Internships and other on-farm educational programs are an excellent training ground to gain practical skills and concrete knowledge of farming, as well as to build relationships within the farming community and to support small farmers.
Local Internship Programs
Internships on Local Farms & Ranches
We have compiled a list of all the farms and ranches in the area that offer internship or apprentice training programs. Please contact the farmers and ranchers directly to discuss any details.
Internships with Local Organizations & Institutions
Biodynamic Apprenticeship, Rudolf Steiner College
Rudolf Steiner College has four apprentice positions annually. Through intensive garden work and unique academic experiences, individuals can gain valuable skills and a deeper understanding of biodynamics and small-scale farming.
Center for Land-Based Learning - California Farm Academy
The California Farm Academy’s six month program takes place on a part-time basis, with classes held on evenings and weekends. This innovative program and farm business incubator teaches and mentors new farmers in agricultural production, business planning and marketing of specialty crops.
Living Lands Agrarian Network
Living Lands is a network of independent farmers who work collaboratively to mentor and train interns. The 2012 Internship program is designed for those who have a strong interest in ecological farming and want to learn from those who are actively engaged in their own small-scale farming business. This year, LLAN is offering three internship tracks: Market Garden, Animal Husbandry, and Community Education.
Soil Born Farm Apprentice Program
This apprenticeship exposes aspiring farmers to all aspects of food production including propagation, irrigation, soil management, harvesting, and marketing, and also includes required work in the surrounding community through in the education and food access projects.
Other Training Programs
There are a variety of non-credit courses available throughout the state that offer different levels of support and education for people who want to get into farming or ranching.
Agricultural and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA)
ALBA supports entrepreneurs in developing small farm businesses through the Farm Training and Research Center (FTRC), a 196-acre working demonstration and research farm, and the Rural Development Center (RDC), a bilingual agricultural training and resource.
The Center for Living in Harmony
Valley Center, CA
A non-profit center that provides educational experiences on their 10-acre sustainable agriculture demonstration site and small family farm model.
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
One-day to two-week residential courses on biodiversity, ecological agriculture, organic gardening, permaculture, seed saving, sustainable food systems, watershed restoration, and school gardens.
Ranch Management Consultants
Ranch Management provides week long residential courses and follow-up service support groups), as well as courses in integrated grazing, animal, and business management.
Regenerative Design Institute & Permaculture Institute of Northern California
RDI is a non-profit educational organization that offers introductory workshops and certificate programs in permaculture design.
Solar Living Institute
The Solar Living Institute provides inspirational environmental education and workshops on permaculture, organic food, alternative energy and sustianable beekeeping.
Other Internship Options
The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, provides the most extensive directory of sustainable agriculture internships and apprenticeships -including farms right here in our region.
Agricultural Sustainability Institute, UC Davis
UC Davis offers a breadth of training options in agriculture including a major in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems and the Student Farm, which offers opportunities for hands-on learning and internships.
The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz
CASFS offers practical as well as academic training in the techniques of agroecology and organic farming through the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture, a six month course offering hands-on training at the UCSC Farm and Alan Chadwick Garden, and the UCSC Summer Session courses (the Agroecology Practicum).
Polyface Farms is a family owned and operated farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. They offer a 3-month apprenticeship at their facility as well as several other opportunities with an affiliate farm J & L Green Farms. Check out their website for dates and contact information.
Rouge Farm Corps
The Rouge Farm Corps is made up of 15 participating farms Southern Oregon that provide beginning farmers entry-level training in sustainable agriculture through a cooperative education program.
Small Farm Conservancy
The Small Farm Conservancy houses a form where farmers can post apprenticeship opportunities and aspiring farmers can post the type of situation they are looking for.
Michigan-based Tillers International internships provide practical training from artisans, farmers, and international students in a range of skills relating to small-scale farming, including working with draft animals, woodworking and blacksmithing.