Aspiring Farmer Residency

Every year, Big Muddy Urban Farm hosts Five Aspiring Farmer Residents for a unique educational experience in urban farming, community building, and business training.


Growing food, improving the health of soils, and understanding how to start and run a business are increasingly important skills to attain in our modern era.

The Aspiring Farmer Residency is a transformational, immersive program that helps build these skills and more in a select group of young people. Residents go through a full growing season acting as the farmer, building a business, planting seeds, bringing food to markets, interacting with community; all within the safe, positive, and educational environment cultivated at Big Muddy Urban Farm.

No prior farm or gardening experience is required to join the program making it a great launching pad for aspiring farmers, urban gardeners, environmental educators, and food systems students.

The program can easily be stated in three words: live, grow, learn.

PR of Publications Class
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PR of Publications Class 1


The program supports budding farmers with a safe and comfortable place to live while they co-create a small-scale farm business for a full growing season. Resident housing consists of two recently renovated historic homes, ample back-of-house parking and a workshop garage near 33rd and Burt St in Omaha, NE. Selected residents commit to making the residency their primary living space for the full duration of their residency, from December to the following November.


Residents activate their co-created business plan by using Big Muddy Urban Farm infrastructure and resources – the farm houses, a large garage stocked with farm tools, three chicken coops, and six farm plots in the Gifford Park Neighborhood of Omaha, NE. Each resident becomes the primary grower of one farm plot. This becomes their space for making decisions like seed selection and weed management amongst many others. Decisions are made with support from Big Muddy staff, fellow residents, and a community of mentor farmers. The produce grown by each resident goes toward the overall co-created farm business plan and production goals. It’s all a team effort and the learning experience is enhanced through group collaboration and peer perspectives.


In addition to the hands-on, decision-making practice residents receive, Big Muddy Urban Farm educators supplement the experience with guided training and performance evaluations in three main focus areas: Business Planning, Community Leadership, and Agricultural Science. Further benefits include sponsored access to professional development and networking events as well as small group tours of nearby farms.


Application Deadline: October 15th, 2020 @ 5PM

Residency program: December 14th, 2020 – November 31st, 2021

2020 Resident Experiences

Program Details


  • Housing costs are covered by the program with fulfillment of educational expectations and 20hr/wk time commitment.
  • Access to the produce you grow
  • Hands-on, skill building experience
  • Farmer mentorship experiences
  • Intimate understanding of all aspects of the food cycle
  • Business partnerships and relationships
  • Discussions on agriculture related topics
  • Fun events
  • Gain a network of friends and farmer friends
  • Time away during the growing season
  • Financial and mental security


  • Post-high school, ages 19+
  • Prior farm/gardening experience not required
  • All backgrounds welcome
  • Commitment to 20 hrs/wk for a full year


  • Residency is your primary home for full year
  • Engage in weekly residency coordinating meetings
  • Create a respectful and considerate environment with roommates
  • Work in various weather conditions
  • View our full Residency Code of Conduct
  • View Sample Residency Contract that is signed at the beginning of the residency

**Covid-19 Information: The health and safety of residents is very important to us. Incoming residents will be required to get a Covid test and results within a 14 days of moving in. Upon a negative test and moving in, residents will adhere to our Covid policy and procedure. Click here to view our full Covid Policy.**

Apply for your place in Class V of the Aspiring Farmer Residency



Prospective residents can schedule a 15-20 min meeting and stop by the residency houses. Either Program Coordinator Rhonda Freeman or Executive Director Brent Lubbert will give prospective residents program details and answer any questions. For covid safety, we will stay outside for the entirety of the meeting. Masks and social-distancing are required.

We’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at with your questions.

Previous Residency Classes

Class l (2017)

Class lll (2019)

Living On The Farm

You are supported with a place to live, grow, and learn in accordance with performing part-time hours of on-farm study and practice.

The Houses

Living, working, and learning together is what the residency is all about.
  • Centrally located in the Gifford Park Neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska.
  • We completely restored and renovated older homes in 2016 – keeping historical charm while updating amenities to be functional and beautiful living spaces.
  • You are provided with a private bedroom in one of the two Residency Houses. Your bedroom comes furnished with a bed, unless you choose to bring your own.
  • Laundry machines are available to keep you smelling fresh
  • Communal provision like toiletries, dish soap, cleaning equipment, etc. are supplied by the Farm.
  • Kitchen comes fully equipped. You are welcome to bring your own items, but understand that roommates may use it. (House ground rules are created collectively at the beginning of the residency)
  • The houses regularly see visitors: from friends of residents, to neighborhood meetings, to group tours. We expect you will help create a welcoming, hospitable environment for guests that stop by.
  • You are expected to reside at the residency. This is not your vacation home in the Hamptons.

Community Gathering Space

Recently Renovated

Aspiring Farmer Residency Copy

Private Bedroom

The Plots

Within walking distance of the houses are five plots you will grow your crops on
  • For the best accountability structure, each resident takes on the role of being point person for one plot. You are responsible for crop planning and water, weed, and land management. Working with partners is encouraged through a buddy system.
  • We promote good soil health by rotating crop families from plot to plot each year. The Residency Manager helps you understand what was grown where in previous years.


  • The farm maintains a variety of tools specific to farming that you will work with (tilther, broadfork, salad spinner, tablesaw, etc).
  • Taking proper care and returning tools to respective places makes the farm more effective for years to come.
  • The saying goes “You’re doing things right if the wire brush is the most used tool in the shed”


  • There is not a farm vehicle available for private use.
  • There are bicycles at the farm available for communal use.
  • The farm is located two blocks away from an awesome community bike shop if you need to fix a bike.
  • There is parking for personal vehicles behind the houses.

Hear From Residents

“To have so much community support, it’s been incredibly positive the entire time”

Taylor Jespersen

“I would definitely recommend the residency to anyone who is looking to learn more about community engagement, agriculture, the food system, food justice… it’s a really cool interdisciplinary program “

Emily Hefeli




We ask you please read and consider all the information on this page and in the job description very thoroughly. To apply you must be in agreement to ALL conditions fully.

1. Is there a cost to this program?

There are no fees associated with the Aspiring Farmer Residency (AFR) currently. The initial 4 years will rely on grants to achieve our organizational goals of a strong curriculum and accreditation.

2. Do you accept non-residents?

Organizational constraints make it challenging to provide quality service to those interested in a non-resident status. From prior experiences in other residencies, a non-resident is usually isolated from what is going on and the communication challenge proves a disservice to all involved. As our program evolves, we may be able to provide quality non-resident farm training. For now, we encourage those that are not able to apply for the residency to look at Metro Community College Small Market Farm Course.

3. Are there age requirements?

The only age requirement is that you be at least 19 years of age or older.

4. What are the expectations of Residents?

Residents are expected to do field work 20 hr/week. In exchange, room and board is covered.

5. How is the Residency different from an apprenticeship or internship program?

The main distinguishing factor of the residency compared to apprenticeships or internships is that residents make their own farm business decisions, learning from their choices through active reflection, instead of being dictated what to do or how to do it. That being said, this program is not just “go out there and learn.” There is a residency manager that lives next door to the residency house and knows the history of the plots, prior business relationships and has extensive knowledge in plant propagation to help assist residents to make informed choices or to help residents see the potential in their abilities. The residency manager is more a guide than they are authority.

6. How flexible are the start and end dates?

For residents to receive optimum educational benefits from the program and for the program to function properly we do need residents to stay committed to a year-long program. The beginning and ending months (January/December) have a few days flexibility on when a resident enters and leaves the house.

7. Do I need to drive a car or have a drivers license?

No drivers license is needed. Big Muddy has a ’75 Chevrolet C10 pickup to be used by residents who are able. The great thing about the residency is that all the plots and a grocery store are within walking distance!

8. Am I able to receive college credit for this program?

We are working vigorously to get the residency to be an accredited program. Accreditation will likely happen in the next few years. However, we do understand that the quality of education is not solely dependent upon a formal certification and we do everything we can to meet and surpass current educational standards. We want to make sure residents are successful, well oriented people at the end of their residency and see that this comes from the quality of education.

9. Can I invite friends over?

Of course! Friendship is an important ingredient to happiness and you are welcome to share the residency experience with your friends. Please keep in mind common courtesy, respect, and appreciation of your fellow residents space when you invite friends over. We want to maintain a harmonious, productive and safe environment for every resident during their stay. Residents are allowed to have one (1) short term visitor stay for up to five (5) nights. Over-night guests will need to be approved by fellow residents and residency manager. Residents assume all responsibility for all guests brought on site.