Urban Permaculture Design Apprenticeship

24136801624_9df24f643e_kThis 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, 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 Sunday for the first year of the Program. Along with over 100 hours in the classroom, students will participate in over 100 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 any one of our Program Introduction Meetings on April 9th, 23rd, and May 7th, 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

Sunday, April 9th, 2017, 3-4:30pm  Event on FB →

Sunday, April 23rd,2017, 3-4:30pm  Event on FB →

Sunday, May 7th,2017, 3-4:30pm    Event on FB →

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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, or $50 per month.  However, we intend to offer our Program 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 Sunday, 12-5pm for classes (full schedule below)
“No-class” Sundays , 12-5pm for hands-on activities*
* Other days at other sites available near you, inquire within.

Some Saturdays or weekday evenings for resource acquisitions.
Some Saturdays or weekday evenings for special events


  • Purchase three pens (black, blue and red) and a ruler.
  • Read and sign our Assumption of Risks/Waiver and Payment Agreement


  • On a rotating basis amongst apprentices, help with weekly activities (1-2 hours per week) Examples: The Bee Farm (ex. Sundays @ 10:30 AM), Please Touch Garden (ex. Wednesday afternoons), or Hayes Valley Art Works (ex. Friday evenings, Tuesday afternoons).
  • Attend and actively participate in weekly classes and activities under the guidance of a mentor (Sundays, 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 Sunday, 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 stand during two weekends each season.

Year 2 Commitments:

Every other Sunday, 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-Sunday” 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 Sundays
  • Who are engaged in work or other volunteer/community activities that could interfere with our “every Sunday” 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 complete a program application here.  Program Introduction Meetings at Hayes Valley Art Works (456 Laguna St, SF):

  • Sunday, April 9th, 2017, 3-4:30pm
  • Sunday, April 23rd, 2017, 3-4:30pm
  • Sunday, May 7th, 2017, 3-4:30pm


  • Friday, May 12th, 2017 (11:59pm):  The deadline to submit your application.
  • By Saturday, May 13th:  You will be informed by email whether you are admitted to the Program.
  • Sunday May 21st (12-5pm): This will be your first session 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 a guest instructor for an Introduction to Permaculture. You are welcome and encouraged to attend the session.
  • Sunday, May 28th (12-5pm):  Meet at Hayes Valley Art Works.
  • Sunday, June 4th (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


Dates: April 9th, 23rd, and May 7th, 2017
Time: 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Event Category: Apprenticeships


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



Class Schedule for Year 1
(Every other Sunday, 12-5pm, mid-May through mid-November)

  • Sun May 21 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Jun 4 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Jun 18 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Jul 9 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Jul 23 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Aug 6 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Aug 20 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Sep 3 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Sep 17 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Oct 8 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Oct 22 (12-6pm)
  • Sun Nov 5 (12-5pm)
  • Sun Nov 19 (12-5pm)

Submit your application →