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Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship (DVA) is a formal apprenticeship program registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. It pairs beginning farmers with established host farmers to provide a guided pathway toward managing or starting a vegetable farm. The program operates in Pennsylvania and surrounding areas.

DVA benefits both beginning and experienced growers: Apprentices acquire the skills they need to manage or start their own vegetable farm, while host farmers gain a committed employee invested in farming as a career.

Learn all about Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship by watching this webinar recording >>

Comprehensive training

Apprentices receive 2,700+ hours of on-the-job training and 200+ hours of related technical coursework over 18 months

Invested employees

Host farmers gain access to a pool of pre-qualified employees who want to farm as a career

Progressive wage

Host farmers compensate apprentices with scheduled wage increases as they advance their skills

Why apply to Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship?

Apprentices receive:

  • Training on a working farm with a demonstrated track record of success
  • Assistance with finding a farm to apprentice on that aligns with your farming goals and interests
  • A progressive wage
  • Educational guidance throughout your apprenticeship, including regular on-site meetings to assess and support your learning progress
  • Access to DVA-specific workshops and events
  • Discounted registration to qualifying Pasa events

Host farmers receive:

  • A committed employee with a vested interest in understanding and supporting your farm operation
  • Labor support for at least eighteen months, with the possibility of hiring your apprentice after they graduate
  • Assistance with recruiting and vetting apprentice candidates
  • Educational support throughout the apprenticeship period, including training resources and access to DVA-specific workshops and events
  • Discounted registration to qualifying Pasa events
Learn more about becoming an apprentice
Learn more about becoming a host farmer

By farmers, for farmers

To ensure Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship both comprehensively trains apprentices and satisfies host farmers' employment needs, we worked with beginning and seasoned farmers representing 19 of our member farms to build the 18-month curriculum from the ground up through an expert-facilitated instructional design process.

Core competencies

Host farmers train apprentices in 15 core competencies that vegetable farmers need to operate a successful farm business:

  • 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

Apprenticeship locations

Each star icon indicates the location of a farm with an approved host farmer who is either currently seeking an apprentice or has an active apprentice on their farm.

Don’t see a farm near where you’d like to apprentice? We encourage you to ask a farmer you’d like to apprentice with to consider applying to become a host farmer, and explain why you’d like to apprentice with them and on their farm, specifically. If you and the host farmer you’ve recruited both apply to the program and are approved, you will be matched directly with one another.

Learn more about becoming an apprentice
Learn more about becoming a host farmer

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