As a previous Sisters Hill Farm apprentice, I am currently managing Serenbe Farms near Atlanta, GA. I started at Sisters Hill right after I graduated from college and spent some of the spring, the summer, and a good portion of the fall learning the ways of the farm. Having worked on a farm before, I understood the hard labor to come forth, but also had a passion for learning how to make things more efficient and how to better treat the land that I would farm. I came to Sisters Hill with high hopes of learning all I could about farming. Not knowing what exactly was in store, I was very optimistic upon arrival. The farm there was beautiful and extremely neat.
At once, I felt welcomed into the community and began full time work. Of course, I got what I expected in terms of hard work, but gained a much more extensive knowledge of farm systems and how to properly start and run a successful CSA than I had ever expected from one season. Sisters Hill Farmis a wonderful model of a small area that is managed properly to provide tens of thousands of pounds of vegetables a year to grateful recipients. After my first year there, Dave had taught me most farm operations, including farm planning, tractor work, and maintaining the health of the land. I decided to return for a second year to solidify my previous training. This time I was in charge of harvests and planning the CSA shares. The combination of managerial responsibilities, soaking up more knowledge from Dave, reading, and studying definitely boosted my abilities to effectively manage a farm. Thanks to this apprenticeship, I am now successfully running a small CSA farm.
Sisters Hill Farm is different than many farms I've worked on or have visited around the country. Dave has set up so many systems that make things much easier than anticipated and he teaches you lots of effective "shortcuts" that make things simpler and take care of the land. In addition to the learning experience, the surrounding area is great, the people there are genuine, and the natural beauty is plentiful.
Apprentice ’04-05, now Head Farmer, Serenbe Farms
I’ve learned so much from you—you are truly a mentor in the highest sense of the word. Thanks for everything—for trusting me with equipment, giving me responsibility, working along side me digging potatoes, challenging my creative problem solving skills, understanding when I goof, saying “thank you” everyday, greeting us with smiles every morning, showing us how things really work, taking time to explain, and being a superb farmer all around. I will take these lessons with me into my new farm career and continue learning and continue sharing with others. Sisters Hill is a special place. I feel blessed to have been a part of it. Thank you for a great season!
Erin Bullock, Apprentice ’08, owner, Wild Hill Farm, Ionia, NY www.wildhillfarm.com
The past week at the farm in PA was amazing. Things are really starting to come together. It is all very exciting and I just wanted to thank you for your part in helping make my aspirations come true. I know I have a long road ahead of me, but I am confident the knowledge and encouragement you have given me will serve me well. I look forward to returning north and visiting you and your family in your amazing new home, but I am sure I will be in touch with a question or two before then. I wish you all the best and thank you again for being a great boss, teacher, and friend.
Best regards, Andrew Buckwalter
Apprentice ’07 now running Buckhill Farm, Lititz, PA
Apprentice Thank You's
Below are a couple of thank you notes from former apprentices (used with permission) and a short description an apprentice wrote about her time here. You might find them informative......
Smart apprentices are looking for a mentor. Someone with intelligence and experience, and the ability to share that knowledge effectively. Do you want to operate your farm in the same manner that they do? The secret to success is not in following steps 1, 2 and 3, but rather choosing which path to take? Once that path has been taken, which steps are most important, which are most urgent, what should be accomplished first, and why?
At Sisters Hill Farm we’ll certainly teach you skills, but more importantly we’ll teach you how to think like a farmer.
Who Are We Looking For?
We're passionate about our role as mentors to the next generation of successful farmers! A wealth of farm experience is not a necessity, however a love of physical labor is essential, as is a love of being outdoors in all kinds of weather. You should be the type of person who is always looking for a better way to get a job done. You must be kind, respectful, and empathetic toward others. You must have a “beginner’s mind,” meaning you should be open to learning, no matter how much you think you know about a subject. Finally, you should love to laugh and have fun!
How Do I Apply?
We currently have 3 apprentices for the 2019 season. But please check back at the beginning of next year to apply for the 2020 season. Feel free to read the Apprentice Brochure below to learn more about our program and see if it's the right fit for you!
127 Sisters Hill Road, Stanfordville, NY 12581