Michigan State University Extension, Tollgate Farm and Education Center

Contact information
Farm Address:
28115 Meadowbrook Rd
Novi, Michigan , 12075

Primary Contact: Will Jaquinde
Primary Phone:
    Number: 7346803522
    Email: jaquinde@msu.edu

Website: https://www.canr.msu.edu/tollgate/sustainable-ag/apprenticeship

Internship information
General Farm Description: Tollgate Farm is located on 160 acres in Novi, MI and includes pasture, hay fields, 40 acres of forest, a conference center and educational facilities. The sustainable agriculture field totals seven acres with three under cultivation as well as a heated greenhouse for transplant production and four caterpillar tunnels. We grow more than forty different vegetables for sale to our 200+ member CSA, farm stand and a local restaurant. Embracing organic growing methods and progressive growing techniques, our production strives to push the boundaries of sustainable agriculture.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: 5/11/2020
Internship Ends: 10/23/2020
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: 2/1/2020
Minimum Length of Stay: 6 months

Internship Details:

The operation is designed from the soil up as both a production and dedicated training facility. As an apprentice, you will not only learn in a production environment with experienced farmers, but develop your knowledge and skills with seasoned educators.

The apprenticeship is an intensive introduction into the field of small scale vegetable agriculture, equipping participants with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to begin their own operation. Apprentices will be responsible for the day to day operation of the farm, including planting, weeding, harvesting and processing the produce. CSA distribution and market stands will also be operated by the apprentices. At the end of the season, the apprentices will have an excellent handle on the operation of the farm and dedicated participants would be qualified for a manager position.

Educational Opportunities: As part of the program, apprentices will engage with textual and online material. These more formal learning opportunities will connect the hands on technical training to larger concepts necessary to understand the operation of a farm. Topics covered in the apprenticeship include: Crop and soil science Financial literacy Business management and marketing Organic pest and disease control Operational management Apprentices will also have the opportunity to visit other organizations that are involved in the local, sustainable food movement, including farms, value added facilities and other relevant businesses and organizations. Apprentices will also occasionally assist and interact with other educational programs on site.

Skills Desired: Previous farming or gardening experience is not required. Instead we are seeking candidates with a demonstrated interest in sustainability and indications that this experience will inform your future work. Applicants are expected to be physically capable as the job involves completing long stretches of strenuous labor in challenging working conditions. Previous outdoor work experience is preferred and the applicant should be able to lift 50+lbs. Applicants should indicate their experience with outdoor and physical undertakings as the position requires working in all outdoor conditions. Applicants with physical limitations should please indicate those in their application material and how they have overcome those challenges in their personal and work life, while understanding this does not preclude you from qualification. Applicants should have a demonstrated ability to listen to directions and execute them. This is a crucial element of this job as apprentices are relied upon to become more autonomous as the season progresses. A positive attitude and solid communication skills are essential to success in this position. Applicants are encourage to espouse the qualities that make them unique and how those qualities will contribute to the success of a small team.

Meals: Meals are not provided.

Stipend: Pay is $11/hour. Apprentices will have access to and are encouraged to use the produce from the farm.

Housing: Housing is not included.

Preferred method of Contact: E-mail