Collaboration and Apprenticeships

We are always looking to connect with talented, energetic people with an interest in regeneration.  If you think you might have something to offer and want to learn more about our work and process, get hands-on skills at the research farms or otherwise collaborate please contact us.  Be persistent and if you do not hear back from us it is because we get numerous emails and attend to client work first.  

Apprenticeship Training Program

We look forward to hearing from you about 2019 which will run in the first half of May/end of April. We then hire on 1-2 people for the rest of the summer to perform farm management (horticulture and animal husbandry) building and other projects.  

  1. Review this website and page especially, thoroughly.  
  2. Paypal to (skills@wholesystemsdesign.com) for $10.00 USD to cover application/vetting process and filter out people who are not serious about this enough to invest 10 dollars.
  3. Send a letter and 2 phone references to ben@wholesystemsdesign.com with "Apprenticeship" in the subject. 
  4. Apprenticeship is filled on a rolling basis.

General Overview

We are accepting apprentices on a rolling basis and are offering the following opportunity.

Cost:  A $20 one time learning program fee.  

Topical outline

  • Hands-on practice in developing a regenerative commercial farm with multiple enterprises: including plant propagation and tree planting, medicine-making, vegetable production, forestry systems, earthworks, water systems, surveying, fertility-enhancement, soil production, mushroom production and much more. Apprentices will work alongside Ben Falk, Erica Koch ND, our Permaculture Design Instructor team, and others experienced in these systems.
  • Client consults with Ben Falk to WSD's client sites and site consult locations via WSD - among the most active land consultants in regeneration.
  • Experience at the original WSD research farm with managing and enhancing established systems. This work at an established site will go along with work at the larger new site to form a whole picture of permaculture land use from year 0 to year 15.  
  • Planting and plant-care at the newer site, laying out farm-scale plantings, working with swales.
  • Apprenticeships, employment and eventual land procurement opportunities are potential possibilities for those engaging in this program, but of course cannot be guaranteed.  

What skills will I be exposed to and practice?

General:

Site design consulting
Edible landscape design and installation as well as management over time
Grafting and plant propogation
Medicine making, and plant system establishment
Pollinator promotion
Hand tool use and
maintenance, sharpening and knots 
Fencing
Design, system layouts
Tree planting, earth shaping and earthworks
Site design and management day to day
Animal husbandry
Keyline ID and design/layout 
Vegetables: 
Garden design
Companion planting
Orchard renovation and pruning
Crop rotation
Weed control
Sowing/broadcasting, plant spacing
Successional planting and management
Season extension techniques
Composting Remineralization and 
Erosion control
Irrigation/gravity feed water
Fertility management
Tree/bush crops: 
Propagation of plants from seed. 
Plant ID Water/irrigation systems
And much much more as part of the daily life on a farm and homestead.

For 2019 some of the main learning themes / projects on tap are:
-Grafting and pruning existing trees, this will be what we start with. You will be asked to have some real grafting practice before you arrive so we can hit the ground running.
-Planting (as usual) but not as many trees as in the past. 
-Fencing systems, we’ll be learning fence installation through hands on practice.
-Water/pasture water systems.
-Spring development and capturing of a spring (this is going be especially exciting and a historic event for the rochester farm)
-Plant and other systems management of both the newer site's 4 year old newer agroforestry systems and Moretown’s older 15 year old site.
-Misc other farm and homestead management - splitting wood, building a few things.
-Vegetable garden establishment and management,
-Nursery care, plant propagation, seed starting 2-5 days
-Misc non project learning time/practice/study, field trips/site consultations.
-Animal management/grazing a cow herd, fencing, water movements.
-Days unstructured.
 
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED? 
People with basic carpentry, metalworking, plumbing, animal management, and basic farm skills or skills in the trades are most likely to be selected for these opportunities but are not the only ones selected.

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Grazier/Livestock Manager

Our second research farm has an opportunity for someone to start and/or manage a herd of beef cows (or other large grazing animals) on site.  

Vegetable grower

There's an opportunity on site to grow vegetables for the multi-thousand meals served on site and local markets. Inquire if interested. Ag. soil avaiable along with major equipment needed.  

A portfolio is recommended for most work-related opportunities.