North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program > Participating Mentor Farms

tani creek farmTani Creek Farm is on a beautiful island in the Puget Sound that is still mostly forested and has very little farmland.  The farm uses only rainwater via ponds to irrigate, and solar power to run all electricity. We grow on a southwest facing slope, landscaped with swales and berms to catch all runoff water/irrigation. There is a unique and very diverse orchard. In addition to utilizing permaculture design and biodynamics, we grow out a lot of OP biodynamic and organic vegetable varieties for seed. We are also doing year round production on the farm in solar heated high tunnels during the winter. We are a small family farm/market garden/CSA that also sells to our local restaurants and stores all within a few miles of the farm. Our focus is to provide affordable, quality, nutrient dense, organic food to our local community.

Size of farm: 25 acres total, all certified organic

Diversity of produce and livestock: 1 acre mixed vegetables, 2.5 acres mixed fruit trees/shrubs, 2.5 acre pasture, Alpine and Nubian dairy goat herd, numerous varieties of heritage geese and ducks, and chickens.

Skills that can be learned: See Tani Creek Farm's Skills Checklists (PDF).

Apprenticeship details: Apprentices work five days a week and are involved in all farm work. As we are such a small crew, this apprenticeship provides a unique opportunity to participate in all aspects of the farm.  At the same time it is an intensive working situation and therefore requires someone who can communicate well with others, has a positive attitude, is reliable and truly committed. We are also looking for someone who works well independently and is responsible enough to manage/oversee the farm, including greenhouses and livestock when necessary. Prior farming experience preferred but not necessary. 

Throughout the season we go to other farms/conferences and also have an extensive library of eco-agricultural and biodynamic books and journals available for use. Training includes the following; the necessary record keeping for NOP compliance. Laying irrigation, propagation, cultivation, harvesting/packing, composting, CSA management/accounting, working the farmers market, and taking care of livestock. Working with Biodynamic preparations and planting calendar. Organic seed breeding, selection, and saving. Opportunities to learn/do butchering, milking, making cheese, fermentation, ayurvedic cooking, as well as food processing in a certified kitchen. 

Apprentices are paid a stipend, as well as provided housing in a shared intern house on the island (individual transportation is necessary). Access to as much organic produce as one wants.

Apprenticeship beginning May/June through September/October (dates flexible)

Name of farmer: Max Sassenfeld

Address: 3377 Tani Creek Road, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110


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