Interested in becoming a Seed Farm apprentice? The application process at The Seed Farm begins with a visit to the farm, where you will meet our Program Director and work alongside our apprentices. This is the best way to assess whether our new farmer training program is a good fit for you.
4 Steps to Applying
- Schedule a visit to The Seed Farm to meet with our Program Director.
- Apply online. Along with your application, please remember to send us three references and a resume.
- Optional: submit scholarship application if you would like to be considered for a fellowship, need-based financial aid, and/or additional paid labor hours.
- In-person interview with our staff.
Note: Please contact us if you need a hard copy of the application materials mailed to you.
The full cost of our program is $8,400 per year. This tuition includes all on-farm training, Penn State Extension formal courses, printed materials and guides, and other workshops and farm visits that are offered during the training season. Participants are encouraged to apply regardless of financial ability (see scholarship application above).
Financing new farmer training at The Seed Farm
We are committed to providing high-quality training to new farmers regardless of race, creed or gender, and we recognize that many of our participants are interested in options for financing this training.
- Fellowships: Up to 3 high-ranking applicants will be offered merit-based scholarships. Applicants must have at least one full season of full-time experience on a commercial vegetable operation and must demonstrate commitment to an agricultural career. Tuition is reduced to $1,000; and $500 will be returned upon successful completion of the program. Fellows are expected to take on extra responsibility on the farm and to demonstrate good work habits and techniques for the other apprentices. Please submit scholarship application for consideration.
- Labor Hours: Apprentices have the opportunity to spend more time working at the farm while earning an hourly wage. Actual hours available will depend on labor needs of the farm and apprentices' abilities. Applicants may apply for labor hour consideration along with standard financial aid or fellowship application. Please submit scholarship application for consideration.
- Standard need-based financial aid: Available on a case-by-case basis for applicants with demonstrated financial need. Please submit scholarship application for consideration.
- 529 Plan: Past apprentices have successfully used their 529 educational savings plans to cover the cost of tuition at The Seed Farm.
- Apprentices participate in all aspects of running the Seed Farm market garden. Duties include: greenhouse work, soil preparation, site maintenance (mowing and weed-eating), planting, cultivating, harvesting, and marketing.
- All apprentices are expected to attend weekly farm walks, field demonstrations and participate in weekly work meetings.
- Each apprentice will be responsible for managing at least one crop family in the market garden.
- Attend courses offered by Penn State Cooperative Extension, held on weekday afternoons or evenings.
- Fellows, being more experienced and receiving significantly reduced tuition, are expected to assume extra responsibilities around the farm and to demonstrate good habits and techniques for the other apprentices.
- Commercial farming experience is helpful but not required.
- The intention to start or manage a sustainable farm business.
- All apprentices are expected to have a strong work ethic, resourcefulness, ability to problem-solve and work both independently and collectively.
- Demonstrated ability to perform hard, physical work.
- Access to reliable transportation to Emmaus, Allentown, and other farm sites in the area as needed.
- Ability to lift 50 pounds and work for hours at repetitive manual labor.
- Ability to work in all weather conditions, especially heat.
- Familiarity with and access to the internet and Microsoft office programs.
- 20+ hour per week availability.
- Access to reliable transportation.
- December 1: Complete applications due
- December 11: Applicants notified if selected to interview
- Applications received after December 1st will be considered on a rolling basis if spots are available.
For more information about the program, visit our training program page or contact Amy Cook by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 610-391-9583 Ext 16.