January 17, 2018
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Apprenticeships at MCHT Preserves Offer Unique Opportunities for New Farmers

Community Author: Joelle Albury
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Contact: jalbury@mcht.org
Maine Coast Heritage Trust
Maine Coast Heritage Trust

As educational centers, Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s farm preserves in Rockport – Aldermere Farm and Erickson Fields – attract individuals pursuing careers in agriculture. The lessons they learn go beyond the logistics of farm operations. During their time at the farms, apprentices engage with the community through educational agricultural programs, which teach about the local food system—food production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management– through the lens of environmental conservation and community well-being. This year MCHT will once again offer paid apprenticeships at Aldermere Farm and Erickson Fields. Each apprenticeship will be up to 9-months starting in March and will include a monthly stipend, benefits, shared housing, training and supervision.

At Aldermere Farm apprentices gain experience managing all facets of a beef farm’s operations, including the logistics of hay and baleage production and rotational grazing, and developing annual plans to manage a herd’s health, reproduction and nutrition. Apprentices also help lead ag programs for youth, like the Aldermere Achievers 4-H Club and the Farm Hands after-school program.

Erickson Fields Preserve hosts a 4-acre market garden where local teens and volunteers grow fresh produce for the local food system, supplying mainly food pantries and schools. Last year, the crew distributed 25,000 lbs of fresh produce. The Erickson Fields apprentice will learn all aspects of vegetable production as well as help the farm manager supervise youth and community education programs.

MOFGA’s Apprenticeship Program is working with MCHT to provide apprentices with additional training and networking opportunities. To take advantage of these benefits, applicants may apply at www.MOFGA.org (listings are under Knox County, see KNX-26 for Aldermere and KNX-27 for Erickson). Applications are due Feb. 5. For more information on the application process and the apprenticeships, contact the Aldermere Farm office at jalbury@mcht.org or 207-236-2739.