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CEFS Research Technician
North Carolina State University
2015 Small Farm Unit ApprenticeshipsThe Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ SFU Apprenticeship is a hands-on work and study program that trains participants in all aspects of sustainable agriculture production.
The purpose of the SFU apprenticeship is to:
- Equip apprentices with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in their own farming enterprises
- Examine the larger social and equity issues in agriculture
- Build connections between apprentices and others working in the sustainable agriculture field, including researchers, extension agents, university faculty, non-profits, community members, and other farmers
- Develop apprentices’ leadership and teaching skills so that they are able to share their knowledge within their communities
Fundamentals of Sustainable Agriculture Production
The majority of the apprentices’ work will take place on the Small Farm Unit demonstration farm. Working alongside expert CEFS faculty and staff, apprentices experience a full production year from February to November.
- Small-scale production of vegetables, fruits, transplants, cover crops, and livestock
- Certified organic field, high tunnel, and greenhouse production
- Planning for the farm’s mock CSA and community partner donations
- Training, maintenance, and use of farm machinery
- Organic certification and GAPs food safety standards
- Small farm financial management and record-keeping
- Soil science
- Integrated pest and weed management
- Farm sustainability
- Season extension using high tunnels and greenhouses
- Opportunity to work in CEFS’ animal units, including Pasture-Based Beef and Dairy, and Alternative Swine Production
- Hands-on involvement with university-based field research conducted at the SFU and other units
- Opportunity to pursue other production interests through an on-farm personal project
Apprentices will work closely with Small Farm Unit Manager Marisa Benzle, Research Technician Melissa Bell and the Community-Based Food Systems Outreach Coordinator Shorlette Ammons.
Community-Based Food Systems, Education, and Outreach
The SFU Apprenticeship is unique in that it includes a community-based food systems, outreach and education component that examines social and equity issues in agriculture. Apprentices work collaboratively with the Goldsboro community through program partnerships in the following areas:
- Community Garden development
- Discover Ag program
- FoodCorps NC
- Expanded Food and Nutrition Education program (EFNEP) nutrition class and produce donation program
- SWARM (Students Working for an Agricultural Revolutionary Movement) Youth Program
Additional Learning Opportunities
- Weekly lecture series on various sustainable agriculture topics given by CEFS faculty and staff
- Opportunities to attend NC Cooperative Extension workshops
- Funding to attend one in-state conference
- A five-part business seminar given by the Wayne County Small Business Center, including assistance by the SBC director in developing a business plan
- Participation in and assistance with educational programs at the Small Farm Unit and on other CEFS units including the CEFS Seasons of Sustainable Agriculture (SOSA) workshop series
Based on their goals, apprentices will be required to develop a self-driven project that focuses on a production, community-based food systems, or research topic.
A limited number of apprenticeships are available.
We offer a small stipend ($100/week), housing with access to a kitchen, and the Internet. Apprentices may attend CEFS workshops free of charge.