Whether you have two green thumbs or can't keep a cactus alive -- even if, like Gut Check, you purchase rare orchids from grizzled old men who live out of their pickups on the back roads of Florida -- EarthDance
wants the opportunity to shape you into a bona fide farmer.
From the basics (you plant a seed, something grows) to selling your harvest at the market, EarthDance's apprenticeship program will ground you (ha!) in basic farming techniques.
Now, this is no small commitment. The apprenticeship runs 35 weeks from February to November and involves classes (plant biology, pest and disease problems, composting and more) as well as field trips. And, yes, you'll get your hands dirty, studying for ten hours each week at Mueller Organic Farm
What can you expect to sow -- and, assuming you don't have the Touch of Death -- reap at EarthDance?
"We grow a variety of crops ranging from vegetables, herbs and fruit. We respond to the things that the markets request and/or what the chefs want," says Rachel Levi, the farm and community education coordinator at EarthDance.
Levi adds, "We work with ten other farmers and agricultural agents and they are pretty open with sharing their knowledge."
Since the apprenticeship program began in 2009,
72 students, ranging from high-school students to 60-somethings, have completed the program. And the benefits they've enjoyed aren't just edible.
"I have known people who have found jobs out of participating in the apprenticeship," Levi says. "A couple of our graduates have gone into employment with our organization."
The apprenticeship welcomes all who apply. Tuition for the program is $750, and participants gain a share in the EarthDance CSA.