Register now for our 2022 Sustainable Agriculture Conference! 30+ virtual sessions • 90+ in-person sessions • Trade show • Pay what you can


Diversified Vegetable Pre-Apprenticeship is a new program launched in 2021 that 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 Host Sites

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 host site! Host sites 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 host sites below!

Host site: 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

Host site: Grow Pittsburgh

Grow Pittsburgh’s Urban Farmers in Training Program provides local teens with the opportunity to gain summer employment while learning about the value of growing and eating healthy food. They operate on Braddock Farms, an urban vegetable farm with plots totaling up to a little over one acre and set against the backdrop of the borough’s last remaining steel mill.

More about Grow Pittsburgh

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 outline 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 host site

Interested in administering Diversified Vegetable Pre-Apprenticeship through your organization? Contact Dan Dalton at or 814.349.9856 x710.