We are well into recruiting and matching apprentices and host farms for the program, and the excitement of our applicants is contagious. Heidi Marcinik, a photographer and web designer, is one of our inaugural apprentices. She has already begun her own farming journey, and is hoping to gain the knowledge and skills to scale her operation by apprenticing with Ryan Kirkpatrick at Kirkpatrick Family Farms. Here’s why she’s excited for her apprenticeship, in her own words:

“A year ago, I was given the opportunity to start a growing operation on a friend’s farm and in the process of investigating that direction I realized I was clueless about that scale of growing. Luckily I stumbled upon the Growing Growers Program and am looking forward to learning about how to plan, what and how much to plant, indoor seed starting, hoop house set-up, soil management, weed and pest control, and succession planting.”

Another apprentice, Alejandro Pineda, is looking forward to studying horticulture at Johnson County Community College in the fall, and he is excited to jumpstart his education with a Growing Growers apprenticeship. He has yet to finalize a host farm match, but here’s what he says about the program:

“Even though Kansas is an agricultural state, there are surprisingly few colleges that support the type of horticulture program that I have been looking for. The Growing Growers program is a great opportunity for me to make the first steps towards the career I’ve been dreaming of and get actual work experience with local, small-scale businesses.”

Growing Growers ICT has a unique opportunity to recruit and equip a new generation of growers, which will significantly impact our local food economy. Won’t you be involved in this exciting movement?

How to get involved:

The application deadline to serve as a host farm has passed, but if you are still interested in the program, don’t hesitate to apply anyway. We are looking to build our base of host farms and your commitment will go a long way in helping us do so. Learn more about being a host farm.

If you know someone who wants to be an apprentice, send them to our website! The application deadline is fast approaching, but since we have an abundance of host farms, we are willing to work with applications arriving after March 4. Learn more about being an apprentice.

The workshop series will be confirmed soon, so keep a look out for dates and topics. Everybody is welcome to attend the workshop series, regardless of participation in the program, although there is a small fee for the general public ($15 for half day and evening workshops; $30 for full day workshops, including lunch). Workshops will be a great way to connect with other farmers and apprentices, visit other local farms to see the diversity of farming methods and models in our community, and to refresh yourself on technical and business information. We would love to have you!