For Host and Mentor Farmers

Farming in itself involves plenty of commitments. Choosing to take some of this precious time to invest in the future of organic agriculture (our future farmers!) by passing on knowledge and skills is a significant and deeply valued additional undertaking. If you are currently offering apprenticeship or mentorship opportunities, or are considering how you could integrate this for your overall farm plan, see below for a developing list of helpful resources for establishing and improving your approaches to farm-based education. If you have any tips on additional resources to add, just let us know!

*NEW RESOURCE:  Agrarian Apprenticeship: Growing the Next Generation of Ranchers and Farmers – Quivira Coalition – Free PDF Download

*NEW RESOURCE: “Lessons Learned: Effective Apprenticeship and Mentorship Programs” Webinar

*NEW RESOURCE: “Farm Interns, Labour Laws and Fair Compensation for Your Farm Help” The Ruminant Podcast

Beginner Farmer Guides

ACORN First Steps to Certified Organic Livestock Production

The Greenhorns Field Guide for Beginning Farmers

“So You Want to Start a CSA?” Guide – Ontario CSA Farm Directory

SOIL Apprenticeship Manual


Cultivating a New Crop of Farmers: Is On-Farm Mentoring Right for You? Published by the New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI).

Fields of Farmers: Interning, Mentoring, Partnering, Germinating – Joel Salatin 

Developing Farm-Based Education and Mentorship

ATTRA Farm Internship Handbook

   Centre for Intergrated Agricultural Systems – Mentor-Intern Handbook for Dairy and Livestock Farmers

Cultivating Success – Farmer Mentor Handbook

Maine Organic Farming and Gardening Association – Internship in Sustainable Farming – A Handbook for Farmers

North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program Skills Checklists

New England Small Farm Institute – Resources for On-Farm Mentors

NOFA-NY Beginner Farmer Competency Toola tool to provide activities and a comfortable context to monitor, reflect upon and track changes as an aspiring or new farmer goes through a season of farm training. 

Employee/Employer Handbooks and Resources

Positive Practices in Farm Labour Management 

Guide to Developing a B.C. Agriculture Employee Handbook

Hosting Events and Workshops

ACORN’s Farm Tour Handbook

NOFA-NY Preparing and Presenting an On-Farm Workshop

Text Books

The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at University of California Santa Cruz has developed three key instructional resources on teaching sustainable farming and gardening. This includes curriculum for “Exploring Sustainability in Agriculture” course and the manuals “Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: Resources for Instructors” and “Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors.”

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education
(SARE) Farm Internship Curriculum and Handbook  this Curriculum includes Thirty-five modules representing outlines and notes for farmers to discuss various organic and ecological agriculture topics with their apprentices. The Western SARE curriculum is comprised of twenty-seven topics. Many of these “classroom” topics include “in-field” components that can be utilized while teaching and demonstrating new tasks during the workweek.

Sample Contracts and Agreements

Please be sure to always check the latest information from your province’s Department of Labour regarding employee compensation.

NOFA – Sample Contracts and Agreements


A Guide to Understanding the Canada Organic Standards

Guide to Legal Considerations of Hosting Apprentices from Law for Food

Hosting Apprentices: Challenges and Successes Podcast from Certified Organic Association of B.C. 2013 Conference

National Family Farm Coalition’s Mentoring Report– includes worksheets, information on (U.S.) regulations from several respected sources.

The Ruminant – Considerations for Apprenticeship Compensation

Webinar: Creating a Successful Farm Apprenticeship Program with Rowena Hopkins (45 minutes)


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