Apply for our 2020 Farm Apprenticeship
About the Apprenticeship
Amber Waves Farm began our Apprenticeship Program in 2012. Since then, we have trained 30 new farmers, many of whom remain actively involved in food and agriculture locally and around the world. Our goal is to grow new farmers and informed eaters through hands-on training, mentorship and additional educational opportunities. We are wholly committed to training new farmers in order to strengthen our national food system and security and to providing careers for talented young people eager to enter the field of agriculture.
Our Apprenticeship Program trains new farmers in the art of sustainable agriculture over a season-long, hands-on work experience. Over several seasons of working with apprentices, we have developed an intensive Apprenticeship Program Curriculum, which is a thorough informational resource for farm apprentices to study throughout the course of the season. The curriculum covers more than 20 key topics ranging from soil science to whole farm planning, each of which is integral to understanding a small, diversified farm operation.
Season after season, our energetic and driven crew is the lifeblood of daily life at the farm, and it has been exciting and rewarding for us to act as mentors to the next generation of American farmers. We believe that these beginning farmers are the most important crop we grow at our farm. We are especially excited about working with young people who are interested in careers in food and farming since our careers in agriculture began through an apprenticeship program.
Amber Waves Farm apprentices will spend a season (March/April - October/November) at the farm learning how to grow food organically and sustainably by working hands-on in all areas of the farm's activities. Apprentices will coordinate with head farmers about day-to-day farm operations, from field work to farmers market preparations. In the field, apprentices will work towards mastering technical skills associated with plant propagation in the greenhouse, crop successions and rotations and soil health, harvesting and post-harvest handling, and tractor work.
In addition to field work, apprentices are actively involved in community outreach and education by preparing for weekly on-farm CSA pick up, representing the farm in our on-site retail market and the nearby Montauk farmers market, and distributing produce to local restaurants and food pantries. If desired, there is also the opportunity for apprentices to have greater involvement with school field trips, community workshops, and other public on-farm events. The intensive production of vegetables requires considerable hand-labor (weeding, harvesting, trellising, etc.), which is accompanied by mechanized (tractor) tillage, cultivation, and preparation of beds. The field work will be very physically demanding, and will require that apprentices are motivated and have a good attitude, can tolerate working in inclement weather, and able to lift at least 50-lbs at a time.
There is a tremendous amount to be learned in a first season at Amber Waves Farm, where hands-on fieldwork dominates the workday and daily repetition of critically important tasks are what drive an apprentice's holistic understanding of the farm operation. To supplement fieldwork, we provide an apprenticeship curriculum and handbook that outlines weekly educational topics throughout the season. We begin with topics associated with getting the season started: including pruning, mulching, plant propagation, seedling care, and equipment and safety overview. As the season progresses, topics include plant and soil health in the field, irrigation, harvest, post-harvest handling, marketing produce successfully, and finally whole-farm planning, budgets, and a season review. Apprentices will explore topics with head farmers during a weekly meeting, group field walk, and recommended reading assignments.
The farm also participates in the local CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) Program and throughout the season apprentices have the opportunity to attend workshops and lectures led by other farmers, tour neighboring farms and food operations, and participate in work exchanges. Attendance at the NOFA Summer Conference in Amherst, MA is also encouraged and paid for by the farm. Upon completion of the farming season, the aim is for each apprentice to have the foundational understanding and skill set necessary to move on to more advanced work in agriculture or food policy elsewhere, or to remain at Amber Waves Farm for additional seasons in a more advanced role at the farm as many past apprentices have done. Since 2012, more than 30 young farmers have completed our apprenticeship program, many staying on as farm staff for multiple seasons.
Ideal candidates will have the following qualifications:
genuine interest in agricultural production, with the intention to continue a career in food or agricultural post-apprenticeship
strong physical and mental work ethic and sense of pace and self-awareness
ability and willingness to collaborate and work well with others, including coworkers and the public
desire to learn and improve one's skillset and knowledge base
prior agricultural experience is not required, although any work or study in the field of food or agriculture is a desirable attribute to apprenticeship applicants
Note on housing: The farm rents housing to farm crew members if desired; living in farm housing is not a requirement for the apprenticeship.
COMPENSATION: this position is : hourly, $13/hr
one page resume
three work or school related references (a reference from someone for whom you worked or studied in an agricultural contact is ideal)
More About Working at Amber Waves Farm
Amber Waves Farm is entering its twelfth season as a mixed vegetable farm on the easternmost end of Long Island. The farm owns and leases a total of 25 acres on three fields, raising 15 acres of vegetables, 10 acres of grains, and a small flock of laying hens. The farm’s production serves a 180-member CSA and an on-site retail farm market and kitchen, a nearby weekly farmers market, and restaurant wholesale accounts. Amber Waves is located in downtown Amagansett and is a popular destination for families and foodies who visit the farm to shop in the retail market and tour the fields. The farm is deeply involved in intensive educational work with nearby schools and the public, which includes frequent field trips, tasting tours, demonstrations, and public events at the farm. While the farm is not certified organic, we do subscribe to the Northeast Organic Farmers Association’s (NOFA) "Farmer's Pledge" program of growing fruits, vegetables, and grains organically.
Amber Waves Farm is a fun, fast-paced work environment where we champion good ideas, hard work, common sense and follow-through. Each day we work towards improving our methods, expanding our knowledge base, and becoming a better all-around farm. We simultaneously promote efficiency and the production of high quality food in the fields alongside a celebration of kindness and collaboration among the crew, and openness and outreach to the community. The physical nature of the work is both challenging and rewarding, as is the considerable time we farmers spend interacting with the public both on and off the farm. The entire Amber Waves Farm team at the height of the season consists of about 50 people including not only farmers but also educators, retail market staff, and kitchen staff. The field crew typically consists of 9-12 people, including first and second year Apprentices, a Crew Leader, a Field Manager, the farm’s full-time founding farmers, and part-time summer help.