Do you want to be an urban farmer? Are you a horticulture student looking for practical, hands-on learning? Or a home gardener ready to step up to the next level?
Now in our 8th year, CommonWealth offers the opportunity to learn in a hands-on format, in the midst of a working urban farm, growing both vegetables and cut flowers. Our farm includes a hoop house, food forest, composting operation, and rainwater harvesting system. We sell our vegetables and flowers to a 25 person CSA (subscription vegetable service), local restaurants and local florists. We also have a strong educational component, including Saturday “CommonWork” community volunteer times, farm tours and Garden School classes.
Our staff has decades of experience in home gardening, community gardening and market gardening. We offer the opportunity for you to work alongside us, and learn about diverse areas of urban farming: planning, record-keeping, data analysis, planting, weed/pest/disease prevention and control, soil and plant health, composting, harvesting, post-harvest processing, marketing, community relations, advocacy, bio-remediation, rainwater harvesting, and long-term sustainability of farm and farmer.
The Nitty Gritty
Apprentices make a 3 month commitment of 8 hours per week of volunteer time. Every Monday morning, staff and apprentices meet together to focus on the topic for the week, plus review homework. In addition to that time, each apprentice can choose what hours work best for them, within these time slots: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays from 8 am to noon. A small amount of homework will be assigned each week.
Our learning method is hands-on. For each new skill and task, we’ll show you how to do it, supervise you while you learn, then give you a chance to demonstrate your skill and eventually teach it others. We want apprentices to learn new skills, and learn them well!
The spring apprenticeship program is from March through May.
The summer apprenticeship program is from June through August.
The fall apprenticeship program is from September through November.
A $100 deposit is due upon being accepted into the apprenticeship program. This is fully refunded upon completion of the 3 month program.
Urban Farming Certificate upon Completion of Apprenticeship
Each person who successfully completes the apprenticeship program, including the checklist of specific skills, will receive a certificate in Urban Farming from CommonWealth.
- Positive attitude, flexibility, self-motivation, commitment to sustainability.
- Ability to work well on a team, as well as to work alone and unsupervised at times.
- Ability to work in all kinds of weather: hot, cold, windy or wet.
- Enjoyment of strenuous physical labor, willingness to learn how to work quickly and efficiently.
- Desire to learn and to serve the community with what you learn.
Who Can Benefit?
Anyone who is interested in becoming an urban farmer, or a better home gardener.
To apply for our apprenticeship program, we suggest that you volunteer with us first, to get a feel for our farm, and meet our team. We have volunteer work times every Saturday morning from 9 am to noon. Email us to let us know you are interested! All ages, genders, and ethnicities are encouraged to apply.
Applications for the spring apprenticeship are due by the end of May.
Participating in the Adult Apprenticeship Program at Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans was really the experience that fanned my budding interest in gardening into a flame. I came into the program with a desire to better understand the world of planting, growing, and harvesting vegetables, and I came out with a solid foundation of knowledge beyond what any textbook could provide. The Adult Apprenticeship Program at CommonWealth Urban Farms will provide dedicated volunteers with a full season of experience of what it is like to grow vegetables from seed to table. This knowledge will be gleaned through education sessions from experienced mentors, the learning, emulating, and mastering of a myriad of farm-related tasks, and the completion of a personal project of interest which ends with the sharing of what was learned with the CommonWealth Community.
-Jenna, CommonWealth volunteer