A Program in Community Agriculture
April 10, 2016 - April 7, 2017
The Esalen Farm & Garden Apprenticeship is an intensive, 12-month residential program dedicated to the idea that agriculture can be a powerful vehicle for positive social, environmental, and personal transformation. Our mission is to equip grower/educators with the technical skills, educational training, and leadership experience that they will need to become change agents within their communities. We are looking for teachers, pollinators, disseminators – individuals as passionate about sharing their skills, inspiration, and know-how as they are about growing food.
The apprenticeship program is a combination of applied hands on education through work in the field, formalized class time, field trips, and structured feedback sessions. The staff to student ratio of 1:2 creates a rich learning environment throughout the day while supervisors and apprentices work side by side. The scheduled education sessions allow apprentices to deepen knowledge and skill of both core concepts and specialized topics.
While cultivating and restoring our relationships with the earth, the Farm & Garden also tends to our relationships with ourselves and with each other. We believe regular and constructive communication is of paramount importance in fostering a healthy, well functioning work environment. We engage in daily, weekly, and monthly check-in practices that contribute to a culture of what we call “Relational Agriculture.” Authentic dialogue and feedback loops are integral to our work environment and are practiced in both educational and personal settings.
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