"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
Carefully selected mentor farms form the core of the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program. Each mentor farmer understands and practices biodynamic agriculture and has a passion for and dedication to educating the next generation of farmers, not just receiving labor from apprentices. We welcome applications from established biodynamic farms to join our mentor farm network.
The program guidelines 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.
NABDAP mentor farmers are responsible for:
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.
Mentor farms must be established for at least three years before joining NABDAP and must incorporate biodynamic principles and practices in a significant way. Before applying to participate in NABDAP, a mentor farmer should have at least five years’ experience in biodynamic farming, including at least three years as a farm manager and at least two years educating and working with interns or apprentices.
To become a mentor farm with the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program, you will need to complete an application packet, which includes:
These documents are reviewed by the NABDAP coordinator, followed by phone or in-person interviews with the prospective mentor farmer and references, and a site visit to the prospective mentor farm. Through this process, farms that are found to be a good fit with NABDAP will be added to the list of participating mentor farms and apprentices working on the farm will become eligible for enrollment in and graduation from NABDAP. Mentor farms are re-evaluated periodically to ensure continued fit with the program.
If you are interested in participating in NABDAP as a mentor farm, please download and complete the application documents below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application packet.