Teaching New Skills and Best Practices

The Wallace Centers of Iowa offers apprenticeships at the Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center near Orient and at the Danamere farm near Carlisle. Sessions will be at least a minimum of eight weeks with a maximum of 12 to 15 weeks. Apprenticeships are available beginning in mid-April through November. If accepted, WCI will work with each individual regarding the length of his/her session and the time frame.

Each session will encompass the following learning situations:

Practical Experience

Hands-on experience operating a medium-sized vegetable and fruit production garden:

  • Use of organic farming practices
  • Planting seeds, transplanting, and care of greenhouse plants
  • Preparing plant beds
  • Transplanting to garden
  • Direct seeding
  • Weed and insect management
  • Record keeping
  • Planning weekly CSA produce shares
  • Produce harvesting and cleaning
  • Demonstration of organic farming practices
  • Orchard care and harvesting
  • High tunnel production
  • Workday planning
  • Management and mentoring of seasonal employees

Supporting Activities

Planning and implementing public programs and events

  • Field Day Demonstration regarding such specifics as weed management, composting, irrigation and high tunnel production
  • Prairie Programming
  • Youth Programming
  • Delivery of CSA shares and the opportunity to connect with consumers
  • Farmers Markets, both on-site and in nearby communities
  • Working with the WCI Chef to provide produce for menus, events and value-added products

Adjunct Farm Experiences

  • Sustainable agriculture and how this relates to the community
  • Market what you grow
  • Take part in the basics of One Step at a Time, a program that helps producers create a gift shop-ready food product

Sharing the Sustainable Agriculture Concept

Create a pay-it-forward project following the apprenticeship that helps others better understand the importance of sustainable farming practices

Apprenticeship Business Assistance

  • Business plan assistance in terms of outline, review and editing
  • Support of portfolio development
  • Suggestions to prepare for a loan request
  • Post apprenticeship assistance – WCI will be available beyond the apprenticeship to review and edit business plans


  • $1,000 to $1,500 stipend depending on the number of weeks of the apprenticeship
  • Housing available on-site. This includes a bedroom, kitchenette, shower and bathroom. These accommodations are in the second story of the farm house on the Country Life Center’s property.
  • Opportunities to assist with program development, delivery and evaluation
  • Opportunity to be an integral part of a comprehensive local food production system

Apprenticeship applications are accepted year-round. Email Mosa Shayan or call him at 515.868.4297 with questions or to apply.

They taught me that I don’t have to do everything right now, and that maybe I don’t have all the skills I need yet, but I can learn them. You can read all you want about (growing things), but in the end, you need to stick something in the ground. If it dies, well, you’ve learned something.”