Farm Apprenticeship

Applicants are closed.
Location: The Ecology Center
32701 Alipaz Street
San Juan Capistrano
CA 92675
Training and equipping for future farmers who aspire to change our local food system.

Applications for our 2022 Apprenticeship are now closed.

The Ecology Center is committed to training the next generation of farmers, chefs, and food system changemakers to lead our culture toward a future of sustainable abundance. Our goal is to help foster regenerative organic farms throughout our region of Orange County and beyond, while inspiring and equipping the agricultural leaders of tomorrow. 

Our Apprenticeship Program is a full-time, seasonal, paid position. It runs from Monday, January 10 to Friday, July 1. Apprentices will play an integral role in helping run our 28-acre Regenerative Organic Certified™ farm and ecological nonprofit. 

There are three apprenticeship programs to choose from. Two apprentices will be selected for each position.

  1. Market Garden Apprenticeship –– San Juan Capistrano
  2. Market Garden Apprenticeship –– Encinitas
  3. Culinary Apprenticeship –– San Juan Capistrano

Market Garden Apprenticeship SJC

SJC Market Garden apprentices will work under the direction of our Market Garden Site Coordinator and Replication Manager, supporting our robust farm team on our 2-acre Market Garden and annexes. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Using soil-building techniques such as crop rotation, cover cropping, amending, and composting 
  • Learning and managing our watering program and irrigation systems
  • Using hand tools, broadforks, walk-behind tractors, collinear hoes, and more
  • Co-leading weekly plantings and harvests
  • Post-harvest handling such as wash-and-pack and cooler management 
  • Organic management of pests, disease, and weeds
  • Various tasks such as seed saving, crop planning, and tractor work

Market Garden Apprenticeship Encinitas

Encinitas Market Garden apprentices will work under the direction of our Market Garden Site Coordinator and Replication Manager on a 7-acre property that includes 3 acres of agricultural crops as well as native plants.

Responsibilities include:

  • Using soil-building techniques such as crop rotation, cover cropping, amending, and composting 
  • Learning and managing our watering program and irrigation systems
  • Using hand tools, broadforks, walk-behind tractors, collinear hoes, and more
  • Co-leading weekly plantings and harvests
  • Post-harvest handling such as wash-and-pack and cooler management 
  • Organic management of pests, disease, and weeds
  • Various tasks such as seed saving, crop planning, and tractor work

Culinary Apprenticeship SJC

Culinary apprentices will work under the direction of both our Culinary Manager and seasonal Chef-In-Residence.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting in the creation and management of value-added products such as fermentations, pickles, jams, and other seasonal offerings
  • Supporting on-site food service events such as staff meals, private lunches, HEARTH dinner series, and Peace Pizza
  • Assisting with day-to-day operations and food preparation in our café
  • Leading our education efforts for our community and children

QUALIFICATIONS

An ideal candidate for The Ecology Center Farm Apprenticeship program has a strong work ethic and an eager curiosity about food and farm systems. As our organization is dynamic and ever-transforming, we will prioritize candidates who demonstrate a strong mental attitude, excellent communication skills, open minds, and energy, flexibility and positivity in abundance.

Candidates will be expected to partake in all aspects of our working, functional farm. Apprentices should be prepared to take on tasks that involve:

  1. Repetitive motion 
  2. Tedious activity 
  3. Working solo and as part of a team/community 
  4. Full days of physical labor (must be able to lift 50 lbs.) 
  5. Shifting schedules and priorities
  6. Varying weather conditions

Both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking candidates are welcome.

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