UC Santa Cruz Accepting Applications for Ecological Horticulture Apprenticeship

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The apprenticeship is a six-month, full-time certificate course in crop production and marketing for those interested in small- to medium-scale organic farming and urban gardening. Each year people come from all regions of the country and abroad to learn practical organic growing skills.

The Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture

Watch a video about the Apprenticeship produced by UCSC undergraduate students as part of UC's Global Food Initiative

The Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture provides training in the concepts and practices of organic gardening and small-scale farming. This full-time program is held at the Center's 30-acre CASFS/UCSC Farm and 3-acre Alan Chadwick Garden on the UCSC campus. The Apprenticeship training program offers 300 hours of classroom instruction and 700 hours of in-field training and hands-on experience in the greenhouses, gardens, orchards, and fields. The UCSC Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems offers a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture upon successful completion of the program.

Since its founding in 1967, the Apprenticeship has developed into an internationally recognized program that blends the virtues of experiential learning with traditional classroom studies. Topics covered during the six-month course include soil management, composting, pest control, crop planning, irrigation, farm equipment, marketing techniques, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) practices.

The Apprenticeship model of combining theoretical and practical instruction has been replicated both locally and internationally as apprentices go on to train others in hands-on projects. Graduates have also established their own commercial farms and market gardens, run community gardens for inner city and prison populations, and developed school gardening programs. Many graduates take part in international development projects, including programs in Nepal, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, the Philippines and throughout Central and South America. Others have raised the standards of the organic food industry through work with certification programs and retailers. See the Graduates at Work page for examples of what Apprenticeship alumni have done with their training.

If You're Thinking about Applying

Please read the material in the Information/Application section for a full description of the Apprenticeship and contact information. International applicants should also read the Information for International Applicants.

The  course fee for the 2017 Apprenticeship will be $6,000. Please note that full and partial course fee waivers are available, and the program accepts AmeriCorps funding. See the Course Fee Waiver Support Opportunities page for details. 

Below are the application deadlines and notification dates for the 2017 Apprenticeship program, which begins April 10, 2017 (note that the application deadlines for the 2016 program have already passed). All applications are reviewed together after the application period has closed.

    • Deadline for U.S. citizens: September 30, 2016. You will be notified by email no later than October 15, 2016 that we have received your application.
    • Notification of Acceptance: You will be notified by email on December 15, 2016, 5 pm (Pacific Time)

    • Deadline for International Applicants: August 15, 2016
    • Notification of Acceptance for International Applicants: November 2016

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