Beginning Farmer Training
Continue reading below for more information about interning at Troy Community Farm, or visit the Community GroundWorks' Internship Opportunities page for information about all of our intern programs.
Farm interns and apprentices work in every aspect of vegetable production on our certified organic urban farm including: seeding and transplanting from our passive solar greenhouse, composting, cover cropping, weeding, mulching, trellising, bed prep, pruning, harvesting, and post-harvest handling. Interns/apprentices also assist with marketing our crop through our CSA and weekly on-site farmstand. The combination of weekly formal instruction, hands-on expereince working side-by-side with the farmers, and responsibility supervising others at the farm gives interns/apprentices a solid foundation in small-scale farming.
1.Full-season paid apprenticeship: April 4-October 21
- 700 hour internship, stipend of $5,075
- Internship hours are Mondays 7am-3:30pm (from April 4-October 21), Tuesdays 7am-noon, Wednesdays 7am-3pm, and Fridays 7am-noon
2. Summer paid apprenticeship: May 16-September 2
- 400 hour internship, stipend of $2,900
- Internship hours are Mondays 7am-3:30pm, Tuesdays 7am-noon, Wednesdays 7am-3pm, and Fridays 7am-noon
3. Volunteer internship: Minimum commitment of May 16-September 2 required, although longer internships are encouraged.
- 200+ hour internship, interns recieve a CSA Market Share membership
- Internship hours are Mondays 7am-3:30pm, plus at least one more day (Tuesdays 7am-noon, Wednesdays 7am-3pm, Fridays 7am-noon)
All farm interns/apprentices receive the same training and education, as well as access to “farmer food” and our u-pick CSA flower and herb garden. (Farmer food is blemished or unsold produce that is available to farm staff, interns, and volunteers.) All these positions are educational internships and should be considered as such, whether or not they are paid. Priority for paid apprenticeships is given to applicants who have worked on our farm before and/or have previous experience on other farms. Apprentices will work more hours weekly and will therefore have greater responsibilities in the farm's day to day operations than volunteer interns.
- 7am-8am Group check in and field tour
- 8am-11am Field work
- 11am-11:30am Lunch
- 11:30am-2pm Field work
- 2pm-3:30pm Class
- 7am-7:15am Group check in
- 7:15-12pm Field work
- 7am-7:15am Group check in
- 7:15am-12pm CSA harvest and pack
- 12pm-12:30pm Lunch
- 12:30pm-3pm Field work
- 4pm-6:30pm Farm stand and CSA pick-up (Interns and apprentices work 3pm-7pm on a rotating schedule)
- 7am-7:15am Group check in
- 7:15am-10am Herb & wholesale harvest
- 10am-12pm Field work
1. Field tour: Arguably one of the most important educational tools of our program, every Monday morning all staff, apprentices and interns walk the fields for an hour. This is a time to discuss conditions, project yields, plan the CSA box, scout for pests, prioritize weekly tasks, etc.
2. Classes: All farm interns and apprentices attend our series of formal intern classes on Mondays from 2:00 to 3:30 PM beginning on May 16th and ending on August 15th. There will be readings associated with each class, which will be emailed out a week in advance. See the 2016 Intern Class Schedule.
3. Beginning Farmer Training Manual: All farm interns/apprentices receive a copy of the Troy Community Farm Beginning Farmer Training Manual. The manual provides detailed information about how things work at the farm, and includes copies of all the farm’s planning and record keeping documents, such as our planting schedule and crop spacing guide. Interns/apprentices use the manual as a learning tool, as a reference while working at the farm, and as a lasting resource once they leave the farm.
4. Field trip: During July (date and farm TBD), farm staff, apprentices, and interns take a field trip to another local farm. This is a great opportunity to compare notes and is always a highlight for all.
5. Farm Stand: A few times during the season, interns/apprentices help to distribute the CSA share on Thursday evenings from 3:00 to 7:00 PM. Working the CSA pickup provides an important opportunity to interact with the community that eats the food we spend so much time growing.
6. Solo week: During the 3rd week in August, the farm staff step aside and the interns and apprentices harvest, pack, and deliver the CSA share all on their own. A culmination of all the folks have learned, interns and apprentices work together to take ownership of the farm for a week.
Why do they love it?
Interns walk away with knowledge, skills, fond memories, and new perspectives on life. Read what interns have to say about their experiences on the farm!
"As a farm intern I learned both the theory and practice of effective small-scale organic agriculture, via weekly classes and the milieu of efficient, beautifully simple systems that governed our day-to-day labor. More than this, I learned the joy of meaningful work; work done with my hands in connection with the earth and in conjunction with a community.
- Robin Delaquess, 2015
"Doing the internship at Troy Farm was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I knew I was going to learn a lot and work hard, but I didn't realize that I would make great friends, truly come to love the outdoors right down to the soil, and find a job that made me feel alive. I became a farmer at Troy and found my life's calling, which I think is what we all are searching for in the end."
- Charlotte Condie, 2015
"I am starting a small farm operation next year, and the planning tools and general farming knowledge gained at Troy will be extremely helpful to my efforts. The experience was both empowering and humbling, and has caused me to be more cautious and methodical about starting out on my own. I am extremely grateful to the managers at Troy for being so open and honest with us interns, and for being such good teachers and motivators."
– Eric Udelhofen, 2012 (now operates Taproot Farm & Fruit)
"I am so thankful that I was able to be part of such an exciting and innovative farm this summer, working with an incredible crew and learning from two gifted farmers and teachers. I can see why so many interns come back to visit or to become worker-shares—Troy Community Farm is a special place."
– Megan Bjella, 2010
"I found that the internship offered a number of challenges, all of which helped me grow not only as a potential farmer but also as a leader, effective communicator, and member of a community."
– Alex Lyon, 2009
"I learned that there is a lot more to farming than romance. Working at Troy, I gained a more clear-eyed perspective of what it really means to be a farmer... a sweaty, sore, stressed, and sleep-deprived farmer. I learned that while reality may not live up to the romance, it's still pretty good."
– Lisa DiPietro, 2008
"One of the things I wanted to experience most on the farm, was just working outside. I worked under whatever weather the sky had to offer that day. I listened to the breeze. I felt the hot sun on my back. I dug, scraped, plucked, bent, squatted, and hauled. I got dirty. I worked hard. When I got home, I always felt so satisfied."
– Cassie Nolterwyss, 2004 & 2005 (now operates Crossroads Community Farm )