Summer program in Natural Agriculture

Students wanted for a Summer program at the Natural Agriculture farm in Hunter, New York.

“We are engaging programs interested in exploring different approaches to sustainable agriculture and we believe your students would benefit from learning about Natural Agriculture.”

Located just 2.5 hours outside of New York City, the Catskill Mountain Foundation farm is one of the only farms in the United States implementing Shumei Natural Agriculture. This farming method was developed in Japan by Mokichi Okada, a philosopher and naturalist, to produce wholesome food without the use of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides or additives of any kind. The primary principle of Natural Agriculture is the overriding respect for nature, which applies to both producers and consumers. Today, Natural Agriculture is practiced in countries around the world, including Japan, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Brazil, Italy, England, Germany, United States, Turkey and Zambia.

Shumei is a Japanese-based organization with an ongoing partnership with international and US-based environmental and agricultural organizations, such as the Rodale Institute. Shumei’s Natural Agriculture program in Zambia has been recognized by the United Nations for its impact on empowering rural women farmers by teaching them to no longer rely on expensive hybrid seeds, fertilizers and pesticides through this cost-effective and environmentally-friendly approach to farming. Natural Agriculture supports and promotes biodiversity and traditional/indigenous seed-saving is a core component of this practice. Natural Agriculture farmers respect and trust the inherent wisdom of nature and seed-saving promotes crops’ natural ability to adapt to changing climates and severe weather patterns.

The Natural Agriculture fellowship program in the US offers students a hands-on opportunity to learn this philosophical approach to sustainable agriculture and sustainable living in harmony with nature. All participants are provided with free housing during their stay, while gaining valuable knowledge and experience in farming and Natural Agriculture. We also aim to create an opportunity for cross-cultural exchange between our Japanese farmers and interns and US students from around the country.

They hope that some U of I  students will join them for this year’s summer program beginning any time between now and September.

About the Fellowship: The Natural Agriculture Fellowship at the Catskill Mountain
Foundation provides hands-on learning and a philosophical and artistic
approach to agriculture and sustainable living. Fellows will be involved in all
aspects of Natural Agriculture as a way of food production and a way of living
in harmony with nature.
They are currently accepting applications to participate in the “Art of
Agriculture” fellowship program from May 1st thru September 30th. We offer
two types of fellowship opportunities: a long-term fellowship and a shortterm
fellowship. Long-term fellows stay for at least 2 months and will take on
a larger role in assisting the Fellowship Coordinator and Farm Manager in
daily farm operations and organizing special events. Short-term fellows stay
for 3-5 weeks.
Responsibilities: General farm work, planting, seeding, weeding, hoeing,
harvesting, post-harvest vegetable handling, CSA support and distribution,
cleanup, building and grounds projects, and special farm projects. Fellows
will write a weekly reflection on their experiences and submit a final
reflection on their overall farm experience. Fellows will also be expected to
participate in a farm beautification project. There will be a selection of
possible projects that fellows can consider and complete within the duration
of their stay on the farm.
Work Schedule: Fellows are expected to work 30 hours per week on the
farm. Time must also be devoted to other program activities, group
discussions and work on the final art project. Individual schedules will be
determined with Farm Manager Kenji Ban.
Compensation: This is an unpaid fellowship. CMF will provide free housing,
free Sugar Maples art classes if available (material fees not included), free
vegetables from the farm and staff discounts for CMF activities.
Housing: CMF will provide each fellow with a private room in a shared house
within close proximity to the farm. All utilities and access to laundry facilities
included. Fellows are expected to maintain regular cleanliness of the house.
Training: No previous farming experience necessary. They will provide farm
training, gardening guidelines, access to videos and books on Natural
Agriculture, sustainable living, food, environment, agriculture and climate
change, as well as group discussions.
Time off: Fellows will receive 2 days off per week. 2 personal days; sick time
as needed and negotiated with the farm manager.

For more information on the program and how to apply, please contact Akemi Imai at (518) 263-2000 / email: or Brianne Chai-Onn at 212-715-1526 / email:

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