New Agrarian Voices

Aubin Lebegue, APPRENTICE, Vilicus Farms, MT

First Month Reflection

I arrived at Vilicus Farms at the beginning of March, which gave me time to get settled in. My mentors are very kind and smart people. Since my first days at the Vilicus Farms I have felt good and have enjoyed the people and landscape around me. I love the vision of Doug and Anna and the rest of the team. Their vision and way of running the farm is different from my previous experience and my culture, which has been a beautiful surprise. I have a lot of things to learn and I am so grateful for this opportunity as an apprentice.

How did you get interested in agriculture?

I grew up on a farm, so agriculture has always been a part of my life. I decided I would like to become a farmer at around 14 or 15 years old. I would like to take the farm over from my parents, but this is a big challenge because French farming is in reorganization and the French economics behind farming in France are not good. I started to get interested in organic farming during my technical degree, but it was after finishing my studies that I fully change my vision and made the decision to convert the family farm to organic. I finished my studies in September 2018 and I have held several different seasonal jobs leading up to doing this apprentices at Vilicus Farms. And now, here I am at the Vilicus Farms. For me it’s my greatest project and professional success so far. I have enjoyed every day of this experience and this adventure is beyond any of my previous expectancies… thank so much for this apprenticeship program!

What I am hoping to gain to my apprenticeship?

I have a few personal objectives with this apprenticeship: I hope to learn as much as possible about organic farming, so that I can go home with a concrete project. My mentors have a lot of knowledge and I am at the perfect place to learn how to farm organically on an arable farm (Vilicus produces the same products as my family farm). However, I know that I need time (I had a conversation on this subject during the orientation): English is not my native language, which makes learning slower and converting a farm to organic is a long process (3 years). It is a risky process and I need a lot of information. I need to see a complete cycle of crops, I need time to ask my questions and compare the different characteristics between Vilicus Farms and my family farm. It’s not the same soil, size, equipments, climate etc …so it will take time to apply what I learn here back home.  From this apprenticeship, I would also like to improve different parts of my personality such as my self-confidence, my agronomy knowledge, communication and general culture. I am lucky to be managed by different people with different backgrounds and experiences and it is really important for me to have different conversations about the previous experiences of the team and on American culture. I am also hoping through this experience to meet an American of my age with the same vision as me. In this moment at the farm we don’t have a lot of time for hobbies but I’m sure in the future I would like to take advantage of the opportunity around here, such as  camping, canoeing, diverse farm visits etc…

My reflection at the end of this first month to this apprenticeship is I believe  I have a lot of opportunities to learn and different tasks which I can’t in my country or at the smaller scale and it’s super exciting. I should work on my communication and improve this part it’s important for the rest of the apprenticeship proceedings and per respect for the Vilicus farms team.

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