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Farm & Garden Apprenticeship Program

It has been an honor to spend six months steeping myself in the teachings of the land and its stewards. Working side-by-side with the Farm and Garden supervisors, absorbing their lessons, observing their teaching style and listening to them think out loud about their work has been deeply instructive. The Farm and Garden staff create, organize and manifest a holistic apprenticeship experience. The practical training goes hand-in-hand with finding personal meaning and connection with the land and its caregivers. The Farm and Garden department models how to live and work together in sustainable and authentic ways.

              —Carrie, 2012 Farm and Garden Apprentice

The Esalen Farm and Garden is looking for dynamic people to join our sustainable, holistic Farm and Garden Apprenticeship program. The farmers and gardeners at Esalen cultivate four acres of marine terrace, on temperate land between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The land is rough, dramatic, and majestic.

We work hard each day providing a large portion of the produce that the Esalen Kitchen uses to feed our 250-350 guests every day, while also educating hundreds of people every year.

The Esalen Farm and Garden exists in a landscape of constant transition and transformation. In any given year we utilize many traditions and modes of farming: organic, biodynamic, permacultural, and bio-intensive. The Farm and Garden is a true reflection of Esalen as a whole: we wear our dogmas lightly, we go with the flow, we experiment, and we constantly evolve our practices.

During your apprenticeship, you will not only become an integral part of the Farm and Garden’s daily operations, you will be immersed in the ever-evolving community of seekers at Esalen. Apprentices will achieve competency in the fundamental aspects of farming and gardening, including propagation and greenhouse work, watering, bed preparation, composting, transplanting, sowing, weeding, harvesting, seed saving and processing, and occasional preparation for events and market sales.

An anticipated use or application for your apprenticeship experience is a big plus — we want to grow farmers and gardeners with a passion for taking their skills and knowledge back out into the world away from Esalen. Therefore, we expect our apprentices to regard the Apprenticeship Program as the core of their Esalen experience and interact with the Farm and Garden in a proactive, self-starting way.

We also expect apprentices to study and perform occasional extracurricular projects and assignments to round out our mostly in-the-field learning. We desire apprentices who can be comfortable and capable while working alone, but are interested in group work, process and facilitation as well. Prior gardening experience is desirable, but not necessary. Physical stamina is a must. We work outside rain, fog or shine!

For more information on the Farm and Garden Apprenticeship program, please explore:

My time growing food on this sacred land on the edge of the world, at a nexus for seekers, healers, artists, yogis, musicians, and dancers, totally transformed me.  We planted, tended, and harvested food for Esalen’s tables—sometimes in silence but mostly with laughter, singing, and playfulness. My apprenticeship has not only given me an array of life skills, it deepened my reverence for food and my gratitude to farmers and pickers whose labor puts food on my plate. Esalen continues to be a “connector” for me and my life is definitely richer for the experience. Visiting always feels like I am home.
                  —Lisa, 2010 Farm and Garden Apprentice
Esalen Farm & Garden Apprenticeship Program Overview

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