Come grow with us!
We're ready to cultivate a new crop of regenerative hemp farmers. From breeding and seedling to cultivation, harvest, and extraction, our growers will receive the education and experience they need to advance in in sustainable, diversified hemp farming careers. Here's how it works:
The Chimney Rock Organic Hemp Farm School works to give its students a holistic perspective on what it takes to successfully start and manage an organic diversified hemp farm. From conceptual foundations of plant/soil sciences and agroecology to farm research to field tasks and greenhouse operations to management functions, the Chimney Rock Organic Hemp Farm School has programs for all levels of aspiring farmers. Each of these programs feature weekly classes, labs, book discussions, and plenty of hands-on experience, including independent projects. Chimney Rock Organic Hemp Farm School has a variety of living laboratories for learning and research, including two large passive solar greenhouses, a permaculture orchard, a small herd of heritage breed sheep, high tunnels, over 20 acres of crop fields, a science laboratory, and more.
The Chimney Rock Hemp Farm School has programs for every skill level:
The Farm School Program
The Farm School's two 10-week academic programs are designed for beginners and experienced growers alike. Taken together, these programs provide a comprehensive overview of hemp breeding, cultivation, horticulture, agronomy, testing, processing, and regulations. The spring program (from mid May through July) focuses on hemp horticulture, greenhouse and nursery production, fertilizers and plant nutrition, field prep, planting, and cultivation. The fall program (from August through mid-October) focuses on hemp agronomy, agroecology, economics, harvest, post-harvest handling, and processing into industrial and value-added products. Completion of these programs
Each week, students will spend up to 4.5 hours in classroom lecture and lab/seminar sessions, plus participate in weekly book discussions. Students should expect to spend an additional 5-10 hours per week on homework, including reading assignments, research, and preparation of reports.
In addition, the program offers an optional weekly tutorial to introduce students to the conceptual foundations of plant and soil sciences as well as sustainable agriculture. This tutorial is designed to provide the background necessary to fully understand the theoretical concepts and applied scientific background that underlie those discussed in the week's hemp-specific lecture session.
Students should also expect to spend 8-10 hours per week learning by working with hemp. Students will be guided in group sessions and/or individually by our farm leadership team as needed, and students work both cooperatively and individually to accomplish the hemp-related farm tasks.
The Internship Program
The Chimney Rock Farm Internship program is designed to immerse participants in the day-to-day activities of life on a diversified, organic hemp farm. The internship program provides housing in a bunkhouse on the farm in addition to the entire Farm School program in exchange for an additional 15-20 hours of work - on average - per week. Interns should expect to participate with various farm activities which may or may not directly involve work with industrial hemp. In addition to our hemp crop(s), the farm also maintains a small flock of Navajo Churro sheep, pasture-raised poultry, a vegetable garden, various cover crops and field crops, and more. Farm responsibilities are rotated within the group to ensure that each participant experiences all aspects of the farm. Accomplishing farm work is a physically demanding activity that requires participants to be physically active and outdoors on a daily basis for the duration of the program. Before applying, please consider your ability to perform this level of activity.
Up to three selected erudite interns committed to participation in the full-season program that exhibit an apptitude for leadership and a strong work ethic may be appointed as Apprentices. Apprentices are given the opportunity to manage key projects and/or departments on the farm - depending on farm needs and student interests - ranging from greenhouse/nursery management, breeding/research, IPM/plant health, field/irrigation managment, and livestock/pasture managment to PR/social media, grounds maintenance, and inventory managment.
Apprentices should expect to work up to an additional 5 hours per week, on average, in these roles. In exchange, apprentices share housing in the farmhouse at the center of the farm and receive a weekly nutritional stipend, depending on financial need. Continuity of apprentice responsibilities and benefits are contingent on the apprentice maintaining good standing in the program.
The year-long Journeyperson position, designed for Apprenticeship graduates and/or individuals with advanced agricultural education and commercial farming experience, is the capstone to the Farm School's educational programs. This full-time position focuses on developing professional skills and managment qualifications needed for graduates to start their own sustainable farming enterprise and/or advance to upper management positions on diversified organic hemp farms.
The journeyperson position is a paid supervisory position requiring 40+ hours of work per week. In addition, the journeyman will attend weekly one on one educational sessions with the Farm Manager and will be expected to complete a whole-farm business plan for a diversified hemp farm. Journeyperson farmers will be expected to lead or assist lecture sessions from time to time as their experience and knowledge allows. The journeyperson will also serve as the lab assistant for all farm school labs and research projects.
The Journeyperson position comes with a $1000/month salary, housing in a private room , paid time off and sick leave, and other benefits. We strive to hire the Journeyperson from the most recent pool of apprentice graduates. Journeypersons that complete the program successfully may also be eligible to stay on as the farm's assistant manager as this position becomes available. For a compete overview of the Journeyperson curriculum, click the link below:
Journeyperson Position Overview
The Farm School features several guest speakers from the hemp industry, sustainable agriculture community, and more. Guest presentations are generally held on Saturday evenings, following a feast of farm-raised and other local foods. For a complete schedule of guest speakers in 2018 click here. If you'd like to be a guest speaker with our program, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition for each 10-week educational program costs $1100 or $2000 for the full 21-week season which includes a week long mid-term break at the mid-point of the season, usually in late July/early August. Tuition covers the complete educational program plus activity and lab fees.
Tuition refund policy
Tuition is non-refundable after the program starts. Tuition is 50% refundable prior to the program start date.
A $550 housing deposit is required for all interns living on-site for each of the 10-week programs. All but $50 of this deposit will be refunded to the participant at the end of their program. Participants leaving voluntarily prior to the end of the program will be refunded on a pro-rated basis. Participants who are dismissed from the program for misconduct or other disciplinary reasons are not eligible for a refund.
Work Exchange Scholarships
All interns and apprentices receive a work-exchange scholarship that covers tuition plus housing costs in exchange for 15-20 hours of work per week, on average, above and beyond the 8-10 hours of work experience requirements of the educational program. Chimney Rock Farms reserves the right to suspend or revoke the work exchange scholarship for disciplinary reasons or prolonged poor academic standing.
A limited number of nutritional scholarships are available for interns with demonstrated need to reduce the financial burden of our program and ensure interns have adquate nutrition to maintain . Recipients of a CRF Nutritional Scholarship receive a weekly nutrition stipend to supplement nutitional needs provided by public assistance (food stamps). Apprentices in good standing also receive an additional nutritional stipend as specified in the Apprenticeship program overview. Click the link below to download the scholarship application.
Recreation and Community Events
Chimney Rock Farms hosts monthly activities for all its students, ranging from community dinners (with guest speakers) to field trips to local attractions. Students must be in good standing with the program to be eligible to attend these activities.
Additionally, our farm is located on the Piedra River, right in between Durango and Pagosa Springs. There is National Forest access right across the highway and endless recreational and entertainment opportunities in the area, including:
Growers who graduate our program will be invited to come back at the end of the season for our Alumni Harvest Party.
Requirements for all programs
Submit an application by to be considered for the 2018 certificate programs. Deadline for the Sustainable Horticulture Certificate Program is May 15, 2018. Deadline for the Sustainable Agriculture Certificate Program is August 15, 2018.