5854 Vera Cruz Rd Emmaus, PA 18049 Google Map 610-391-9583 ext. 16

New Farmer Training

Seed Farm trainees take part in an 8-month program designed to train new farmers in all aspects of managing a diversified vegetable farm. Trainees are given decision-making responsibility for our two-acre market garden at the Seed Farm site in Emmaus, PA, from seed to harvest to market. Participants learn a variety of skills, including: business and production planning, risk management, soil fertility management, safe operation of farm equipment, disease and insect management, harvest and post-harvest handling, and marketing. On-farm experiential learning is complemented by formal classes through Penn State Cooperative Extension.

Beet thinning  High tunnelPhoto credit Allison Czapp.

Educational Components of our Program

Production Training

  • Greenhouse
  • Seeding
  • Transplanting
  • Irrigation
  • Soils
  • Cover crops
  • Good Agricultural Practices
  • Record keeping
  • Risk management
  • Pest management
  • Weed management
  • Season extension
  • Harvest/ post-harvest
  • Compost management

Crop Project

  • Develop a comprehensive crop plan.
  • Each apprentice responsible for crop selection, fertility, pest management and marketing of a selected crop family.

Equipment Training

  • Tractor Safety and basic operation
  • Small tools for efficiency
  • Tractor based cultivation, seeding,  etc

Formal Courses

  • Exploring the Small Farm Dream
  • Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production
  • Vegetable Business Planner

Business & Marketing

  • Market research
  • Insurance options
  • Assessing financial resources
  • Farmers' Market management
  • Wholesale account management
  • Value-added products
  • Enterprise budgets
  • Business structure
  • Business planning
  • Special events
  • Group/volunteer facilitation
  • Community relations

 Field trip


Time Commitment

DeVidaTrainees receive an average of 20 hours of training per week from early March through the end of October. The weekly schedule consists of a full day of production training every Monday as well as two additional four-hour blocks during the week. Monday sessions are structured learning opportunities formulated for the whole group. Weekday on-farm work blocks will be dedicated to crop projects (i.e. planting, hoeing, managing diseases/pests and harvesting your crop), management areas and equipment training.

In addition to the standard weekly on-farm schedule, trainees learn other important
aspects of running a farm business by participating in off-farm learning opportunities:

  • Farmers' market shifts: six consecutive Sundays (moving from helper to manager over the course of the rotation)
  • Exploring the Small Farm Dream: 4 weekday evenings in April 
  • Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production: 6 afternoon classes and 6 evening classes
  • Vegetable Business Planner: 6 weekday evenings in September/October

Sample weekly schedule:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
7:00-11:00 All trainee class    Harvest block (CSA)**     Harvest block (farmers' mkt)**    Farmers' Market^
12:00-4:00   Work block*      
6:00-9:00    PSE course^          

 *Work blocks are scheduled by trainees and Program Director at the beginning of the season.
**Trainees choose one of the two harvest blocks to participate in each week.
^These training activities are not held every week.

Labor Hours: Trainees have the opportunity to spend more time working at the farm while earning an hourly wage. Actual hours available depend on labor needs on the farm and trainees' ability. Applicants interested in this option should complete a financial aid application.



  • Commercial farming experience is preferred but not required.
  • A site visit with our Program Director.
  • The intention to start or manage a sustainable farm business.
  • All trainees are expected to have a strong work ethic, resourcefulness, ability to problem-solve and work independently when necessary.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform hard, physical work.
  • Dedication to cooperative working and sustainable agriculture.
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds.
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions, especially heat.
  • 20+ hour per week availability.
  • Access to reliable transportation.

Application Schedule 

  • We are not accepting applications for the 2017 season.

Plant SaleJanuary 13th, 2017

    at The Seed Farm, 5854 Vera Cruz Rd., Emmaus, PA 18049 Our 3rd annual Spring Plant Sale will feature a wide variety of high quality plants, along with supplies for your home garden

Spring Plant Sale on 5/13/2017January 6th, 2017

Farm Succession Planning workshop on 1/24/2017January 5th, 2017

Farm Succession Planning workshop Tue, January 24, 2017 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST Allentown, PA 18104   For workshop information, please click here.

Have a Question?

Contact Us Online or Call 610-391-9583 ext. 16

Farm Address:
5854 Vera Cruz Rd Emmaus, PA 18049

Mailing Address:
Lehigh County Ag Center 4184 Dorney Park Road Suite107 Allentown, PA, 18104

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