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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 farmers—or master growers—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 master growers 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

Master growers gain access to a pool of pre-qualified employees who want to farm as a career

Progressive wage

Master growers 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

Master growers 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 master grower

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

Master growers 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

  • The green star icons indicate the location of a farm with an approved master grower who is currently seeking an apprentice.
  • The red checkmark icons indicate active master grower-apprentice pairs.

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 master grower, and explain why you’d like to apprentice with them and on their farm, specifically. If you and the master grower 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 master grower