Since 2009, over 100 aspiring biodynamic farmers have participated in our North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP), learning side-by-side with exemplary biodynamic mentor farmers across the continent. We have celebrated the graduation of 37 new biodynamic farmers, and 12 more are on track to graduate this year. Just as each farm individuality needs to grow and evolve over time, so does our work to train the next generation of farmers.
Building on the strengths and accomplishments of NABDAP, we are delighted to introduce two new intensive one-year programs that will provide more flexibility, as well as a solid and broad foundation in all of the essentials of biodynamic farming for everyone who participates. Individuals will have the option to participate in just the first year, or both.
For both programs, we are inviting established farmers interested in learning more about biodynamics to participate as well continuing to offer apprenticeship opportunities on exemplary mentor farms.
The Biodynamic Farmer Foundation Year offers aspiring biodynamic farmers the opportunity to build a solid foundation in the principles and practices of biodynamic agriculture. Individual support from an experienced mentor farmer and a cohesive, integrated, and interactive learning curriculum bring biodynamics to life.
The Biodynamic Farmer Development Year, which will begin in 2019, will develop and deepen the skills needed for biodynamic farm management for those who graduate from the foundation year. This program will allow for more scope and specialization in specific farm management and production areas.
Applications for the Biodynamic Farmer Foundation Year will open at the end of November. Contact Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail) or by phone at 262.649.9212 x14 with any questions or to be notified when applications open.
The NABDAP pages will remain in place for those interested in seeing the strong foundations we are building our new programs on. The graduate profiles are especially inspiring! You can find all the details on our new Farmer Training programs at our new Biodynamic Farmer Training page.
These are Mentor Farms from NABDAP, which is retired. We will have mentor farm pages up for our Biodynamic Farmer Foundation Year very soon!
Great Song Farm, located in New York's Hudson Valley, works to create a community farm based around a CSA supplying fresh vegetables to 75 families through the summer and 30 through the winter. We strive to craft a just, accessible, and transparent food system that is economically viable and fulfilling for both farmers and supporters. A cow herd grazes our pastures and provides manure. We create and use our own prepared compost from our cow manure as the basis for fertility. Our farm is leased from 2 gracious landowners. Both the landowners and Anthony's partner Sarah regularly lend a hand.
Size of farm: 87 acres: 2.5 acres cultivated, 20 acres pasture, 4 acres wetland, and 59 acres in forest.
Diversity of livestock and produce: A wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers for a 75 member on farm Summer CSA and 30 member Winter CSA. A herd of 10 cows, an apiary of 20 hives, and a flock of laying hens for home use.
Skills that can be learned: See Great Song Farm’s skills checklists.
Apprenticeship details: We are seeking 2 apprentices for the 2017 season from April until November.
Apprenticeship focus will be on vegetable production including greenhouse seeding and care, direct seeding, field preparation, making and applying compost, cultivation and weeding, transplanting, harvesting, washing, and interaction with CSA members. Pasturing of cows is also included. Most of the work in the vegetables is hand work in a minimal to no till intensive planting situation on permanant beds with living pathways.
We participate in the local CRAFT (collaborative regional apprentice farmer training) program which is a group of farms in the area who host apprentices for a tour of their farm and a presentation on a particular aspect every other week.
Housing: On farm housing is provided.
Compensation: We share vegetarian lunches. Apprentices are supplied with vegetables from the farm, and eggs when available. A general stipend is included.
Work schedule: Our workweek is Monday through Friday and Saturday Morning. There are shared, rotating weekend animal and greenhouse chores.