Applications open for 2018 apprenticeship, new scholarship support available

Photo of apprentices in the field
Apprentices plant seeds in the garden at the UC Santa Cruz Farm.

Aspiring organic farmers and gardeners are invited to apply for the 2018 Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Now celebrating its 50th year, the Apprenticeship is the longest running university-based organic farming training program in the U.S.

The six-month, full-time residential program takes place at the 30-acre organic farm and 3-acre Alan Chadwick Garden on the UC Santa Cruz campus. 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 upcoming six-month program runs from April 9, 2018 to October 19, 2018. Scholarship support at different levels is available, including the new Food Justice and Equity Scholarship.

With major support from Bon Appétit Management Company, the new scholarship is intended to support incoming apprentices presently committed to and engaged in creating food justice and equity in their communities and/or advocacy for responsible stewardship of the Earth.

“Sustainable food production, education, and social justice work are more important now than ever.  We are thrilled to help ensure people from underserved communities have access to the incredible training the Apprenticeship provides,” says Maisie Ganzler, chief strategy and brand officer for Bon Appétit Management Company.

The scholarship will be used to financially support individuals from low-income communities that historically have been underrepresented, and who would otherwise be unable to attend the program. Scholarships cover part or all of the course fee and on-site housing is available for free. Other scholarship support for the Apprenticeship includes the Matthew Raiford Scholarship for veterans, and the Simply Organic annual scholarship. AmeriCorps funding can also be used to cover course fees.

Application and program information

The Apprenticeship is managed by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems at UCSC. 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 2018 program are August 15, 2017 for international applicants, and September 30, 2017 for U.S. citizens.

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 Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: Resources for Instructors, and Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors. Both manuals are produced by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, 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