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Living Roots Farm School Apprenticeship Program

Now accepting applications for the 2020 Farming Apprenticeship Program. Full Season and Spring Session Application Deadline is Dec. 31st, 2019. Summer Session Application Deadline is February 29th, 2020. Fall Session Application Deadline is May 31st, 2020.

2020 Farming Apprenticeship Session Dates
Full Growing Season - March 8th, 2020 - November 14th, 2020
Spring Session Only - March 8th, 2020 - May 30th, 2020
Summer Session Only - May 31st, 2020 - August 15th, 2020
Fall Session Only - August 16th, 2020 - November 14th, 2020

 

Are you interested in running your own organic, sustainable, small farm? Or your own gardens or permaculture based growing operation? Does changing your lifestyle to include more sustainable practices interest you? Living Roots Farm and Sustainable Living Center has given a life changing apprenticeship experience to hundreds of people that answered Yes to some of these questions!

This is an intimate, hands-on training program. Instead of the institutional feel of a large university or online program, you get an organic, down-to-earth, human experience. The farm school's intention is to empower apprentices by giving them real life farm and living experience.

General Curriculum Topics

Organic Produce Farming - Crop Selection, Seed Starting, Soil Preparation, Planting, Tending, Harvesting, Season Extension, Tools, Machinery, General Permaculture

Organic Animal Farming - Humane Caretaking for Cattle, Pigs, and Chickens, including Rotational Grazing, Grass-Fed Diets, Basic Butchering Skills

Running a Farm Business - Sales/Marketing, Farmers Markets, CSAs, Online Farmers Markets, Wholesale Business

Wellness & Lifestyle for Organic Farmers - Yoga (optional), Massage (optional), Self-care, Farm-Based Culinary Arts, Sustainable Living (many possibilities, but including fermentation, cheese/yogurt/bread making, off-the-grid living/homesteading skills, herbal medicine making, natural building, food preservation, etc. - depending on apprentice interest and season)

Please note: Farming and other Sustainable Living activities are seasonal. Some topics listed above may not be available certain times of the year. If you are looking for a more complete experience, we suggest you come for an entire growing season (Spring to Fall or an entire 12 months).

Perks of Being an Apprentice at Living Roots

- Access to a Community Garden Plot
- Food is included
- Housing is included
- Use of the farm's healing arts space, creative arts space, and library
- Wifi access in our Arts Center
- Walking distance to lots of hiking, backpacking, canoeing (National Forest, Springs Valley Lake)

Housing

Housing is included and is either in a dorm-style farmhouse or an off-the grid cabin, depending on availability. All apprentices will either use the farmhouse kitchen or the staff kitchen in the arts center (depending on your housing). The apprentice can also choose to live off-site, if they are local.

Cost

In order to make this program accessible to everyone, there is no cost. However, all apprentices will work 3 days a week on the farm (21-28 hours/week plus rotating animal chores). Our costs associated with this educational program, included the housing and food, are reduced by the work that the apprentice does on the farm. The most qualified and committed will be chosen during the application process (please see application instructions below). To be clear, an apprenticeship is both a learning experience and a job - we expect apprentices to come to Living Roots with that kept in mind.

More information

The farm owner and farm school director, Michael Hicks, has been organic gardening and farming since 2002. He has been operating educational aspects within the farm since 2006! Over 200 people have worked with him in an apprenticeship or educational capacity during these years. Many have taken away countless skills and have had many life changing experiences that have helped them live the life they want to live. We welcome you to join our team!

Our market farm produces just about any vegetable you can imagine for our 100 family CSA, Farmers Markets, local coops/natural foods stores, and restaurants. Main crops are garlic/onions, brassicas and hardy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, peppers,and beans. Other crops include: figs (in Hoophouse), stawberries, raspberries, blackberries, melons, Jerusalem artichokes, yacon, eggplant, okra, other roots, etc.  We grow over 300 varieties of produce each year.  Also winter production in 3 hoop houses. And the farm has chickens, pigs, goats, and grass-fed cows which you will also get to work with.

Many past apprentices have received credit and sometimes funding from their college for an internship/apprenticeship.

The apprenticeship is only 3 farm work days a week, giving the apprentice 4 days of flexibility. During these 4 days, it's a possibility for the apprentice to spend more time on the farm (if they want a fuller experience), focus on sustainable living skills (off-the-grid/homesteading skills, culinary arts, healing arts, etc.), personal growth/reflection, or do whatever they like (such as work another job).

How to Apply

Due to a limited number of spots, it's important to get your application in early. Everyone who applies will not be accepted.

Please download the application (please make sure to download the pdf application to your computer, fill it out, then save it) and email a completed application, along with a current photo of yourself, to Michael Hicks, at michael (at) indianacommunity.org. Contact us if there are any questions.

What Others Have to Say about their Learning Experiences at Living Roots

"Words can not express my gratitude for finding Living Roots. This is a true haven that provides the perfect environment to nurture and revitalize your mind body and spirit. It is hard not to feel at home with such compassionate staff and fellow farmers. I came in as a first time WWOOFer with no prior experience and was offered an unbelievable degree of skills and knowledge through the compassionate teachings offered by Michael, the owner of Living Roots Farm. Places like this are exactly what this planet needs and I feel honored to have been a part of it. I will always carry the skills that were given to me at Living Roots to build the best life possible for myself and those around me." Brooke R.

"I was a work exchanger at Living Roots Farm during the summer of 2019. Living Roots quickly felt like a home to me. It is an incredibly fulfilling place to live, especially for environmentalists. Living Roots is a place where you can exist with a low carbon footprint, using sustainable and effective farming techniques. I was impressed by the integrity of those making Living Roots a success. Everyone living and working on the farm while I was there had a story to tell. I encountered many unique and valuable perspectives. These people helped me learn and mature a great deal!" Lena M.

"Living and working at Living Roots Farm and Sustainable Living Center has been by far one of the most transformative experiences of my life. As far as food goes, the abundance of crops, even in the winter while I was there was astonishing and the amount of fresh produce, eggs, and meat we all got to share was very generous compared to other farms I've worked on. The work at Living Roots Farm was super rewarding and Michael's very knowledgeable and eager to share his tried and true practices but is also open to trying out new methods. If you want to experience what life is like on a real farm I cannot recommend Living Roots Farm and Sustainable Living Center highly enough." Kendra J.

"Michael has an extremely beautiful property and I'm so glad I got the chance to be a part of team even though it was for such a short amount of time. He's very knowledgeable about farming and homesteading as well as massage therapy and I was extremely impressed with how much I got to learn from him. I would definitely recommend Living Roots to anyone wanting to learn new things and experience a very raw type work." Abagail B.

"Michael taught me many valuable farming lessons." Thadius W.

An original song and video written by Virginia B., a former farm apprentice: 'O Southern Indiana'

"I apprenticed at Living Roots for 7 months.   My younger brother (who joined the apprenticeship for the last two months of my stay) and I wanted to start our own farm. Aside from an eagerness to learn organic farming, we had very little farm-life experience...I learned how to live a mostly off grid, holistic farming lifestyle through this apprenticeship. We were taught to balance the yang of farm work with the yin of healing arts, such as, Yoga and massage. Michael is a great friend, farmer, and mentor, who grows high quality food in a way that focuses around sustainability, soil health, and supporting our ecosystem. We learned how to run a Farmers Market, CSA, and how to prepare the food we grew into delicious meals! Farming can be challenging on many levels but, it is the most rewarding work I've ever done. There are many skills I've learned from this apprenticeship which I still apply to my work/life today… We are so very grateful for the experiences we had at Living Roots. We made great friends and had the chance to learn from one of the best Farmers around!" Raymond P.

"My experience at Living Roots was enlightening in ways I did not expect.    The holistic program put me in touch with my roots through daily farm work, healing practices and pure, healthy foods.  Even my dreams vividly expressed the transformative lifestyle that I was leading!  All in all, it helped me to rediscover my own path and move down it with newfound confidence."  Rachel M.

"One of my favorite aspects of the apprenticeship was learning body kinesthetics and massage. Michael is an excellent massage instructor, and I feel as though my training was better than what you'd receive in massage school. It really takes your farming experience to the next level!:" Jen H.

"Mother Teresa once said, "There is no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and working with people who can make a difference. They get the benefit of your participation and you gain a direct understanding of the real problems and potential solutions." After my summer as an apprentice with Living Roots, I know this to be true. I have never walked away from any other experience with the same sense of having both given and received so much (both physically and mentally), which I attribute both to the inclusivity of the community at Living Roots, and also the wide spectrum of topics that the program covers. I entered the program hoping to gain a better understanding of how small, organic farming could be successfully carried out, and I without a doubt did - but I also took so much more from it." Hannah L.

"I interned at the farm.  I had come originally for only 10 weeks but after learning quite a bit about starting plants, massage, and energy in general in the first 2 weeks I had decided it was best to stay and nearly a whole season.  I wanted to know if those little tiny plants we had transplanted into such a big, stormy world would really grow large and produce food.  Sure enough even the scrawniest 2 inch tomatoes grew taller than me by July!  Micheal let me take on quite a bit of responsibility training new interns as they came, caring for the sales at the Jasper farmers' market, even getting the chance to manage that market, and be a part of the decision-making of daily farm tasks.  By the end of the 6 months I felt ready to start my own small farm.  I also enjoyed the weekly massage sessions as they were both greatly needed considering the consistent physical labor on a farm and also Michael teaches the techniques thoroughly and with care.  Finally, the Jasper community as whole I found very welcoming, interesting, and enjoyed a number of new, interesting friendships in my time there." Mackenzie S.

"Being an apprentice, taught me to be more connected to the Earth, the body of community, and ultimately back to myself.  In order to successfully apprentice, I feel that one needs to fully embrace the idea of service to others. The apprenticeship program provides the opportunity to do this; not simply on an intellectual level, rather as a full embodiment of love for this planet.  This program offers maximum benefit by integrating the healing arts with organic farming.  I am now equipped with whole new skillsets, perspectives, and a phenomenal sense of wellness and community." Shristi T.

"I really enjoyed my 3 weeks in this farm...fresh, organic and healthy food from the garden, yoga class and massage a such good combination with the hard working...Amanda, Michael and the little Leo are a lovely family, Jasper is a really nice town to live and if you want to learn a lot about permaculture this is the right place: Michael is always enthusiastic to teach you everything! and what satisfaction to prepare and go to the farm market!" Iris G.,

"What I like most about the program is the  introduction to the idea of personal health with farming. People growing the plants must be healthy to create healthy yields on the farm. By teaching massage techniques and encouraging yoga and spiritual growth through the apprenticeship program, Living Roots does a great job at providing a unique and educational experience for those interested in farming, permaculture, spiritual growth, and community." Trevor R.

"Living Roots provided me with the opportunity to grow as a person, while never losing its focus as an organic farm operation. I met many awesome people, many of which I would consider great friends now, and was amazed by how welcoming everyone in the community was. Of course, there are boundaries, but when followed and respected, Living Roots can provide you with such a rich experience, socially, economically, and even spiritually. My favorite aspect was the ability to personally interact with the food we were growing, from soil to the plate at such an intricate level. Nothing went to waste, and the sustainable principles I've learned are something that will never leave my mind. " Rob P.

 

 

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Living Roots Inc., 5907 W. County Road 375 South, French Lick, IN 47432





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