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49 Farms
49 Farms
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San Francisco, California, US
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49 Farms

49 Farms

San Francisco, US

Hayes Valley Art Works

Hayes Valley Art Works

San Francisco, US

Jay Rosenberg Joel Nisly Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper Susan LeSage

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Urban Permaculture Design Apprenticeship

Project: 49 Farms

Posted by Jay Rosenberg over 8 years ago

This curriculum-based, community focused Urban Permaculture Design Apprenticeship, facilitated by Jay Rosenberg, is aimed at fast-tracking the development of urban permaculture-based knowledge in a wide range of specific subjects. This is an ideal way to get started on a career as an urban permaculture designer and/or participate in urban permaculture projects worldwide.

The 2-year Design Apprenticeship is best suited for self-motivated people who already possess some life experience. As an apprentice you will be exposed to a great many opportunities to learn. Making the most of these opportunities is critical to your learning success. Showing up early and getting involved, rather than being just passive listeners in class, will help ensure you come away with the confidence to subsequently design and implement your own permaculture solutions. It represents a wonderful opportunity for students who are prepared to accept the challenge.

Classes are held every other Friday for the first year of the Program. Along with 90 hours in the classroom, students will participate in 90 hours of hands-on projects and activities that are designed to enhance the learning experience and tailored for the interest, ability and schedule of the individual.

We are currently welcoming applicants for this year’s program, submit your application today.

red tailed hawk at hayes valley art works

Our Apprenticeship Program is a 2-year intensive learning experience, designed to train urban permaculture designers who will help manage projects on a volunteer basis at our various San Francisco project sites. As far as we can tell, there is only one other apprenticeship program in the U.S. that is remotely like ours. :)

If, after you read the full description below, you think you might be interested in applying to our Program, come to one of our 1-hour Program Introduction Meetings on February 19th, March 4th or March 11th, where we will discuss Program specifics and answer any questions you might have. In addition, apprentices who previously completed our Program, and will be serving as mentors this year, will be on-hand to share their insights and experiences.

Program Introduction Meetings at Hayes Valley Art Works
456 Laguna Street (@ Fell), SF, CA 94102

Friday, February 19th, 2016, 3-4pm

Friday, March 4th, 2016, 3-4pm

Friday, March 11th, 2016, 3-4pm

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 7.51.12 PM

2015 Urban Ag Report. RPD, January 2016.

Based on our review of permaculture courses and “apprenticeships” offered throughout the U.S., the fair market value (FMV) for participation in our Program for Year 1 is $600.  However, our Program is at “no charge” because we are counting on your time, focus and commitment for the full 2-year period of the Program.

During Year 1, we make a substantial investment in you. We guide you through book, Internet, discussion and hands-on learning, and you participate in the full range of urban permaculture design and related activities as well as public education events. In return, you make the time commitment to learn during Year 1, to be an active member of our charitable and educational community and to “give back” to 49 Farms in a substantial and meaningful way during Year 2 of the Program.

So long as you fulfill your 2-year commitments to the Program, your participation is of no charge to you.  However, you will be required to purchase your own materials (see Year 1, Preliminaries, below).  And, if you fail to honor your full commitment to 49 Farms during Year 1 and/or Year 2, regardless of reason, you will need to pay 49 Farms the FMV for each full or partial month you participated in Year 1 of the Program.

If you apply and are admitted to our Program, here are the commitments we will be relying on you to fulfill:

Year 1 Commitments: 

Every other Friday, 12-5pm for classes (full schedule below)
“No-class” on the other Fridays, 12-5pm for hands-on activities

Some Saturdays or weekday evenings for resource acquisitions.
Some Saturdays or weekday evenings for special events
Holiday and special events calendar to be posted.


  • Purchase a composition notebook, a pad of graph paper, three pens (black, blue and red), a ruler and book (a $100-$150 investment)
  • Read and sign our Assumption of Risks/Waiver and Payment Agreement


  • On a rotating basis, help with weekly activities (1-2 hours per week) at The Bee Farm (Sundays @ 10:30 AM), Please Touch Garden (Wednesday afternoons), or Hayes Valley Art Works (weekday evenings, Tuesday afternoons).
  • Attend and actively participate in weekly classes and activities under the guidance of a mentor (Fridays, 12-5pm)


  • Prepare for monthly Program Discussion Meetings by doing the required research and reading
  • Attend and actively participate in each Program Discussion Meeting, held one Friday, 2-5 PM at the library (these dates are listed below and in the Program Application)
  • Help with project site assessment and maintenance, primarily observing the site and taking care of the tools.

Periodic & Seasonal:

  • Help staff public educational tabling (such as Arbor Day, Earth Day and Pollinator Week events)
  • Help run a workshop or tour on at least 2 occasions (weekend dates or weekday evenings TBD as schedule is confirmed)
  • Help with our seasonal honey sales during two weekends each season.

Year 2 Commitments:

Every other Friday, 12-5pm
Some Saturdays for special events and activities

While you continue to learn, you will help mentor our next group of apprentices on an “every-other-Friday” basis, and you will help lead at least one monthly Program Discussion meeting. You also will continue to help with public education events, lead and participate in special urban permaculture-related projects, and help with our honey sales and other fundraisers.

Who should not apply: 

This is not a Program for those:

  • Who have a job that may require work on Fridays
  • Who are engaged in work or other volunteer/community activities that could interfere with our “every Friday” Year 1 Program commitment
  • Who currently foresee or are hoping for a major life change during the 2-years of the Program that would make it difficult to fulfill their commitment.  Examples include moving out of the Bay Area, a significant job or career change, having or adopting a child, time consuming coursework in pursuit of a college degree or occupational certification with or without continuing to work.

Application & Timeline. 

You can download, save and complete a 2016 Urban Permaculture Design Apprenticeship Program Application here.  The Application contains all our 2016 Monthly Program Discussion Meeting dates.

Program Introduction Meetings at Hayes Valley Art Works:

  • Friday, February 19th, 2016, 3-4pm, or
  • Friday, March 4th, 2016, 3-4pm, or
  • Friday, March 11th, 2016, 3-4pm


  • Sunday March 13th, 2016:  The deadline to email your completed Application to [email protected].
  • By Monday March 14th, 2016:  You will be informed by email whether you are admitted to the Program.
  • Friday March 18th, 2016 (12-5pm): This will be your first meeting at Hayes Valley Art Works.  We will discuss purchasing materials, the required book and reading schedule, and an overview of equipment, use of tools, ergonomics, site assessment basics and how to water the trees.  You will have 3 weeks to purchase your materials. We will also be joined by special guest instructor Matthew Stephens for an Introduction to Permaculture.
  • Friday, March 25th, 2016 (12-5pm):  Meet at Hayes Valley Art Works, followed by fun!
  • Friday, April 1, 2016 (12-5pm):  Your first design session.


The SF Bee-Cause Beekeeping Apprentices, the only other apprenticeship program that is remotely like ours (without the protective suits). Find out more at sfbeecause.com.

Urban Permaculture Design Apprenticeship Program Introduction Meetings


Date: Fridays, February 19th,  March 4th and March 11th, 2016
Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Event Category: Apprenticeships


Hayes Valley Art Works
456 Laguna Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
+ Google Map



Class Schedule for Year 1 
(Every other Friday, mid-March through mid-November)

Fri Mar 18 12-5pm – * w/ Special Guest Instructor – Matthew Stephens

Fri Apr 1 12-5pm
Fri Apr 15 12-5pm
Fri Apr 29 12-5pm – * 2-5pm at Library for Monthly Discussion Meeting

Fri May 13 12-5pm
Fri May 27 12-5pm – * 2-5pm at Library for Monthly Discussion Meeting

Fri Jun 10 12-5pm
Fri Jun 24 12-5pm – * 2-5pm at Library for Monthly Discussion Meeting

Fri Jul 8 12-5pm
Fri Jul 22 12-5pm – * 2-5pm at Library for Monthly Discussion Meeting

Fri Aug 5 12-5pm
Fri Aug 19 12-5pm – * 2-5pm at Library for Monthly Discussion Meeting

Fri Sep 2 12-5pm
Fri Sep 16 12-5pm
Fri Sep 30 12-5pm – * 2-5pm at Library for Monthly Discussion Meeting

Fri Oct 14 12-5pm
Fri Oct 28 12-5pm – * 2-5pm at Library for Monthly Discussion Meeting

Fri Nov 11 12-5pm


Application Document

Apprenticeship Application 2016-18

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