Apply now for 2017.
The Heroic Food year long, Immersion Training Program, is designed for veterans with a strong, committed interest in sustainable farming for small scale, commercial, direct marketing, and homestead operations. Currently, the year long Immersion Program is based on our 20 acre farm just outside the town of Hudson NY, but trainings take place on multiple sites in Columbia, Dutchess, and surrounding counties. Trainees will gain hands-on experience through apprenticeships with local mentor farmers, craftspeople and food entrepreneurs. In addition, the program offers workshops, short-courses and individualized support for life and career transitions.
The Training Program curriculum was developed in consultation with the Hawthorne Valley Learning Center, the Cornell Small Farms Program, and the Farmer Veteran Coalition. The principles and practices of sustainable farming are at the core of this program, but workshops and courses ranging from farm business management to tractor maintenance to value-added food preparation to green building make it flexible and robust. This program will enable Heroic Food graduates to build a broad skill base that will serve them to lower their business and living costs, earn extra income, and explore new markets as they grow their farm-based careers. We have designed the Training Program to embody a working model of sustainability, community, conservation and regeneration of people, animals and farmland.
The program consists of three basic “pillars”:
- Paid training positions (apprenticeships) on local mentor farms in the mid-Hudson valley during the growing season, mid- March through November. Provides hands-on farm training and experience in basic vegetable and/or livestock production.
- Supplemental workshops, sit down instruction, and professional conferences take place primarily during the winter season (roughly Nov-Feb). Provides a broader and deeper understanding of farm and farm ecology topics, and holistic farm planning & business management; plus farm skills such as basic welding and tractor maintenance & repair.
- Supports include veteran peer mentorship and counseling, facilitation, access to veterans services; education goal-setting and assessment; housing support; and ongoing professional support.
We aim for a flexible and robust curriculum so that veterans come away with a broad skill base that will help them to farm successfully, lower their business and living costs, earn extra income, and explore new markets as they grow their farm-based careers.
The Immersion Program is designed to embody a working model of sustainability, community, conservation and regeneration of people, animals and farmland.
Things to consider:
Farming is physically demanding work. You must be able to lift and carry fifty pound loads, bend, kneel, work outdoors in all kinds of weather, and maintain a positive attitude.
Farming requires commitment. The health and well-being of people, animals, and plants depend on every crew member showing up every day, on time, and doing his/her best. Please take the commitment seriously.
Housing Help. We will help you find housing either on or off farm, and provide a housing stipend if needed, of up to $1000/ month.
Benefits. You may be able to use your GI Bill benefits in conjunction with the Immersion Program. Please talk to Ryan (Ryan@heroicfood.org) about using your GI Bill.
Admissions and Duration:
Program participant spouses or partners are welcome in the program. We believe that farming is a family venture, and shared interest and support is key to success. We also welcome applications from veterans who live locally who have the ability to commute.
Admissions is on a rolling basis. Acceptance into the program is contingent on apprenticeship placement, and apprenticeships are subject to availability within the local mentor farm community. We will do all we can to place applicants in apprenticeships and to help find housing.
The FYI program begins for new cohorts every Spring. The period to apply for each new Full-Year Immersion experience closes by the end of April. Exact dates for internship beginning and end may vary.
The program runs from the start of your internship until the end of February of the following year. Dates may vary at the program’s discretion.
Those who are not accepted due to lack of space or internship availability are encouraged to apply for the following year, and in the mean time sign up for the short term courses of Heroic Food so you can become part of our community, and get a taste of what is to come.