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Becoming a NABDAP Mentor Farm

North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program > Becoming a Mentor Farm

Apprentice Crew at Woodbridge Farm

"One of my favorite parts of the program is the skills checklists. I love them and use them with all my apprentices. I've also noticed that the apprentices that come to us through the program tend to be of a higher caliber. You really do get a wider range of candidates for your apprenticeship positions, and people who have a specific interest in farming as a career."

- Robin Verson, Hill and Hollow Farm

As the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP) continues to expand our network of new participating mentor farms, we welcome applications from new farms -- both organic and biodynamic -- to join the program.

Benefits for Mentor Farms

  • Support in your educational mission: Program elements like the Skills Checklists, farm journal, and independent project provide you with a structural context for the hands-on education you are already providing to your apprentices. Beyond the on-farm training that you are able to offer, your apprentices will also have access to educational farm visits and classroom study courses.
  • Highly motivated apprentices: Because NABDAP is aimed toward applicants who have a serious interest and commitment to learning about biodynamic farming, you will likely find that applicants are more highly motivated.
  • Support in your development as an educator: Annual Mentor Farmer Gatherings give you connections to other mentor farmers and provide instruction and inspiration in your own professional development as an educator and mentor.

The program guidelines are quite general in order to allow room for each farmer’s unique style and circumstances, so if you have already been working with apprentices, you won’t need to change much. You will continue to be able to choose which apprentices to work with and as a mentor farmer, you will continue to make your own arrangements with apprentices regarding room and board, finances, time off, etc.

Mentor Farmer Responsibilities

The main requirement for mentor farmers is that you be sincerely interested in the education of your apprentices and cooperate with NABDAP in providing this education. You will be asked to:

  • Work with NABDAP’s Skills Checklists to structure each apprentice's learning on the farm
  • Assist your apprentices in keeping a detailed farm journal
  • Advise second-year apprentices on an independent project on the farm
  • Provide an evaluation of your apprentice's work at the end of the season

In doing these things you will have the support and assistance of the NABDAP Coordinator as well as your Regional Coordinator. Coordinators will meet regularly with the apprentices, help keep track of paperwork, and work to solve any problems that may arise.

Application Process

To become a mentor farm with the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program, you will need to complete an application packet, which includes:

  • NABDAP Skills Checklists: these are used to indicate the skills that you are willing and able to teach apprentices on your farm.
  • Mentor Farm Application: this tells us about your farm, your history, location, practices, and how apprentices are incorporated into your farm.
  • Mentor Farmer Agreement: this outlines your role and responsibilities as a NABDAP Mentor Farmer and verifies your agreement to fully participate in the program.

Once we receive your completed application materials, the NABDAP Central Coordinator and Regional Coordinator for your area will review them, and one or both will schedule a phone interview and/or visit to your farm to orient you to NABDAP and ensure that your farm is a good fit for our program. 

If you are interested in participating in NABDAP as a Mentor Farm, please contact Thea Maria Carlson at nabdap@biodynamics.com or 262.649.9212 ext. 5 to request an application packet.  


Mentor Farmer Gatherings >