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South Whidbey Tilth Apprenticeship Program

Tags: Composting, Farmers Market, Farming, nonprofit, Soil

Nettle Hollow & South Whidbey Tilth | |

Posted on: 11/28/2017 2:41 pm

Dates: February 14, 2018 through October 17, 2018 (dates are flexible)

South Whidbey Tilth Association (Tilth) is seeking apprentices to work and learn on its 11+ acre sustainable agriculture campus. It is a nonprofit educational organization with a seasonal farmers’ market, community garden plots, a native plant facility, compost facility and forest and meadow restoration projects. Volunteers hold workshops and classes about food growing and stewardship of the natural world, publishes a newsletter and holds community-building social gatherings.

As part of the Grow Whidbey apprenticeship program in partnership with the South Whidbey School Farms and the Good Cheer Food Bank, apprentices will be participating in classes, workshops and field trips specifically designed to support their practical, hands-on learning and service.

The focus of the apprentice will be on the Tilth campus at 2812 Thompson Road off State Route 525 on South Whidbey Island.

Goals of Tilth project include:

  • Increase public awareness of the Farmers’ Market to attract vendors and customers
  • Develop the campus as a training center for sustainable food growing, marketing and land resource conservation practices.
  • Create a network of cooperation with other sustainable agriculture projects through the project leaders and apprentices on Whidbey Island.

Training includes:

  • Leadership skills such as nonprofit project management, volunteer coordination, outreach and publicity, working with varied age groups, teaching and public speaking.
  • Ongoing mentoring and regular check-ins to support the professional and personal growth and development of the apprentice.
  • Classes and workshops through South Whidbey Tilth and partners to learn sustainable agriculture practices such as soil cultivation, planting, irrigation, harvesting, produce management, crop rotation, composting and vermiculture, record keeping, limited and supervised use of power tools and small machinery.

Scope of Duties

  1. Promote and manage the Tilth Farmers’ Market, open May to October on Sundays; recruit more vendors to sell at the market
  2. Promote cohesion and cooperation among other Tilth community gardeners to maintain their plots and common areas, including fruit trees, etc.
  3. Participate in work parties around the campus, usually Thursdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and some Saturdays, as well as occasional participation at Good Cheer Gardens on Wednesdays and South Whidbey School Farms on Tuesdays
  4. Keep personal garden plot under continual cultivation and maintain a garden journal
    Meet weekly with designated supervisor to review program schedule and report at least quarterly to the governing council of trustees with strategy suggestions; maintain a weekly timesheet
  5. Sharing the responsibility of gleaning produce for the Good Cheer Food Bank from the Bayview Farmers’ Markets on some Saturdays and from Tilth on Sundays
  6. Choose one or more personal project(s) to fulfill, such as:
    • build and implement a volunteer base with a skills inventory to call upon for successful work parties and classes
    • research and implement a native plant salvage facility
    • research and implement a farm stand as well as manage campus produce production, including fruit and nut trees
    • develop and carry out promotional material for the newsletter, press, website and social media to increase participation through the market, classes and events
    • maintain a landscape that welcomes teaching opportunities for the public
    • other
    Time commitment: mid-February through mid-October 2018
    Workdays are a flexible 35 hours a week, including 5+ hours for Sunday market days, 9:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.Five days vacation is encouraged with sufficient notice.


  • a stipend of $400/month. Worker’s compensation is also provided as part of the
  • Washington State Farm Internship Project.
  • a plot in the community garden (20 by 20 feet)
  • use of some farming tools and materials
  • a no-fee vending space at the South Whidbey Tilth Farmers’ Market
  • access to the classroom/office with internet
  • homestay housing
  • food is available from the gardens and the Good Cheer Food Bank.

Skills and Experience desired:

  • eagerness to learn
  • experience growing food
  • desire to work well with people of different ages
  • ability to motivate others under difficult conditions
  • good communication and organizational skills
  • in good physical condition — able to lift 50 pounds
  • hard working, practical, resourceful and creative


  • knowledge of many aspects of farming, including but not limited to animal
  • husbandry, beekeeping, nursery work, composting and/or vermiculture, irrigation
  • systems, carpentry and farmers’ marketing
  • selling at or operation of a farmers’ market
  • knowledge of native plants
  • ability to write well
  • computer skills using spreadsheets and graphics
    Note:  a car is useful, but a bicycle may be sufficient for transportation. Tilth and the other gardens are accessible by bus, except on weekends.

Application Process

To successfully apply and be considered for this position you must submit the following required application materials by mail or email:

1.     Submit a cover letter addressing how you meet the minimum and preferred qualifications. Please explain a little bit of your background in agriculture, your motivation for applying, why you are a good candidate for this position, and how this apprenticeship fits into your future goals.

2.     Provide a current resume along with three references.

3.     Deadline: Interviewing in process. Position open until filled.

Materials may be submitted using one of the following options:


MAIL: South Whidbey Tilth Association, P.O. Box 252, Langley, WA 98260

Questions can be directed to the email above or call Prescott, president, at 360-682-8642.

Interview process: Final applicants will be interviewed in person or by Skype or FaceTime

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Number of interns needed: 1

Kids Okay: No.

Pets Okay: No.

Car Required: No.

Experience Required: Helpful.

Work Hours: Full Time.

Learning Opportunities: On The Job.

Meals: No.

Housing: Yes.

Paid: Yes.