Apprenticeship

Embrace the role of a land steward and embark on a journey of cultivating, nurturing, and harnessing the potential of vegetables, edible plants, and medicinal herbs throughout an entire growing season. Join Cassandra Dailey, the Founder of BFree Organics, at her ancestral apothecary and private abode nestled in either, Los Angeles or her residence in the Mount Shasta region of Northern California. Our program has room for up to 7 apprentices, and we encourage you to apply promptly. While local residents are preferred, we welcome applicants from other locations. If you're planning to travel for this apprenticeship, kindly make arrangements for your own living accommodations.

Apprentices will be immersed in the intricacies of practices such as sowing, planting, tending, irrigating, and harvesting a diverse range of edible crops, herbs, and flowers. Through hands-on experiences, participants will delve into the art of organic seed saving, propagation, herbalism, and the crafting of basic skincare formulas, homeopathic tinctures, and remedies essential for holistic living.

This unique program revolves around cultivating perennial food crops, herbs, and flowers on a human scale, without the reliance on machines. Our focus will be on nurturing the garden at Cassandra's private residences, cultivating sustenance for personal, familial, and small community needs. It's worth noting that if your ambition is to establish a professional farm and engage in large-scale food production, we recommend exploring farm-based apprenticeship programs.

Amidst our journey, we'll explore the essence of the earth's elements: earth, water, air, and fire (sun), fostering a connection to the cycle of life's seasons and generations. Rooted in Indigenous principles of holistic, forward-thinking spanning seven generations, our approach harmoniously incorporates ancestral wisdom within a contemporary context. This philosophy encompasses your own generation, the three preceding it (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents), and the three to come (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren), instilling a sense of continuity and empowerment.

 


This apprenticeship nurtures a space for experiential learning and knowledge exchange with mentors, guides, and facilitators. Our aim is to provide practical, land-based opportunities that honor the ancient ways of our ancestors, encompassing seed preservation, soil enrichment, herbalism, and holistic living practices, all gleaned from our lived experiences. Occasionally, we'll be graced by the presence of guest instructors, enriching our curriculum with their specialized expertise. Both classes and special events will allow new and old friends to explore the garden's abundance and engage with those who nurture it.

Please note that this apprenticeship, situated in a private residence, is designed to include children of all ages in learning about food cultivation, seed preservation, pollinators like bees, herbalism, garden crafts, and more. Alongside imparting holistic living insights, our monthly "classes" offer an avenue for parents and kids to connect, socialize, and foster community bonds. Our journey through the compact yet vibrant BFree gardens will engage your senses—tasting, touching, smelling, listening, and observing—taking you to the greenhouse, flower beds, compost heaps, and a breathtaking views of the majestic mountain ranges at either location. Some of these gatherings will encompass storytelling, artistic expression, and live music from local artisans and Indigenous elders.

 

 

Please bear in mind that our approach is exclusively organic. With a growing season stretching from April to October, we have the luxury year around growing in Los Angeles and 6 months for gardening in Mt. Shasta. These dates may vary by a week or two, so staying attuned to the weather is crucial when planning activities.

Dedicate one 4-6hour day each month for six months to cultivate camaraderie within our small group. Through hands-on engagement, you'll acquaint yourself with a myriad of perennial edibles, fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants. Our instructors, known for their welcoming and patient demeanor, ensure a nurturing learning environment. While local residents are preferred, we warmly welcome enthusiasts from other locales.

You'll acquire skills in small-scale, manual food production, and indulge in local plant identification expeditions, hikes, and adventures. These excursions will be planned with a 3-week lead time, avoiding overlaps with our regular "Garden Days" or potentially leading to adjusted schedules.

    Our apprenticeship is located on a ½-acre private residential land, designated as growing zone 10a/b and/or zone 7b, ideal for cool-weather annual row crops. This encompasses a diverse range, from lettuce and broccoli to garlic and nettles, all of which will be nurtured by a seasonal team of 3 to 7 staff and apprentices. Our plans include the establishment of an on-site greenhouse, and the possibility of crafting garden beds and installing drip irrigation. Additionally, we anticipate leading nature walks and hikes in the surroundings to familiarize you with indigenous medicinal plants.

    Our monthly meetings will predominantly take place during the week, with some flexibility due to weather conditions. During the timeline from April to October, around 22 out of 26 weeks will be dedicated to the apprenticeship. Within this window, we will designate four breaks, while also accounting for potential rainouts. If you have prior commitments that prevent attendance on a few times, there's no need to worry. It's expected that most participants will miss a few days, but we encourage attending at least three classes per month. Our sessions will run from 8 am to 12 pm on each apprenticeship day.

    For information on registration and pricing, we will provide details upon receiving your application and subsequent selection as a BFree apprentice. Financial constraints won't be a barrier, as we believe that the right fit deserves full access to our program. We encourage you to contribute what you can afford, with the median price suggested to cover the course's costs. Those with lower incomes are encouraged to select the lower end of the sliding scale, while those with incomes above $115,000 per year are requested to choose an appropriate fee based on their discretion.

    Details for the 2024 Apprenticeship dates will be released toward the end of Spring 2024, generally spanning from mid-April to mid-October. 2024 Apprenticeship will be held at our Los Angeles property, located in the Santa Monica mountains.