Thank you, Apprentices of 2017!
Our apprenticeship program is 20 years old! Wow!!
Each year we take on 3-4 people as apprentices who want to learn more about agriculture. Mostly, they do not come to us wanting to be farmers, rather they want to know more about growing food and tending to it. But they leave with more than they ‘signed up for.’
Our apprenticeship program begins in April. Each person steps into the program with their own expectations and anticipations. Yet, they are all a bit tentative, wanting to do a task correctly and listening closely to direction. They begin to experience what it takes to bring food to the table.
Each apprentice (with guidance from one of the main farmers) takes on growing out a vegetable. They take the crop from sowing the seed, to transplanting, to observing and maintaining it, then to harvest. There are so many details in between! How deep to plant the seed. Which seeder to use. How many rows get planted in a bed. Does it need to be trellised. What about bugs and disease. How does one know when it’s ready to harvest. And, lastly, when is the crop finished. And this is only a small part of their experience. The day-to-day is about hoeing, hand-weeding, harvesting, tying up tomatoes, putting up pea fencing, taking down pea fencing, lifting and stacking 60 lb. bags of potatoes, beets, carrots, etc., etc. And after a full day, they all go home to Chan’s (the apprentice housing), dancing around each other as they make their dinner, taking showers and finding time for themselves. Phew! This is living in community!
And then there are all of you. Each apprentice feels embraced by the CSG community on pick-up days, at our Open House, workshops, the Harvest Dinner, and the Harvest Festival. We are all being nourished by the land and each other.
So what do they leave with? They leave us with a new look in their eyes, a stronger stride to their walk. They’ve learned how to cook with new vegetables, how to keep up the spirit when it’s too cold or too hot. They’ve developed a keener sense of observation. They’ve learned to live and work with people they have never known before. But most importantly, they’ve learned they have a home here at the CSG. Home . . . always here with a loving embrace.
And here we are in the season of thanksgiving. It’s an opportunity for us to express our gratitude to our apprentices for their steadfastness, their big-hearted spirit, and good humor (belly laughs around the lunch table carry us a long way!). They’ve been an integral part of bringing food to your table. And now, we send them off with loving hearts.