Farm at the Arb Apprenticeship
About the Program
This program provides hands-on technical training in local food production for sale and community health. It is offered in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Department of Horticultural Science and Extension. Trainees receive a combination of classroom, lab and field experience at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and partnering farm sites. This includes a 14-week paid work experience in vegetable production at the Arboretum and local farms.
In the spring, the program focuses on the foundations of sustainable agriculture: horticultural plant science, soil fertility, pest management, greenhouse production, and food safety. The program also includes exposure to specialty topics by guest lecturers. Trainees also explore environmentalism and community building in group activities and discussions. The program structure is made of lectures, lab activities, and fieldwork to develop an employable and problem- solving trainee with applicable skills to the industry.
During the summer paid work experience, trainees will work a minimum of 24 hours per week on a commercial vegetable farm or garden. This intensive work experience applies concepts learned in the spring with on-the-job training. The trainee also completes an independent pest and disease management project, S.M.A.R.T goals and a detailed notebook about farm management.
After the summer, each trainee creates a crop plan for the following year and presents it in a public forum. Trainees continue fieldwork at farm sites, completing their skill sets for the program. Finally, trainees create an up-to-date resume, a horticulture cover letter and participate in a mock horticulture job interview.