Living Roots

Living Roots Organic Farm School

Now accepting applications for the 2019 Market Farmer Training Program. Application Deadline February 28th, 2019.

2019 Student Program Dates: April 21st - November 7th


The Living Roots Market Farmer Training Program

Are you interested in running your own organic, sustainable, small farm business? Do you want to get an in-depth education and hands on experience before jumping out on your own?

The Living Roots Market Farmer Training Program was created for you! This is an intimate, hands-on training program. Instead of the institutional feel of a large university, you get an organic, down-to-earth, human experience. The farm school's intention is to empower students by giving them real life farm experience, balanced with a healthy dose of classroom time and mentorship.

General Curriculum Topics

Organic Produce Farming - Crop Selection, Seed Starting, Soil Preparation, Planting, Tending, Harvesting, Season Extension, Tools, Machinery

Organic Animal Farming - Humane Caretaking for Cattle, Sheep, Pigs, and Chickens, including Rotational Grazing, Grass-Fed Diets, Basic Butchering Skills

Running a Farm Business - Basic Finance/Bookkeeping, Sales/Marketing, Legal, Acquisition of a Farm, Farmers Markets, CSAs, Online Farmers Markets, Wholesale Business

Wellness & Lifestyle for Organic Farmers - Yoga (optional), Massage (optional), Self-care, Herbal Medicine

Tentative Guest Teacher Workshops/Lectures for 2019

Fruit Production for Market Farms (taught by Blake Cothron of Peaceful Heritage Nursery)
Fruit Tree Propagation Including Grafting (taught by Blake Cothron of Peaceful Heritage Nursery)
Mushroom Cultivation
Farm Machinery

This Program has four components: classroom time, field work, a student individualized project, and guest workshops/lectures.

Classroom Time
This includes lectures, mentoring, and reading assignments. Michael Hicks, Director and Lead Teacher, of the Farm School will facilitate classroom style learning for relevant farm subjects. More info about Michael found on our Meet the Team page. There are 2 classroom/mentor times per week.

Field Work
This involves participating and learning with the Living Roots Farm Staff. As Living Roots is a working market farm, hands on learning will be the most important component to your farm education. There will be 3 field work days/week.

Student Individualized Project
All students will choose one project to complete over the course of their time at Living Roots. This project will be something of interest to the student. The project must be approved by the school before beginning. Examples include: leadership of a certain crop, a farm building project, a new farm endeavor, a perennial project in the community garden, etc.

Guest Teacher Workshops/Lectures
Local/regional experts will teach about a variety of topics over the course of the program. There will be approximately one guest workshop/lecture each month. The list of topics and guest teachers for the current program is listed above.

Other Perks of Being a Student at Living Roots

- Access to a Community Garden Plot
- Some Extra Produce from the Farm
- Use of the farm's healing arts space, creative arts space, and library
- Wifi access in our Arts Center
- Walking distance to lots of hiking, backpacking, canoeing (National Forest, Springs Valley Lake)


Housing is either in a dorm-style farmhouse or an off-the grid cabin, depending on availability. All students share the farmhouse kitchen. In addition to being a huge part of the educational experience, a student's field work on the farm covers their housing fee (including utilities). The student can also choose to live off-site (fees and program requirements are the same).


The student tuition fee per season is $1995. After you are accepted to the school, tuition must be paid by April 15th, with cash, check, or credit card.

There are two options to attend the Market Farmer Training Program tuition free at Living Roots:

1.) Each year, we waive the tuition for one student. In return, the student helps on the farm for one extra day each week. In order to qualify and apply for this tuition waiver, you must show significant farm experience on your application. In addition to submitting your application (found below), you must also write an essay (minimum 600 words) about why you are dedicated to your path as a farmer and how you have already shown that dedication in the past.

2.) Anyone who works as a Work Exchanger at Living Roots Farm for 6 months or longer, may attend the Market Farmer Training Program tuition free. Your 6 months of Work Exchange must be completed by the date the Market Farmer Training Program starts in the spring. We also have limited spots for this, so this must also be arranged with the school in advance. Please apply for a Living Roots Work Exchanger Spot here.

If you would like further information about the Market Farmer Training Program, please contact Christina Bovinette, our Program Coordinator, at farmschool (at)

This is an intimate, small farm school. Due to a limited number of spots, it's important to get your application in early. Everyone who applies will not be accepted.

Please download the application (please make sure to download the pdf application to your computer, fill it out, then save it) and email a completed application, along with a current photo of yourself, to Michael Hicks, at michael (at) The application deadline is February 28th. Contact us if there are any questions.

What Others Have to Say about their Learning Experiences at Living Roots

"Words can not express my gratitude for finding Living Roots. This is a true haven that provides the perfect environment to nurture and revitalize your mind body and spirit. It is hard not to feel at home with such compassionate staff and fellow farmers. I came in as a first time WWOOFer with no prior experience and was offered an unbelievable degree of skills and knowledge through the compassionate teachings offered by Michael, the owner of Living Roots Farm. Places like this are exactly what this planet needs and I feel honored to have been a part of it. I will always carry the skills that were given to me at Living Roots to build the best life possible for myself and those around me." Brooke R.

"I was a work exchanger at Living Roots Farm during the summer of 2019. Living Roots quickly felt like a home to me. It is an incredibly fulfilling place to live, especially for environmentalists. Living Roots is a place where you can exist with a low carbon footprint, using sustainable and effective farming techniques. I was impressed by the integrity of those making Living Roots a success. Everyone living and working on the farm while I was there had a story to tell. I encountered many unique and valuable perspectives. These people helped me learn and mature a great deal!" Lena M.

"Living and working at Living Roots Farm and Sustainable Living Center has been by far one of the most transformative experiences of my life. As far as food goes, the abundance of crops, even in the winter while I was there was astonishing and the amount of fresh produce, eggs, and meat we all got to share was very generous compared to other farms I've worked on. The work at Living Roots Farm was super rewarding and Michael's very knowledgeable and eager to share his tried and true practices but is also open to trying out new methods. If you want to experience what life is like on a real farm I cannot recommend Living Roots Farm and Sustainable Living Center highly enough." Kendra J.

"Michael has an extremely beautiful property and I'm so glad I got the chance to be a part of team even though it was for such a short amount of time. He's very knowledgeable about farming and homesteading as well as massage therapy and I was extremely impressed with how much I got to learn from him. I would definitely recommend Living Roots to anyone wanting to learn new things and experience a very raw type work." Abagail B.

"Michael taught me many valuable farming lessons." Thadius W.

An original song and video written by Virginia B., a former farm apprentice: 'O Southern Indiana'

"I apprenticed at Living Roots for 7 months.   My younger brother (who joined the apprenticeship for the last two months of my stay) and I wanted to start our own farm. Aside from an eagerness to learn organic farming, we had very little farm-life experience...I learned how to live a mostly off grid, holistic farming lifestyle through this apprenticeship. We were taught to balance the yang of farm work with the yin of healing arts, such as, Yoga and massage. Michael is a great friend, farmer, and mentor, who grows high quality food in a way that focuses around sustainability, soil health, and supporting our ecosystem. We learned how to run a Farmers Market, CSA, and how to prepare the food we grew into delicious meals! Farming can be challenging on many levels but, it is the most rewarding work I've ever done. There are many skills I've learned from this apprenticeship which I still apply to my work/life today… We are so very grateful for the experiences we had at Living Roots. We made great friends and had the chance to learn from one of the best Farmers around!" Raymond P.

"My experience at Living Roots was enlightening in ways I did not expect.    The holistic program put me in touch with my roots through daily farm work, healing practices and pure, healthy foods.  Even my dreams vividly expressed the transformative lifestyle that I was leading!  All in all, it helped me to rediscover my own path and move down it with newfound confidence."  Rachel M.

"One of my favorite aspects of the apprenticeship was learning body kinesthetics and massage. Michael is an excellent massage instructor, and I feel as though my training was better than what you'd receive in massage school. It really takes your farming experience to the next level!:" Jen H.

"Mother Teresa once said, "There is no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and working with people who can make a difference. They get the benefit of your participation and you gain a direct understanding of the real problems and potential solutions." After my summer as an apprentice with Living Roots, I know this to be true. I have never walked away from any other experience with the same sense of having both given and received so much (both physically and mentally), which I attribute both to the inclusivity of the community at Living Roots, and also the wide spectrum of topics that the program covers. I entered the program hoping to gain a better understanding of how small, organic farming could be successfully carried out, and I without a doubt did - but I also took so much more from it." Hannah L.

"I interned at the farm.  I had come originally for only 10 weeks but after learning quite a bit about starting plants, massage, and energy in general in the first 2 weeks I had decided it was best to stay and nearly a whole season.  I wanted to know if those little tiny plants we had transplanted into such a big, stormy world would really grow large and produce food.  Sure enough even the scrawniest 2 inch tomatoes grew taller than me by July!  Micheal let me take on quite a bit of responsibility training new interns as they came, caring for the sales at the Jasper farmers' market, even getting the chance to manage that market, and be a part of the decision-making of daily farm tasks.  By the end of the 6 months I felt ready to start my own small farm.  I also enjoyed the weekly massage sessions as they were both greatly needed considering the consistent physical labor on a farm and also Michael teaches the techniques thoroughly and with care.  Finally, the Jasper community as whole I found very welcoming, interesting, and enjoyed a number of new, interesting friendships in my time there." Mackenzie S.

"Being an apprentice, taught me to be more connected to the Earth, the body of community, and ultimately back to myself.  In order to successfully apprentice, I feel that one needs to fully embrace the idea of service to others. The apprenticeship program provides the opportunity to do this; not simply on an intellectual level, rather as a full embodiment of love for this planet.  This program offers maximum benefit by integrating the healing arts with organic farming.  I am now equipped with whole new skillsets, perspectives, and a phenomenal sense of wellness and community." Shristi T.

"I really enjoyed my 3 weeks in this farm...fresh, organic and healthy food from the garden, yoga class and massage a such good combination with the hard working...Amanda, Michael and the little Leo are a lovely family, Jasper is a really nice town to live and if you want to learn a lot about permaculture this is the right place: Michael is always enthusiastic to teach you everything! and what satisfaction to prepare and go to the farm market!" Iris G.,

"What I like most about the program is the  introduction to the idea of personal health with farming. People growing the plants must be healthy to create healthy yields on the farm. By teaching massage techniques and encouraging yoga and spiritual growth through the apprenticeship program, Living Roots does a great job at providing a unique and educational experience for those interested in farming, permaculture, spiritual growth, and community." Trevor R.

"Living Roots provided me with the opportunity to grow as a person, while never losing its focus as an organic farm operation. I met many awesome people, many of which I would consider great friends now, and was amazed by how welcoming everyone in the community was. Of course, there are boundaries, but when followed and respected, Living Roots can provide you with such a rich experience, socially, economically, and even spiritually. My favorite aspect was the ability to personally interact with the food we were growing, from soil to the plate at such an intricate level. Nothing went to waste, and the sustainable principles I've learned are something that will never leave my mind. " Rob P.





Living Roots Inc., 5907 W. County Road 375 South, French Lick, IN 47432

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