Ivy Creek Apprentices

Learn Through Working
We work side-by-side with apprentices and provide extensive training through the activities we complete. In their time on the farm, apprentices can expect to:
  • Seed new plants in the propagation house and care for seedlings
  • Participate in daily propagation house management including watering, hardening off plants, potting up plants, temperature management (manning the wood stove in the winter and roll up sides and fans in the summer), and propagation house feeding
  • Prepare the soil and beds for planting including laying compost and laying landscape fabric
  • Plant seedlings and direct seed crops
  • Cultivate, weed, and mulch plants and shrubs
  • Apply row cover to avoid pest pressure and protect plants from extreme weather
  • Irrigate using our drop irrigation systems and direct watering tractor implements
  • Harvest 40-50 different crops-including seasonal vegetables, flowers, and mushrooms (plus strawberries in May!) 
  • Wash and pack crops for CSA, market, and wholesale
  • Organize and manage packing house activities
  • Sell at market 
  • Make weekly deliveries to restaurants
  • Help with general farm maintenance and chores
  • and more!
Apprentices can expect long days in the sun and rain, hard physical work, and hours and days doing repetitive tasks. We do a weekly farm walk with apprentices and also offer periodic classes on subjects that interest the current group of apprentices. Past classes have included: propagation house managment, shiitake mushroom production, business management, cover cropping,  irrigation systems  and even hands-on lessons in things like changing the oil in a car and tractor maintenance. 
Desired Experience and Skills
No previous gardening or farming experience is necessary for an apprentice to succeed during their time on our farm. However, past experience in working physically  or a deep desire to work physically and be in the elements (rain, sun, hot and cold) is important. We work at a fast pace and so being physically fit helps apprentices to feel comfortable during workdays. Most importantly, successful apprentices have a great attitude about working hard, take suggestions and critiques gracefully, and can collaborate successfully with others. 
Compensation includes $400-$650 a month depending on experience, a private room in our apprentice cabin, farm seconds, food staples and a stipend for crew lunches. Apprentices have the opportunity to take on leadership roles within specific areas of the farm including mushroom production, propagation house management, and more. 
Community and Continuing Education
Apprentices connect with the community and have additional learning opportunities through Ivy Creek's membership to CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training).  As members, our apprentices are invited to participate in a series of monthly farm visits and workshops around Western North Carolina.  We also offer apprentices stipends to attend other workshops or classes on farming or homesteading subjects in the Asheville Area. We are fortunate that our community offers a wide variety of learning opportunities.  Apprentices also assist with and have enjoyed being a part of the community dinners, farm parties, and music events Ivy Creek periodically holds in our pavilion. 
Apprentices can start working and living at Ivy Creek anytime between the months of February-April. Our ideal is that apprentices begin no later than April 1st and ideally begin  by March 15th, but we are flexible with start dates. Our hope is that apprentices will work with us through October 2016. We offer opportunities for winter work and multi-year work with stipend increases as well.