apprentices will learn everything about the farm, from seed and soil to harvest and packaging, and then to plate, Farm Stand and Farm Share. Along with training in business development and farm operation planning, we will help you focus and streamline your post-apprenticeship plans and collaborate for change in our community.

Designed for novice farmers as well as those seeking training for regenerative agriculture-related careers, this apprenticeship will include experiential instruction in:

1. Greenhouse and Propagation

  • Understanding soil mediums and building compost/ compost tea
  • Propagation Techniques for annuals, perennials, and flowers
  • Crop planning, seed saving, and seed ordering
  • Proper watering and thinning
  • Nursery Sale production

2. Market Garden and Cut-Flowers

  • Cover cropping and soil building
  • Water and irrigation management
  • Hand tools, broadforking, walk-behind tractors
  • Soil amending and sampling
  • Planting, harvesting, post-harvest of salad mix and cut flowers
  • Organic pest and disease management

3. Farm-Scale Production

  • Farming systems and design
  • Tractors and implements
  • Post-harvest handling (wash and pack)
  • Pest and disease management
  • Crop rotation
  • Running and managing a community-supported agriculture program

4. Culinary

  • Seasonality and farm-to-table cooking
  • Herbs and spices, salads and dressings, seasoning and balancing flavors
  • Knife skills
  • Preservation (pickling, canning, fermentation)
  • Running the family meal, pizza program, and coffee cart

Alongside our experiential educational offering, Fridays will be dedicated to business development and farm planning. We will help you focus and streamline your own post-apprenticeship plans and work together to collaborate for change in our community. You will have access to our full staff and a weekly educational speaker in varied related roles.

Interested in applying?

Essential qualifications include:

  • A commitment to working hard
  • An eagerness to learn about agricultural food systems
  • A strong time and attention commitment
  • An ability to lift 50 pounds
  • An ability to work outside in a variety of weather conditions
  • A strong desire to replicate the work at The Ecology Center in southern California

Candidates will be expected to partake in all aspects of our working, functional farm: 

  • Repetitive motion
  • At times, monotonous and tedious tasks
  • Working solo AND with a community at different times
  • Full days of physical labor
  • Shifting schedules and priorities

Both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking folks welcome to apply.

The application is open until January 15th. Our 2021 participants will be announced early to mid-February. 

Upon submitting this application, please send your resume and cover letter to [email protected]

The Kirstie Hibbard Scholarship Fund

If you are interested in funding the mentorship of future farmers please do so by making a gift to The Kirstie Hibbard Scholarship Fund by clicking HERE