When should I apply?
You may apply year-round for apprentice positions. If there is a farm you are especially interested in, we recommend that you apply as early as possible, most farms begin the hiring process in December or January. Many farms have limited positions available and fill quickly.
When do farms update their profiles?
Farmers typically update their profiles in November and early December. If the office is currently awaiting their renewal, their status will be indicated by “Being Updated” in the “# of Positions Available” column on the main listings page. You are welcome to apply to farms during this renewal period. Most farms only update or refine a few aspects of their profile, so they typically remain the same form one year to the next. However, some farms do a complete update to all aspects of their profile. Please keep this in mind when applying during this time period.
I’m only available for a few weeks or a month. What are my options?
Apprenticeships may begin any time during the year, and last for any duration, but most farmers are looking for apprentices who will commit for the entire growing season (early March through late October) or longer. The usual apprenticeship is an immersive practicum involving labor in return for room and board, instruction, and experience. You are welcome to apply and indicate your time constraints on your application, but you may also want to consider a separate program, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). Their website acts as a resource for individuals who want farm stays for a shorter time period.
I'm applying from outside the United States, what are my options? Unfortunately, we are not able to assist international applicants further than the application process as we do not have the resources to assist with securing a work VISA.
What opportunities exist for families?
Read through the farm profiles that interest you and indicate those that you feel would be an appropriate situation for your family on your application. Many host farms don’t identify themselves as accepting families, but many are willing to consider the possibility. When filling out your application, indicate that you will be apprenticing as a family and include any additional information on your application that will help farmers better understand your situation. Each season we have a few families that apprentice on host farms. However, apprentices need to show initiative and work with their prospective mentors to make it a positive situation for all involved.
I’m open to apprenticing at any farm in Maine. Do I need to pick only twelve farms?
Please pick 12 farms that interest you the most and indicate these on your application. You are also welcome to indicate that you are open to applying to additional host farms in Maine. We will use our discretion and forward your application to appropriate farms as time allows. If you contact the first 12 farms and do not hear back from them do not hesitate to let us know you need further assistance.
When do I receive my welcome packet with the farms’ contact information?
After submitting your application, it will be emailed to the farms you indicated on your application. You will be emailed an apprentice welcome packet, which contains the farm contact information. This process typically takes seven business days. However, if you apply around the time of the Common Ground Country Fair (September 21-23rd, 2012) there may be a longer turn-around.
I’ve received my welcome packet. What next?
Please read the packet’s contents carefully. It contains information that will help you prepare for next steps. You should begin the process of also contacting farmers to set up visits and interviews. Most farmers appreciate prospective apprentices who show initiative and follow-up.
I’m applying form outside of Maine. How important is a farm visit?
On each farm profile, mentor farmers indicate on whether they feel a farm visit is vital. If you are unable to make a farm visit, call your prospective mentor farmer and discuss your situation. A phone interview may be sufficient, but this is at the discretion of the mentor farmer.
I have a pet. Are farms open to having dogs, cats, iguanas, etc?
Pets are at the discretion of your mentor farmer. Some farmers have concerns about the interaction between your pet and their livestock and crops. It is important to have an open and realistic conversation with your mentor farmer regarding your pet.
What does an apprentice get paid?
This is largely dependent on the farm and is indicated explicitly in each profile. The usual apprenticeship is an immersive practicum involving labor in return for room and board, instruction, and experience. Some farms pay a cash stipend in addition.
What about insurance? What happens if I get hurt on a farm?
There are a variety of ways to deal with insurance and it depends on the farmer and their situation. This would be a good question to bring up during your interview.
I’m an apprentice on a farm that isn’t in the MOFGA program. Can I still participate in the Farm Training Project?
Definitely! Simply contact Abby at the MOFGA office to provide your contact information for the farm where you are apprenticng. We can send you these notices by email and by postcard.
I’m open to apprenticing outside the state of Maine. How do I find these apprentice farms?
MOFGA’s apprenticeship program covers the state of Maine and a few farms on the Maine/New Hampshire border. Other counterpart organizations that provide apprenticeship matching or program services include ATTRA, the various NOFA Chapters, GrowFood.org, Organic Volunteers, the Greenhorns, Rural Heritage, CCOF, and Oregon and Washington Tilth. A well-executed google search will turn up info on most of these programs. Of course, MOFGA can not endorse or recommend any particular program.
Farms participating in the MOFGA Apprenticeship program are not vetted by MOFGA, and a listing on MOFGA's web site does not imply an endorsement. While we try to provide information and tools to both apprentices and mentor farmers to ensure the best possible experience, we do not have the resources or expertise to police Apprentice-Mentor relationships, or to act as arbiters in apprentice-mentor disputes. Participants are expected to do their own due diligence and not enter into any situation, either living or working, without serious consideration.