Coastal Roots Farm Launches Apprenticeship Program for Young Farmers


CRF_Logo_color_horizontal+tagCoastal Roots Farm announced this week the launch of its new farm apprenticeship and the hiring of Simcha Schwartz, the Apprenticeship and Associate Program Director.

IMG_5500[1]“We’re so proud to bring such a diverse and amazing group of young farmers to this community,” said Daron ‘Farmer D’ Joffe, interim executive director of Coastal Roots Farm and Director of Agricultural Innovation and Development at Leichtag Foundation.  “These four individuals bring tremendous skill sets that we will develop.  They will help us achieve our mission of producing nourishing food that’s good for the earth and for the people who eat it, as well as sharing our harvest with communities in the San Diego region that lack access to healthy food.”

Coastal Roots Farm is located at the Leichtag Foundation property, 441 Saxony Road in Encinitas, CA, and is part of the Encinitas Environmental Education (E3) Cluster.  This summer it was announced Coastal Roots Farm will manage the Encinitas Union School District’s Farm Lab production farm, which is adjacent to the Leichtag Foundation property. The apprentices will be involved in many aspects of developing and managing both Coastal Roots Farm and the production fields at Farm Lab.

The pilot yearlong apprenticeship program will provide each apprentice with onsite housing, a living wage and professional development. While all apprentices will learn the basics of community farming, each individual will be focused on a specialization and will help to develop that aspect of the farm. The apprentices will help shape the future of Coastal Roots Farm as it expands its production, outreach and educational programming.

The apprenticeship specializations include:

Jamie Pratt, San Diego (Age 27) – Educational & Programming Apprentice

Ms. Pratt will plan and run farm-based educational programs including Jewish educational and outreach programs on and off site for people of all ages and abilities (e.g. youth programs; adult workshops; and inclusive programs for seniors, people with special needs, clients of social service partner agencies, and more.).

Jean-Paul Rivera, Puerto Rico (Age 21) – Food Forest & Nursery Apprentice

Mr. Rivera will focus on the development of a large food forest, edible and native nursery as well as establishing new orchards and edible/native landscapes throughout the property. Additional responsibilities will include coordinating educational programs related to the food forest including educational programs, orchards and nursery, seed saving and propagation of new and existing plant material.

Eliza “Ellie” Honan, Minnesota (Age 24) – Animal Husbandry & Composting Apprentice

Ms. Honan will focus on animal husbandry, rotational grazing, milking, value-added products (dairy, eggs, meat), breeding, composting and educational programs related to these topics.  In addition, she will be instrumental as a Jewish educator and farming apprentice.

Itai Siegel, Israel (Age 26) – Vegetable Production Apprentice

Mr. Siegel will assist the Farm Team in planning, implementing and managing a diversified vegetable, herb and flower operation, including both greenhouse and field production.  Itai will focus on vegetable production, post-harvest and distribution in both fields and greenhouses as well as educational programming related to the crop production cycle (i.e.: planting, harvesting, soil care, irrigation, and more.).

The apprenticeship program will be managed by Simcha Schwartz, Apprenticeship and Associate Program Director. Simcha comes with over 15 years of experience in Jewish community farming.  Simcha began his career working for a variety of farms, working as both an educator and coordinator for the Teva Learning Center, Hazon and American Jewish World Service.  He is the Co-Founder and former Co-Director of the Jewish Farm School (Philadelphia, PA) and has assisted in the creation and implementation of farm-based programs at Eden Village Camp (Putnam Valley, NY).  In addition to managing the apprenticeship, Simcha will develop Coastal Roots Farm’s educational programing.

Coastal Roots Farm is an independent organization incubated by the Leichtag Foundation (Encinitas, CA) to help foster a vibrant, healthy North County and address gaps in the local food system.  The Leichtag Foundation established Coastal Roots Farm in response to North County residents’ interest in sustainability and social justice, and to the high number of low-income households currently lacking regular access to fresh, healthy food.  

Find Coastal Roots Farm on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For more information visit www.coastalrootsfarm.org.