Coastal Roots Farm’s first apprenticeship!

Coastal Roots Farm
Nov 25, 2015 · 6 min read

We have launched our first apprenticeship! The pilot yearlong apprenticeship program will provide each apprentice with onsite housing, a living wage and professional development. While all apprentices will learn the basics of community farming, each individual will be focused on a specialization and will help to develop that aspect of our farm as it expands its production, outreach and educational programming.

The Farm provides a unique training opportunity for emerging farmers and is dedicated to advancing the fields of community farming and Jewish community farming. The Farm sees new and innovative opportunities for helping emerging farmers forge a path towards successful, dignified careers as community leaders, educators and entrepreneurs. We believe this next generation of community farmers and farms is essential to solving many of the most pressing social, environmental and health issues we face.

Scroll down to learn about the members of our new apprenticeship!

Ellie Honan, Minnesota

Animal Husbandry and Composting Apprentice

Meet Ellie Honan. She is from St. Paul, Minnesota and joins us as our new Animal Husbandry and Composting Apprentice. Her work will focus on rotational grazing, milking, value-added products (like dairy, eggs, meat), breeding, composting and educational programs related to these topics. After high school, Ellie spent a year traveling in Kenya. She worked on the farms of families who hosted her. It was there that she discovered her love for cultivating food. Since then she has worked with a number of farms and CSAs and has developed a passion for sustainable agriculture and the communities built around it. During her time at Grinnell College, she served as the Grinnell Area Local Food Alliance Apprentice, a member of the Women Food and Agriculture Network’s Board of Directors, and head of the Grinnell College Garden Club. She also led a spring break service trip to sustainable farms around Iowa and organized and facilitated a two-day Permaculture workshop for the Grinnell community. Ellie graduated from Grinnell College in 2014 with a degree in Sustainable Development. We are very happy to have her at Coastal Roots Farm, as she builds her knowledge base and skill set to own and operate a farm of her own one day.

Itai Siegel, Israel

Vegetable Production Apprentice

Itai Siegel is our new Vegetable Production Apprentice. He’ll be supervising the vegetables. Itai comes to Coastal Roots Farm from Kibbutz Gezer, Israel. He grew up in a small rural village and likes to say he was brought up on community values like sharing and working hard for a common purpose. Growing up in a rural area helped Itai make an early connection to the land where he discovered his love for farming. His passion for the land deepened and his interest on how to live sustainably began after completing a permaculture diploma course at Hava Veadam in Israel. Since then, Itai has been increasing his knowledge and experience in different areas of sustainability, such as farming, water conservation, building and more. He loves traveling and discovering new cultures, and that love has led him to Coastal Roots Farm!

Jamie Pratt, San Diego

Educational and Programming Apprentice

Meet our new Educational and Programming Apprentice, Jamie Pratt. She will be planning and running farm-based education on and off site for people all ages and abilities. Jamie’s journey in farming began with studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she earned a B.S. in Ecology & Evolution, and a B.A. in Environmental Studies. She was initially focused on marine biodiversity and conservation, but fieldwork led her to question the role and impacts of a globalized food system on human cultures and the earth. Studies abroad in French Polynesia and Costa Rica in her final year left her with a desire to explore more. After a two year break teaching yoga and working as an environmental toxicologist, Jamie returned to study at American University in Washington DC and The United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica. She earned a Master’s in International Affairs and Natural Resources & Sustainable Development. Sieving through global concerns, she landed back in San Diego with a refined focus on the political ecology of farming in California and a desire to promote sustainable agriculture. This led Jamie to enroll in the Small Scale Sustainable Agriculture course at Wild Willow Farm in South San Diego. She also worked for a local farmer wholesaler in Northern California and an organic farmstead dairy on the Northern California coast. She is excited to be a young farmer, educator, and community advocate at Coastal Roots Farm and we are equally excited to have her here!

Jean Paul Sein Rivera, Puerto Rico

Food Forest and Nursery Apprentice

Meet Jean Paul Sein Rivera, Coastal Roots Farm’s Food Forest and Nursery Apprentice. He will be focusing his work on developing a large food forest, edible and native nursery as well as establishing new orchards and edible native landscapes throughout the property. Jean Paul was born and raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. In 2010, his life revolved around skateboarding. One day, Jean Paul did some landscape design with his mother for their front yard. This experience inspired him to buy seeds, in fact a lot of seeds: tomato seeds, mint seeds, onion seeds, cilantro seeds, and zinnia seeds. With patience he watered and watched his seeds grow. Jean Paul later attended the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez campus to study Science in Agriculture. He was interested in using all the valuable information he received from school in the field, and that’s when everything started to take shape. He found out his cousin was also studying Science in Agriculture and owned a farm that was producing fruits and building a food forest. He decided to move there and help. Jean Paul was surprised and intrigued with the life of the mature fruit forest. Feeling the need to expand his knowledge on fruticulture, he became a fruit hunter. Simultaneously, he started to learn about permaculture through his cousin and even took a permaculture course. He never expected to be so successful. We are extremely pleased to have him here at Coastal Roots Farm!

Simcha Schwartz, New York

Apprenticeship and Associate Program Director

Meet Simcha Schwartz. He is Coastal Roots Farm’s Apprenticeship and Associate Program Director. Prior to joining the team, Simcha worked as both an educator and coordinator for the Teva Learning Center, Hazon, Urban Adamah and American Jewish World Service. He also is the Co-Founder and former Co-Director of the Jewish Farm School in Philadelphia, PA and has assisted in the creation and implementation of farm-based programs at Eden Village Camp (Putnam Valley, NY). Simcha holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Kansas and most recently became certified as a Clinical Pastoral Educator. We are thrilled to have him leading creative programming at Coastal Roots Farm!


You can meet the apprentices in person on Sunday Afternoons from 2PM-4PM and Tuesday Mornings from 8AM-10AM for our volunteer work hours! To see all upcoming events click here.

Coastal Roots Farm

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We are a nonprofit community farm and education center. We nourish connections — to ourselves, our neighbors, and the land.

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