Scholarships available for UC Santa Cruz organic farming apprenticeships

Application period opens for 2016 program

Apprentices in Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz learn organic farming and gardening during a six-month course of study and practice. Applications for the 2016 program are due Aug. 15 for international applicants and Sept. 30 for U.S. citizens. (Photo by Martha Brown)

Aspiring organic farmers and gardeners are invited to apply for the 2016 Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Now in its 48th year, the Apprenticeship is the longest running university-based organic farming training program in the U.S.

The upcoming six-month program starts in April 2016. Scholarship support at different levels is available, including the Simply Organic annual scholarship. AmeriCorps funding can also be used to cover tuition costs.

The Apprenticeship is managed by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz. It is open to all participants 21 years or older, regardless of educational background.

Program information, application materials, details on scholarship support, and a list of dates for upcoming orientation tours are available online at Application deadlines for the 2016 program are Aug. 15, 2015 for international applicants, and Sept. 30, 2015 for U.S. citizens.

The six-month, full-time residential program is based at the 30-acre organic farm and 3-acre Alan Chadwick Garden on the UC Santa Cruz campus. The program trains adults in the concepts and practices of organic gardening and small-scale sustainable farming. The Apprenticeship blends experiential learning with traditional classroom studies on topics that include soil management, composting, pest and weed control, crop planning, irrigation, farm equipment, direct marketing techniques, business planning, and social and environmental issues in the food system.

The 39 apprentices accepted into the program each year come from all regions of the U.S. and abroad, and represent a wide spectrum of ages, backgrounds, and interests.

Program graduates have established their own commercial farms and market gardens, developed farm- and garden-based educational programs, run urban garden programs, and more. You can read more about Apprenticeship alumni’s work at

For examples of the Apprenticeship curriculum, see the newly revised and expanded Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: Resources for Instructors, and Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors. New editions of both manuals were produced by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems in 2015, and are available free online at

For more information about the Apprenticeship, please contact the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems at 831-459-3240, or at Learn more about CASFS at