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Diversified Vegetable Pre-Apprenticeship, launched in 2021, provides introductory hands-on training for people who want to explore sustainable farming as a career but have little to no prior farming experience. 

We developed this vegetable farming pre-apprenticeship to complement and expand the breadth of existing training opportunities for aspiring and beginning farmers. The curriculum is based on the core duties, skills, and qualifications for our two-season vegetable farming apprenticeship program (Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship) to offer a seamless transition into more extensive farmer training.

Our pre-apprenticeship program is hosted by local partner organizations with established farmer training programs focused on teaching sustainable growing practices. Like our Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship, this program is registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

 View program details >> 

Learn the basics

Pre-apprenticeship is for people who are interested in exploring vegetable farming as a career but have little or no prior farming experience.

Get connected

Pre-apprentices work side-by-side with other aspiring farmers for a supportive peer-learning experience.

Dig deeper

After completing the program, pre-apprentices can take the next step to advance their career by seamlessly transitioning into our two-season full apprenticeship.

Pre-Apprenticeship training partners

Any organization that currently administers, or is planning to administer, vegetable farming training opportunities for either youth or adults can become a Diversified Vegetable Pre-Apprenticeship training partner! Training partners manage recruitment, training, and supervision of pre-apprentices, while Pasa provides curriculum and administrative support.

Pre-apprenticeship can be a useful tool for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in agriculture by serving as the first stepping stone on a career path toward becoming a farm manager or owner. Often, comprehensive farmer training and paid apprenticeship or farming positions can be inaccessible to people with little or no prior farming experience. Pre-apprentices learn all the basics, and exit the program prepared for more advanced training.

Check out our current training partners below!

LEAF Project

The LEAF Project cultivates youth leaders from diverse backgrounds through meaningful work in the food system. They operate a three-acre vegetable farm in rural Central Pennsylvania.

More about LEAF Project

Grow Pittsburgh

Grow Pittsburgh teaches community members how to grow food and offers a pre-apprenticeship track to adult beginning farmers they work with.

More about Grow Pittsburgh

Crop & Kettle

Located outside of Pittsburgh in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, Crop & Kettle is a nonprofit that utilizes the food system to provide job training and social development for members of their community who are eager to overcome barriers to employment.

More about Crop & Kettle

Truelove Seeds

Truelove Seeds is a seed company focused on providing culturally-important seeds to people longing for their tastes of home. They also have many community facing programs including a farmer training program for growers aspiring to incorporate seed keeping into their work as growers and stewards of culture.

More about Truelove Seeds

Lafayette College Farm (LaFarm)

LaFarm is a sustainability initiative at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. The farm's mission is to integrate curriculum and practice in sustainable food and agriculture for the campus community. They grow produce for the dining halls, recycle nutrients from composted food back to the soil, and serve as a home for collaborative student-faculty education and research.

More about LaFarm

Dickinson College Farm

Dickinson College Farm is an 80-acre, organic farm and a living laboratory where students can gain hands-on learning experiences in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. Student employees, graduate apprentices, and volunteers are involved in all aspects of food production and research on the farm, which provides food to the campus and local community in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

More about Dickinson College Farm

Bucknell Farm & Lewisburg Community Garden

Bucknell University students engage in sustainable farming and food access programs through both Bucknell Farm and the Lewisburg Community Garden.

More about Bucknell Farm

Farm Philly

Farm Philly connects residents to the natural world and supports the self-determination and sovereignty of communities to grow their own food. They provide programming and material support to community gardens, farms, and residents located across the city and envision a Philadelphia that supports gardeners, farmers, and residents’ ability to grow in spaces that nourish and heal their communities. Farm Philly affirms Black, Indigenous, People of the Global Majority (BIPGM), queer and transgender, immigrant and refugee, poor, and working-class farmers doing this work.

More about Farm Philly

Qualifications & requirements

Pre-apprentices must be at least 14 years of age and demonstrate a sincere interest in farming to participate in a Diversified Vegetable Pre-Apprenticeship program. To graduate from the program, a pre-apprentice must complete 225 hours of on-the-job training, 25 hours of related technical instruction, and demonstrate competency in the core skill areas outlined below.

  • Crop planning
  • Propagation
  • Soil fertility
  • Tillage & field preparation
  • Crop production
  • Irrigation
  • Weed control
  • Pest & disease control
  • Harvesting
  • Post-harvest handling
  • Product distribution
  • Marketing
  • Equipment & machinery maintenance
  • Business planning
  • Personnel management

How to participate

Become a pre-apprentice

The following organizations are hosting Diversified Vegetable Pre-Apprenticeship programs.

Become a training partner

Interested in administering Diversified Vegetable Pre-Apprenticeship through your organization? Contact Lisa Miskelly at or 814.349.9856 x725.