Training and equipping future farmers who aspire to change our local food system.
The Ecology Center is committed to training the next generation of farmers, chefs, and food system changemakers to lead our culture toward a future of abundance.
Our goal is to help foster regenerative organic farms and purveyors throughout our region of Orange County and beyond, while training the agricultural leaders of tomorrow.
Our Apprenticeship Program is a full-time, 8 month, paid position. For 2023, we will have one Culinary apprentice and three Market Garden apprentices on the farm from March through October. Below you will find the duties and responsibilities of our apprentices:
MARKET GARDEN APPRENTICESHIP
Market Gardens, small scale farm operations, are integral to building a healthy, local food system. Most aspiring young farmers in Southern California often do not have access to large swaths of land due to urban sprawl, real estate costs, and diminishing farmland. There are, however, significant amounts of land with one to five acre parcels in urban and suburban spaces that have the potential of becoming a sustainable local food source for communities in Orange County and beyond. Our Market Garden Apprenticeship is an ongoing initiative to mentor the next generation to create meaningful agribusinesses out of human scale agriculture operations.
• Using soil-building techniques such as crop rotation, cover cropping, amending, and composting
• Learning and managing our irrigation systems and water conservation practices
• Using hand tools, broadforks, walk-behind tractors, collinear hoes, and more
• Co-leading weekly plantings and harvests
• Post-harvest handling such as wash-and-pack and cooler management
• Organic management of pests, disease, and weeds
• Various tasks such as seed saving, crop planning, and tractor work
With over 40% of produce grown in the United States ending up in landfills, finding creative solutions to foster a more sustainable food system is more important than ever. Our Culinary Apprenticeship is an opportunity for aspiring chefs and pantry-product purveyors to gain first-hand experience in working within a waste-led design system. The Culinary Apprentice will support our community nourishment efforts while learning practices that foster an ecological food future. With the department in its infancy, this person will play an important role in shaping the culinary program alongside the rest of the team.
• Gain first-hand knowledge of farm-to-table efforts within a zero waste system
• Learn preservation and pantry product techniques to minimize waste and nourish the community by repurposing surplus produce into value-added products
• Deepen their understanding of the relationship between culinary and food systems through supporting on-site events, including Community Table dinners, Peace Pizza, and more
• Lead our culinary education efforts for our children’s programs and adult workshops
• Assist with day-to-day operations and food preparation in our upcoming Campesino Café
The Kirstie Hibbard Scholarship Fund
Honoring the life of Kirstie Hibbard through the mentoring of the next generation of farmers.
If you are interested in funding this mentorship, please contact [email protected]