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  • Writer's pictureRose High Bear

We are offering Organic Farming Training this spring

Elderberry Wisdom Farm is recruiting a few more interns for our upcoming Organic Farming training. The deadline for applicants to apply is approaching since classes begin on Thursday, April 6 and will conclude Friday, May 26, 2023. This opportunity is for Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders. We welcome other students of color to apply if they are interested in learning organic farming using indigenous farming methods, and in forming their own agricultural or horticultural microenterprise.

The classes: This 8-week Internship will be completed in 150 hours, and includes 75 hours of classroom education plus 75 hours of experiential service-learning at the farm. The training and mentoring from our Native farm team is more compatible with Native learning styles and is taught by Native educators who integrate Western science agriculture into indigenous practices. This Native wisdom is important today as it increasingly demonstrates how indigenous models can restore ecosystem sustainability. Classes will also provide holistic mentoring support that addresses the whole person - body, mind, spirit and emotions.

The farm: Elderberry Wisdom Farm has a 2-acre farm, a 24’ x 48’ greenhouse, small classroom, and a 2-acre easement where our Native Plant Nursery is being formed this year. We are located close to I-5 at Exit 248, just south of Salem at 2281 Delaney Road SE.

In our indoor classroom, Interns will receive training in Organic Farming, including how Western science integrates with indigenous farming practices; and how to plan a profitable farm micro-enterprise. We also include a holistic series of classes including health and wellness resilience and workforce readiness classes that discuss native leadership and native communication styles. As Native people, we don’t form businesses to enrich ourselves, but we have a desire to serve our community and also try to support ourselves and our families in the process.

NABA is a Microenterprise Opportunity: The Native American Biodiversity Accelerator (NABA) is being offered to assist Native Americans and those from other communities of color who want to become owners and operators of their own microenterprise business. We are developing several business opportunities to assist these individuals, or they may choose to create their own small business. Over three years, our cohort will have an opportunity to learn sustainable principles and practices from Native and Indigenous scientists; advanced Western science skills in habitat restoration and agriculture from partners. We are also offering microenterprise business and marketing plan development, plus financial planning and resource development support from our business consultants. This teamwork of support will strengthen opportunities for success.

Native American Farm Cooperative and Farmers Market: Our Native coop is forming soon, and is still in the planning stage. This will provide options for interns with a ground-floor opportunity in farm cooperative planning. Your voice will be included in decision making as we develop the infrastructure of our Farm Coop and consult about future Farmers Markets being planned in partnership with the Salem Farmers Market and others nearby. The Northwest Cooperative Development Center is coordinating training and planning.

Additional details: A $2,000 stipend will be awarded to Interns completing the training.

Paid Externships will be awarded to a few interns who want to continue their training through the summer months, and it will include an additional $2,000 stipend. Our Fall 2023 internship provides training in Habitat Restoration. Chemeketa Community College will provide interns with tuition waivers for two additional academic classes - an introductory horticulture class and an introductory irrigation class.

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