[Note: This section is from the original 2000 plan and is left here for historcial purposes. For an
up-to-date (2008) version of what we are doing see From Apprentices to Partners.]
While still in the early development stages, this is what we have come up with so
Since the long-term view is for the apprentice to eventually own and
operate the farm business at some point in the future, a staged annual progression of
responsibility and payments will work toward this goal.
During the first two years there will be no ownership or equity in the farm accumulated
by the apprentice. Thereafter, a gradual increase in ownership of the farm as a whole
(equipment & farm business) will accrue to the apprentice via a process yet to be
At the end of each year, both farmers and apprentices will evaluate the situation,
and will be the basis for the decision whether to continue with the relationship.
Apprentices live at the farm, do not have to pay rent, and are available
to work as and when needed (see our Work Schedule).
Pay can either be during the heavy work season or spread out over the entire year.
The total amount will be the same. Payment can be either weekly or monthly. We suggest
off-season employment off the farm if more income is necessary. That's what we do, as do
many small farmers.
Apprentice income will reflect a growing equity in the farm. Hence a portion of their
income will be in cash and a portion in farm equity.
Apprentices will have their own quarters, a cabin suitable for at least three
seasons, which we will help them build in a mutually agreed-upon location. Better
quarters may become available or be built in future.
It is possible that there may be apprentices at different stages of the program at any
one time. We are looking for two or three people altogether. There may also be
occasional outside hired labor at any time during the year. Apprentices may also have
outside jobs which do not have a net detraction upon their involvement in the operation
of the farm.
Ideally farmers and 5+year apprentices will be spending a few years in full partnership
prior to farmers entering into retirement mode.
The following are ideas about how an apprentice is transformed into a farm owner.
Details of each year may be changed based on actual experiences.
Year One: Stipend, room & board, planning, farm work, marketing. Begin building a
3-season apprentice cabin with on-farm and recycled materials and with minimal
Year Two: Same as year one, but with expanded responsibilities. Up to the end of
this stage, apprentice relationship may be terminated by either party without
expectations of equity having been built up.
Year Three: Room & board, planning, farmwork, marketing, share of the profits (or
debts), participation in farm management. Gradual integration of apprentice's expenses
and income with the farm's.
Year Four: Apprentice takes responsibility for at least one entire crop or garden
of their choosing.
Year Five: Becoming a full partner in the farm, including ownership of farm assets.