Practicum Student Program Introduction:
California State Grange School of the Agricultural Arts will host its first Practicum Students in 2014. These work-study students will live on the Grange Farm at historic Ridgewood Ranch, learn about farming and contribute to the farm through hands-on service learning. Practicum Students pay no tuition, receive room and board, and earn college credits. Inspired by the historic mission of the Grange, the Farm School provides training in diverse methods of holistic crop and livestock production. We provide hands-on experiential education to train the next generation of farmers. Our curriculum covers traditional organic agricultural production methods coupled with industrial arts, business and marketing skills. Established in 2013, this newly emerging school is in the early stages of building, offering students the experience of breaking ground on our new farm site.
In 2014 the work will include tending a vegetable test plot, about ½ acre in size, building a chicken coop, tending both egg and meat birds, building fences, and installing irrigation systems. Other significant tasks will be building projects to create the infrastructure for the school, including renovating the school house, building student facilities such as housing, outdoor kitchen, and student bath-house with graywater system. Through service-learning the Practicum Students will gain hands-on experience in both farming and industrial arts.
Practicum students are expected to work an average of 25 hours per week on projects supporting the farm. Concurrent enrollment in Work Experience Education program with Mendocino College or a similar program is required. The Farm will cover registration costs at Mendocino College. Housing will include a shared house for kitchen, bath, library, and commons and a wall tent for each student. Food will include basic staples and farm goods. Cooking and cleaning chores will be shared.
Three terms will open in 2014 and two terms in 2015.
Spring: Early March to Late April– 2 Students
Summer: Early May to Late July – 4 Students
Fall: Early August to Late October – 4 Students
Spring: Early March to Late May – 4 Students
Fall: Late August to Early November – 4 Students
A typical weekday student schedule:
Morning Chores 7:00am - 8:00am
Breakfast (Students cook and clean) 8:00am - 9:00am
Morning Work (Guided farm and construction work) 9:00am - noon
Lunch (Free time Siesta) noon - 2:00pm
Afternoon Lessons (Lectures on various topics) 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Afternoon Work (Guided farm and construction work) 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Dinner (Students cook and clean) 6:00pm
This is only an example and the schedule will vary to accommodate field trips, guest instructor availability, weather, and farm needs. Some weekend duties will be required.
Each term will offer similar curriculum in afternoon lessons, but the projects will be unique to the term. Curriculum for Afternoon Lessons will cover diverse topics such as:
Farm and Garden Design
Tool Use and Safety
Farm Finances and Marketing
Project will vary by season: In 2014 Spring Students will build the mobile chicken coop, Summer students will focus on irrigation and planting, Fall students will build the hoop house and preserve the bounty of harvest. This list is only a small sampling of upcoming projects.
Practicum Students may apply for “Graduate School”. Graduate Students are Practicum Students who return to the farm after completing their first term. During an additional term the Graduate Student will complete a project of special interest and will provide guidance to first term Practicum Students. Self Sponsored Students: In 2014 we have planned to host 2 to 4 students March through October. The number of students and dates are flexible and set based on housing availability and food budget. If a student is willing to provide their own camper or tent for personal accommodations, it may be possible for the Grange Farm School to host earlier in the year. It may also be possible for Farm School to host additional students during the season if they are self sponsored and provide $300/month to contribute to the group grocery fund. Your local Grange may be willing to sponsor you.
To apply to the Practicum Student program please complete and return the Practicum Student Questionnaire to Antonia Partridge at email@example.com. Under rolling admissions positions are open until filled.
Learn more about the Farm School, including instructor bios, our Ridgewood Ranch location south of Willits, CA, and more at: http://californiagrange.org/agschool/mission.html
Practicum Student Questionnaire
1. For which term(s) are you applying? Spring/Summer/Fall | Year:
2. Are you a Grange Member? If yes, which Grange?
3. Why are you interested in a Practicum Student position at Grange Farm School?
4. What skills do you hope to acquire?
5. What are your long-term personal goals related to agriculture?
6. What previous experience and education do you bring to this position?
7. What aspects of working on the Grange Farm and on construction projects do you expect to find most challenging? Most rewarding? Most interesting?
8. We raise animals for meat on the farm. What are your personal views on the role animals play on a small farm?
9. Have you ever lived in a group or community before? If so, what did, or didn’t you like about it? How do you see yourself fitting into a shared housing situation here?
10. Do you have any allergies, or physical limitations that might affect your ability to live in a rural setting and do heavy, physical, outdoor work?
11. Are you aware that the Farm School is in a rural location and you will be responsible for your own transportation? Will you bring a vehicle?
12. Do you smoke or use tobacco products? Do you have any Dietary Restrictions?
13. If all Farm-School sponsored positions are filled are you open to consider a self-sponsored position? You would provide your own tent or camper and pay for food. You would have more flexible arrival and departure dates.
14. An on-farm visit and interview is strongly recommended. Will you be available to visit the farm during your application period?
15. Please tell us something more personal about yourself such as your hobbies, favorite books, travels, or other information you feel is relevant to your application.
16. What is your favorite vegetable?
17. Provide three references.