Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship (DVA) is a formal apprenticeship program registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. It pairs beginning farmers with established farmer—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.
Apprentices receive 2,700+ hours of on-the-job training and 200+ hours of related technical coursework over 18 months
Master growers gain access to a pool of pre-qualified employees who want to farm as a career
Master growers compensate apprentices with scheduled wage increases as they advance their skills
Master growers receive:
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.
Master growers train apprentices in 15 core competencies that vegetable farmers need to operate a successful farm business:
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.