are you a good fit?
This page is provided to help you decide if you are a good fit for on-farm mentoring and hosting students
Farm Mentors have some essential aims and values:
They encourage respect for what it takes to make farming a career
They encourage respect for nature
They model and teach others to work hard and effectively
They model and teach others the principles of stewardship and cooperation
They convey a sense of process (both natural and economic)
They work to develop mentoring relationships based on mutual trust and respect, with clearly defined boundaries
They nurture trainee self-development
They respect and exemplify the mentoring tradition
They honestly convey the realities (both satisfactions and frustrations) of small-scale, “sustainable” farming as a vocation or career
Ask yourself these questions to help you determine if you’re a good fit:
What are your long-term goals (think: “mission statement”) of your agricultural operation?
How might adding an internship/apprenticeship program to your farm help fulfill your farm’s mission?
Who were the teachers or mentors in your life that helped you? What did you appreciate about their mentoring style?
What prior experience do you have with educating/mentoring?
What skills and personal qualities do you have that you think will serve you as a mentor?
How might you make room for a new person to learn and participate in the critical operations on your farm or ranch?
Given that mentor/mentee relationships are mutual learning opportunities, what are you excited to learn and what are you excited to teach?
Are you set up to host interns/apprentices (Do you have appropriate resources on-hand for housing interns/apprentices (i.e. telephone/internet connection, laundry/kitchen/bathroom facilities, etc)?
How much time/energy/patience do you realistically have?
In what ways are you interested in adapting your schedule, operation and daily routine to include an intern/apprentice? How comfortable are you with accepting critique, criticisms or suggestions from an intern/apprentice?
How might you check in with the intern/apprentice to assess if their learning is progressing or has halted?
Can you serve as an advisor/mediator as well as educator?
What makes you a good farmer/rancher?
Do you have the experience and expertise to truly provide a valuable education to an intern/apprentice?
What impact will having an intern/apprentice have on your personal and family situation?
How might you motivate an intern in the middle of a challenging farming season?
Are you open to the potential opportunities that might come as a result of working with someone who might be very different from you?