We are members of the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) in Southwestern Ontario, which is an informal, member-driven network of farmers that offer internships on their organic and ecological farms. The goal of CRAFT Ontario is to enhance the internships offered by its member farms. The primary method of doing this is to offer regular field trips which usually take place at selected CRAFT farms. We are founding members of CRAFT Ontario.
An apprenticeship with Meeting Place Organic Farm is an exchange. An apprentice receives meals, housing, instruction, access to a vast library and knowledge base and experiential education in exchange for their labour and the skill base that they bring to the farm.
Why apprentice with us?
Meeting Place Organic Farm offers a combined 100 years of experience with organic, sustainable farming. As a diversified operation, we teach you a broad set of farm skills that range from animal husbandry, to wood lot maintenance and chain saw skills, fruit tree pruning, gardening- from planning through harvesting and preserving, marketing, business management using Holistic Management, conflict resolution and working with draft horses, among many other things. There are the incredible people resources of Fran, Tony and Katrina, which you can formally and informally learn from, but we also have a huge resource library, many connections to other farms and producers so that your learning doesn’t have to be limited to our farm. Apprentices participate in the monthly CRAFT days at the other farms in our node as well as in the mega days with all of the other CRAFT farms and apprentices in Southwestern Ontario.
Generally our apprenticeships run full season from mid-March through to the end of October, but we are open to shorter stays if there are complicating factors. Arriving in mid-March means that you get the experience of pruning, starting seeds and caring for seedlings, snow removal with our draft horses, fire wood collection from the woodlot, and any special projects that are starting in the spring.
In 2017 we are adding a community shared garden and potential flower CSA to the mix of livestock, orcharding and other farm experiences.
We generally work 6 days a week from about 7am to 6pm with breaks for breakfast, lunch and a nap/rest. There are times (like haying) when we work later into the evenings and on Sundays, due to weather and urgency. We take turns being responsible for chores on Sunday, so you could expect to be on for Sunday chores about once a month. We strongly encourage apprentices to take some time away from the farm, as long as it is arranged and planned with us in advance so that we can make sure it isn’t going to land in the middle of haying season or some other “all hands on deck” time.
Apprentices are housed in the Lodge (with Katrina) or large canvas prospector tents. Apart from the farming, apprentices are very much a part of our family/farm living community: we share responsibilities for making meals, doing clean up, playing games, going to the beach, watching movies, going to Blyth plays and everything else that you’d do with your housemates/family.