GARDEN aPPRENTICESHIP pROGRAM

The goal of the program is to provide an agrarian internship program that aims to help young people embrace truth, beauty, and goodness within the daily rhythms of life. 


The name and purpose of Ithaka Fellowship is best depicted by Homer's classic tale, The Odyssey. As you may recall, the story begins in a world consumed with uprootedness, aggression, relativism, and unbelief - a world very much like our own. But as the story unfolds, a man by the name of Odysseus breaks free and triumphantly returns to his home in Ithaka. It is there among his family, community, and terraced fields that he finds timeless values (truth, goodness, and beauty) affirmed and lived out.


The Garden Apprenticeship Program is an opportunity to imitate and experience this redemptive interrelationship. There are two internship tracks:


Youth Ministry/Education
Develop Biblical Garden-based Sunday School curriculum to be experimented with and implemented on Sunday mornings.
Design, Market, and Implement 1 week Garden Based Summer Camp in Late July.

Small Business
Design, Market, and Implement Produce Stand
Design, Market, and Implement Garden Produce CSA Membership program.
Assist in conducting Fundraising events


What We Do Together

Garden Design and Work

  • Students will manage a 2 acre garden plot at Jacob’s Well Community Church in Normal. 
  • Students will work with the intention of making this plot diverse, educational, productive, and beautiful. Apprentices will be responsible to take ownership of the health and maintenance of the garden, “rain or shine”.
  • Commit to working 20 - 25 hours a week for 10 weeks. May 16 - July 29. (June 27 - July 1 Off-week)
  • Gifts/Passions Project - Determine a specific area of interest and devote time to individual study and implementation. 
  • Much of the produce will be shared and distributed by local food pantries

Study/Research/Reflection

  • Apprentices will take take part in weekly guest lectures, discussions, and video presentations that will further their education on the areas from agrarian living to general worldview studies.
  • Apprentices will learn hands on about various gardening methods and techniques including but not limited to Composting, Seed Starting/Saving, Natural Food Storage and Preservation, Cooking, Enviro friendly Weed/Pest Control Methods, Square Foot Gardening, Hugelkultur, Sheet Mulching, Vertical Gardening, and more…
  • Apprentices will have time to discuss and study some big picture questions that the gardening process provides a great introduction to. What is Soil, really? What is the best relationship between the soil, plants, and humans? How can the design and processes of the natural world give us a window into human nature?

What students receive

The Apprentices in the internship will recieve:

  • Hands-on transformative educational experience that will give them great preparation for future employment and living well.
  • Healthy Food from the garden
  • Opportunities for lasting friendships
  • Opportunities to serve and impact youth
  • Leadership Training, Teaching, and Management Experience
  • Teaching, networking, and relationships from Local Experts
  • A Monthly reimbursement of up to $500 to compensate for personal costs required for the program.

Sponsor a student

Please go to our donation page to help support a student.