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North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program

The North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP) helps aspiring farmers develop the skills and knowledge they need to build successful organic and biodynamic farms. The program combines:

  • 24 months of structured on-farm training and mentoring
  • In independent, on-farm project
  • Classroom study in biodynamics

Apprentices benefit from a comprehensive training curriculum, carefully selected mentor farms, and access to networking, support, and educational resources. Upon completion of their training, apprentices are awarded a certificate in biodynamic farming from the Biodynamic Association. 

Download the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program brochure (PDF).

"As a mentor, it is important to me that apprentices make a deep commitment to their education. NABDAP provides a framework for training on both sides (mentor and apprentice) that helps this commitment become real."

- Nathaniel Thompson, Remembrance Farm


Celebrating the Achievements of Eleven Biodynamic Apprentices

This fall at the 2014 Biodynamic Conference, we celebrated the graduation of eleven NABDAP apprentices. NABDAP now has forty-seven participating mentor farms across North America, forty enrolled apprentices, and twenty-two graduates.

Our 2014 graduates and their mentor farms were:

Each of these young women and men is continuing their biodynamic journey in their own way -- starting their own farms and market gardens, joining collaborative ventures with other new and established farmers, traveling, and teaching children, youth, and other farmers in training. 

NABDAP Graduate Profile: Thomas Arminio

Thomas M. Arminio is a first generation farmer living in rural New York. He completed the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program in 2015 and, starting in 2016, plans to work as a crop extension volunteer in Tanzania. Upon graduation Thea Maria Carlson asked Thomas to share his experiences and insights with us. 

What inspired you to pursue biodynamic agriculture and participate in NABDAP?
I had four years of experience in organic agriculture before working in biodynamic agriculture and starting the apprenticeship program. During those four years, I observed several friends and coworkers attempt to start their own farm or agricultural enterprise and encounter all of the difficulty that comes with it. The support systems and cultural motivators that once made working in agriculture practical for many people seemed to have eroded. After discovering it and studying it further, I realized that biodynamics fills an important role for young farmers. Biodynamics integrates the farmer into a whole farm system that is intricate enough to include the cosmos, the mind, the soil, and compost into its worldview. I believe that biodynamics is the much-needed supporting modality for those who are new to agriculture. 

Where has your journey taken you since you completed the program?
I am currently completing my third season on Remembrance Farm in Trumansburg, NY, a biodynamic farm specializing in salad greens production. In early 2016, I plan to move to Tanzania to work as a crop extension volunteer through the Peace Corps. I am inspired to work in international agriculture development because I believe that sustainable agriculture has the ability to alleviate poverty while simultaneously restoring and improving the soils of the earth and thereby improving the health and opportunities of its people. Read more about his journey... 

NABDAP Graduate Profile: Megan Durney

The Biodynamic Association’s beginning farmer training program, the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP), began with a handful of apprentices and mentor farms in 2009. Since then the program has blossomed and grown, with mentor farms across the United States and Canada and nearly 40 apprentices currently enrolled. People often inquire as to what graduates of NABDAP go on to do, so Director of Programs Thea Maria Carlson recently asked one the program’s first graduates, Megan Durney, to share her experience.

Thea: What inspired you to pursue biodynamic agriculture and participate in NABDAP?

Megan: I entered into biodynamics because I wanted to participate in an agricultural activity that was conscious, where farmers are awake to the true impact they have on the land and the earth as a whole. Coming to the Pfeiffer Center, a biodynamic training center in New York, was the first step I took on this journey seven years ago. An established training in biodynamics is very important to develop, and I joined NABDAP to support and participate in this effort. Many young people entering into biodynamic farming presently do not have an agricultural schooling but have heard a call to bring a healing impulse to farming.  In order to honor this call and the future, biodynamic practitioners need to provide a conscious training program in the art of biodynamics, A focused program is especially valuable for those who have a limited amount of time to participate in a training, and my hope is that NABDAP will continue to evolve to meet the needs of incoming farmers so that they may meet the needs of the future of agriculture.

Read the full profile, originally published in the Fall 2013 issue of Biodynamics.