- WHAT IS CRAFT ONTARIO?
- WHAT HAPPENS AT THE CRAFT ONTARIO FIELD TRIPS?
- HOW DOES A FARM INTERNSHIP WORK?
- HOW DO I BECOME A FARM INTERN?
- WHAT IF I WANT TO APPLY TO MORE THAN ONE CRAFT ONTARIO FARM?
- WHAT IS THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN A WWOOF VISIT AND AN INTERNSHIP?
- HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER FARM OF CRAFT ONTARIO?
- WHERE CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT SOME OTHER OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEARNING AND WORKING ON A FARM IN ONTARIO?
WHAT IS CRAFT ONTARIO? back
CRAFT Ontario (The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training in Ontario) is an informal, member-driven network of farmers that offer internships on their organic and ecological farms. The goal of CRAFT Ontario is to enhance the internships offered by its member farms. The primary method of doing this is to offer regular field trips which usually take place at selected CRAFT farms.
Internships are a relationship directly between the farm and the intern, not with CRAFT Ontario. CRAFT Ontario is a network of collaborating farms, not an organization overseeing farms and their internships.
CRAFT Ontario is composed of several regional nodes. Each regional node is its own network of farms that offer internships. Each CRAFT node plans education workshops or field days for all the interns of the CRAFT farms in their node.
CRAFT Ontario farms are all distinct but they share several things in common. Each CRAFT farm:
- offers a full-season farming internship (details of these internships vary from farm to farm-see farm descriptions);
- uses ecological farming methods, i.e the farm is certified organic or has adopted organic agriculture practices; (click here for our definition of Ecological Agriculture)
- teaches and mentors their interns in ecological farming methods;
- brings their interns to all of the CRAFT field trips organized by their regional node.
Likewise, each regional CRAFT node is unique. All CRAFT nodes:
- ensure that their participating farms are using ecological farming methods
- ensure that their participating farms are teaching ecological farming methods
- inform member farmers of their responsibilities regarding CRAFT field days
- designate an individual as the node liaison, who communicates with the other CRAFT Ontario nodes
- organize field days/educational activities for all CRAFT farm interns in the node
- conduct a common intern survey
CRAFT field trips are attended by all the CRAFT interns in the regional node as well as by CRAFT farmers. These field trips and other CRAFT activities are intended to:
- strengthen the interns’ and farmers’ skills and their understanding of organic farming and gardening;
- expose interns to a wider range of growing and management practices than they would receive on one farm;
- build a network of farmers and interns, creating a more cohesive organic growing community.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE CRAFT ONTARIO FIELD TRIPS? back
Each regional node of CRAFT Ontario plans their field days according to the capacities and number of farmers involved , along with any external support they may have from a local organization.
A common CRAFT field trip schedule includes monthly field trips to six of the CRAFT farms. All farms arrange for their interns to participate fully in each field trip. The itinerary for each CRAFT field trip typically includes:
- a talk or workshop on a specific topic/activity that is an important element of a sustainable farm (e.g. farm equipment, soil fertility, livestock care, business planning.)
- a pot-luck lunch
- a farm tour/field-walk
- a work project or group activity
HOW DOES A FARM INTERNSHIP WORK? back
Each farm is unique so you need to review the farm descriptions and contact the farms that interest you for more details. Each CRAFT farm operates independently and offers its own internship which differs from the other farms with respect to such things as: living and eating arrangements, stipends, work hours, and training methods. It is your responsibility to carefully research the farms so that you understand the expectations of the farmers that you will be working with, and how the internship matches up with what you hope to gain from the experience.
Basically a farm internship works like this:
- You live on a farm for most or all of a full growing season (roughly April-November depending on the farm).
- During that time you gain hands-on experience by doing lots of farm work and you learn from the farmer(s).
- Each CRAFT farm is also committed to taking its intern(s) to the monthly CRAFT field trips.
- A farm may also offer other training such as added fields trips, seminars, books, special projects or responsibilities.
HOW DO I BECOME A FARM INTERN? back
Contact the CRAFT Farms that interest you for application details. Most farms accept applications year-round but the best time to apply is before mid-February. Applying before this date gives you the best chance of receiving an internship offer from one of the CRAFT farms. Please inquire with individual farms to find out if they are accepting applications following the deadline. Some CRAFT nodes have an application and selection process for candidates applying to multiple farms within their regional node.
Application and hiring steps:
- Review the CRAFT farm descriptions on each regional node web page (Click here to access the regional farm descriptions).
- Select the farms you are interested in and contact them for application details.
- Submit an application to each farm, according to their individual requirements.
- Schedule interviews/farm visits with the farms that offer you interviews.
- If you have applied to multiple farms within a regional node with a multiple farm selection process, send in your prioritized rating after your interviews and prior to their deadline. (see regional web pages for details)
- If and when you receive an offer for an internship from a farm, finalize the details of your internship arrangement.
- If you set up an internship with a farm, inform any other farms you have applied to.
- If you do not receive an internship with the farms you applied to, ask the farmer if they know of any farms that have an opening.
WHAT IF I WANT TO APPLY TO MORE THAN ONE CRAFT ONTARIO FARM? back
It’s often hard to know which farm you’d like to intern at. Applying early is your first step. If you are applying to multiple farms, and have arranged interviews with more than one farm, it is helpful to let the farm know that you have applied to multiple farms.
Some regional nodes have a selection process for those applying to multiple farms within their region. Refer to the regional node web pages for details on how to inform the selection process of your order of preferences for the farms that you have interviewed with.
WHAT IS THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN A WWOOF VISIT AND AN INTERNSHIP? back
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or a “WWOOF” visit (formerly known as Willing Workers on Organic Farms), is a great way to learn about organic farming while meeting lots of interesting people and traveling around. It is usually a temporary visit involving volunteer work on a farm in exchange for a great learning experience and accommodation. Arrangements are made directly with the host farm and vary from farm to farm. Check out wwoof.ca for more info.
A CRAFT Ontario internship, on the other hand, is a full-season learning experience aimed at immersing interns in the world of ecological farming. It is a practical, hands-on experience based on an exchange involving the intern’s labour and commitment and the farmer’s instruction, supervision, education, time and commitment. A farming internship is meant to equip an intern with the kind of exposure to farming needed to consider a future in farming. But whatever an intern’s longer-term goals are, an internship is a powerful experience that will equip you with the tools and insights to make a real difference in the world.
HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER FARM OF CRAFT ONTARIO? back
Each regional CRAFT node has a member that will receive inquiries about becoming a CRAFT farm in their region. Requirements for being a CRAFT farm begin with those outlined under FAQ ‘What is CRAFT Ontario?‘. Further requirements are stipulated by the regional nodes of CRAFT. See the regions page for the contact in your area and for further requirements to becoming a CRAFT Ontario farm.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT SOME OTHER OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEARNING AND WORKING ON A FARM IN ONTARIO? back
One good source is FarmLINK Ontario which provides opportunities to link up with farmland as well as information resources for new farmers. On the FarmLINK website, CRAFT farms will usually be identified.”