School of Adaptive Agriculture

Contact information
Farm Address:
16200 N Hwy 101
Willits , California , 98597

Primary Contact: Ruthie King, Director
Secondary Contact: Kelly Hansen, Office Manager

Primary Phone:


Internship information
General Farm Description: Start Farming, Start Ranching at the School of Adaptive Agriculture! - The School of Adaptive Agriculture Practicum Program is for adults who have decided to enter the sustainable food system. You may not yet know what your role will be. But you want to be among the million new farmers, ranchers, and leaders this country needs in order to transform agriculture through creative, sustainable and profitable enterprises. Join us for a three month intensive residential training program on a 5,000 acre working ranch in Mendocino County, California. Programs start in April and July. Visit our website for more information.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: 4/1/2019
Internship Ends: 6/28/2019
Number of Internship Available: 6
Application Deadline: 2/14/2019
Minimum Length of Stay: 12 weeks

Internship Details:

The School of Adaptive Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Spring 2019 Term which runs for 13 weeks from Monday, April 1st to Friday, June 28th and Summer Term (July 22 – Oct. 15).

Educational Opportunities: Are you ready to be a part of the dynamic future of food? School of Adaptive Agriculture programs recognize that food production will never be the same again. We are looking for people who are determined and creative. Students should have a desire to enter into a career equipped with essential skills in the science, art, and business of food. The Program: This program is for adults who have decided to enter the food system. You may not know what your role will be yet. But you want to be among the million new farmers, ranchers, and small business leaders this country needs in order to transform agriculture through creative, sustainable and profitable enterprises. The School of Adaptive Agriculture is part of the movement to make that happen. Our residential Practicum Student Program is a 13 week intensive focused on the foundations of food production. You will be fully immersed in the daily life of a 5,000 acre working ranch in Mendocino County, California. We believe there is no silver bullet to solving the food crisis facing our world, so we teach a broad spectrum of sustainable agricultural theory. We also teach engine repair, carpentry, animal husbandry, soil and ecology, crop production, entrepreneurial skills, and much more. Our curriculum is comprehensive as well as adaptive to individual interests. The educational focus is hands on, with lab work, experimentation, and demonstrations to "show" rather than "tell." The Curriculum Our curriculum teaches sustainable, restorative, and regenerative practices for small farmers using context specific solutions. New theories and techniques are developing at a rapid pace and our curriculum keeps pace with the many methods of responsible agricultural practices. Students will be exposed to the historical, environmental, financial, and social contexts of food production, and asked to use critical thinking to create their own theories on sustainable agriculture. The Term The Practicum Student Program runs 5 days per week for 13 weeks, with sessions running from April to July, and August to October. Students schedule includes supervised field learning, lessons, meals, and chores. Week 1 & 2: Orientation and Warm-up - Students get to know the basic tools, methods and skills you'll need going forward: the lay of the land, your new living space, keep-healthy-movement, firing up a wood stove on a cold morning, SOPs (standard operating procedures), and what's a mattock, anyway? - You'll be framing some goals for yourself, laying out your learning objectives, and teaming up for a really big learning experience. - Intentional communication is essential, so students and staff work together to build a positive environment. Weeks 3 & 11 - Find your rhythm in the mix of field days at your placement site, classroom instruction, our famous field trips, and a balance of community and personal time. - Field learning: You will be placed on one of our many host farms and get hands on direct training from mentors working in the field. - Lessons: Lessons with staff and guest instructors take place weekly as discussion, demonstration, lab work, experimentation, lecture, and group projects. - Field trips: Weekly field trips to outstanding farms, ranches, and businesses are an important part of the curriculum, building connections between students, mentors and experts in the area. Weeks 12 & 13 - Focus turns to completion, reflection and celebration. - You'll finish your personal projects and tie up loose ends on goals you set for yourself, with our support in planning your next steps - One on one opportunities with experts to fill in gaps specific to your interests - Community graduation dinner celebrates the friendships and opportunities you've built here, applauds your accomplishments, and launches you into what comes next. The programs core units are: Crop Production From seeds to soil to processing, students will learn all the necessary skills and systems that produce vegetables, grains, and fruits. This unit places heavy emphasis on soil science, soil building, and all manner of diverse cropping systems, including low and no till, mechanized approaches, and a variety of methodologies. Irrigation practices, seed saving, value added products, and composting are all covered as well. Business Management Successful farmers must have a thorough understanding of the business landscape that surrounds them. Several decision making frameworks are covered to aid in setting goals and clarifying principles. This course focuses on smart business planning, marketing, enterprise analysis, and record keeping. We also cover aspects of legal regulations and land access. Without a solid system in place to analyze your work, you'll be stuck playing the guessing game with your finances! Livestock Good animal husbandry is rooted in a firm understanding of the behavior, anatomy, and physiology of the animal. This unit covers animal welfare practices, genetics and breeding, housing and shelter, feed and nutrition, holistic management and pasture-based systems, and the quality end products that result in good management. Low stress animal handling, and good planning are the underlying themes of the Livestock Unit. Industrial Arts A good farmer is his or her own plumber, electrician, mechanic, and carpenter. Being able to troubleshoot problems and develop your own infrastructure will save you the headache and the bill. This unit covers tool maintenance and operation, carpentry, welding, plumbing and electricity, in addition to lessons on engine repair. Students will complete design-build projects, creating the muscle memory and confidence necessary to do-it-yourself. Students can choose to enroll for a second term to pursue a 'capstone' project. This program connects students to a specific focus area or mentor where they learn about a specific area of interest. Capstone students set learning objectives and then work with their mentor to build a strategic plan. The plan may include guided mentorship on a local farm or ranch, self guided research, or interning with a local business. Each Capstone project comes in increments of three month terms, with guidance from staff on campus and a network of mentors. Housing may be provided on campus or could take place on the farm or ranch where the student is learning. Post graduate opportunities on the ranch are also available for students seeking to apply their learning in an incubator entrepreneur program. A local network of landowners and business owners are also at the fingertips of graduates seeking other possible opportunities.

Skills Desired: The School of Adaptive Agriculture is looking for a special kind of student. Someone who is interested in practicing stewardship and being a part of positive change, asks thoughtful questions, innovative, creative, driven, and collaborative, excited about living rustically and rurally, is 18 years or older (no upper limit!), does not necessarily have previous experience in agriculture.

Meals: 5 days a week students cook meals together in an outdoor kitchen stocked with staples and farm fresh produce, meat and eggs (provided by the school).

Stipend: The total cost for the residential program is $4,000. While the actual cost of providing this program is substantially higher, grants and donations have allowed us to keep the cost for this 13 week intensive program at a reduced rate. Students receive food, housing, and a high quality, comprehensive education during the Practicum Program. They are expected to be engaged in classroom activities as well as farm chores. Scholarships are available to help students meet their financial obligation. Tuition:$2,500. Room and board:$1,500

Housing: The school is unique in all that it has to offer. Based on a historic ranch in rural Mendocino County, the school campus includes a 1920s schoolhouse, library, outdoor kitchen, bathhouse, dining area, composting toilet, and workshop. Depending on the time of year, temperatures range from freezing to blazing. Students learn to live in a rustic, outdoor life, living and farming with the seasons. Students live in private 10? x 12? canvas wall tents equipped with solar power and fully furnished. Two showers with hot water are available after a long day working and learning, in addition to onsite laundry facilities. Despite the rustic setting, wi-fi is available on the main campus 24/7. 5 days a week students cook meals together in an outdoor kitchen stocked with staples and farm fresh produce, meat and eggs (provided by the school).

Preferred method of Contact: email