5854 Vera Cruz Rd Emmaus, PA 18049 Google Map 610-391-9583 ext. 16

New Farmer Training

Seed Farm apprentices take part in a 8-month program designed to train new farmers in all aspects of managing a diversified vegetable farm. Apprentices are given decision-making responsibility for our two-acre market garden at the Seed Farm site in Emmaus, PA, from seed to harvest to market. Participants learn a variety of skills, including: business and production planning, risk management, soil fertility management, safe operation of farm equipment, disease and insect management, harvest and post-harvest handling, and marketing. On-farm experiential learning is complemented by formal classes through Penn State Cooperative Extension.

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Now accepting applications for 2016 training season.

Beet thinning  High tunnelPhoto credit Allison Czapp.

Meet our 2015 apprentices

Educational Components of our Program

Production Training

  • Greenhouse
  • Seeding
  • Transplanting
  • Irrigation
  • Soils
  • Cover crops
  • Good Agricultural Practices
  • Record keeping
  • Risk management
  • Pest management
  • Weed management
  • Season extension
  • Harvest/ post-harvest
  • Compost management

Crop Project

  • Develop a comprehensive crop plan.
  • Each apprentice responsible for crop selection, fertility, pest management and marketing of a selected crop family.

Equipment Training

  • Tractor Safety and basic operation
  • Small tools for efficiency
  • Tractor based cultivation, seeding,  etc

Formal Courses

  • Exploring the Small Farm Dream
  • Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production
  • Vegetable Business Planner

Business & Marketing

  • Market research
  • Insurance options
  • Assessing financial resources
  • Farmers' Market management
  • Wholesale account management
  • Value-added products
  • Enterprise budgets
  • Business structure
  • Business planning
  • Special events
  • Group/volunteer facilitation
  • Community relations

 Field trip


Time Commitment

DeVidaApprentices receive an average of 20 hours of training per week from early March through the end of October. The weekly schedule consists of a full day of production training every Monday as well as two additional four-hour blocks during the week. Monday sessions are structured learning opportunities formulated for the whole group. Weekday on-farm work blocks will be dedicated to crop projects (i.e. planting, hoeing, managing diseases/pests and harvesting your crop), management areas and equipment training.

In addition to the standard weekly on-farm schedule, apprentices learn other important
aspects of running a farm business by participating in off-farm learning opportunities:

  • Farmers' market shifts: six consecutive Sundays (moving from helper to manager over the course of the rotation)
  • Exploring the Small Farm Dream: 4 weekday evenings in April 
  • Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production: 6 afternoon classes and 6 evening classes
  • Vegetable Business Planner: 6 weekday evenings in September/October

Sample weekly schedule:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
7:00-11:00 All apprentice class    Harvest block (CSA)**     Harvest block (farmers' mkt)**    Farmers' Market^
12:00-4:00   Work block*      
6:00-9:00    PSE course^          

 *Work blocks are scheduled by apprentices and Program Director at the beginning of the season.
**Apprentices choose one of the two harvest blocks to participate in each week.
^These training activities are not held every week.

Labor Hours: Apprentices have the opportunity to spend more time working at the farm while earning an hourly wage. Actual hours available depend on labor needs on the farm and apprentices' ability. Applicants interested in this option should complete a financial aid application.



  • Commercial farming experience is preferred but not required.
  • A site visit with our Program Director.
  • The intention to start or manage a sustainable farm business.
  • All apprentices are expected to have a strong work ethic, resourcefulness, ability to problem-solve and work independently when necessary.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform hard, physical work.
  • Dedication to cooperative working and sustainable agriculture.
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds.
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions, especially heat.
  • 20+ hour per week availability.
  • Access to reliable transportation.

Application Schedule 

  • Applications due: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 
  • After December 1st, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Farm Ride & RunMay 23rd, 2016

    Saturday, July 16, 2016         The Seed Farm5854 Vera Cruz Road S.Emmaus, PA 18049  FEATURING NEW COURSES!62-mile (metric century) ride 35-mile

Introduction to Tractor Operation Short Course: session 2 on 6/29/2016May 18th, 2016

This course offers a unique, hands-on training opportunity in tractor operation for anyone with zero to little prior tractor experience. Click here to learn more and register for this course.

Introduction to Tractor Operation: session 1 on 6/25/2016May 18th, 2016

This course offers a unique, hands-on training opportunity in tractor operation for anyone with zero to little prior tractor experience. Click here to learn more and register for this course.

Have a Question?

Contact Us Online or Call 610-391-9583 ext. 16

Farm Address:
5854 Vera Cruz Rd Emmaus, PA 18049

Mailing Address:
Lehigh County Ag Center 4184 Dorney Park Road Suite107 Allentown, PA, 18104

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