We have been having apprentices since our 2010 season. We are extremely passionate of organic farming and are constantly learning from our farm everyday. We wanted other folks who shared a passion for learning and organic farming and that is why we have apprentices and not farm work positions. We want folks to feel and know that they have a stake in our farm. We look for hard working both physically and mentally, passionate, and want to learn about farming and homesteading. Neither of us grew up in farming families (Christine grew up in the city of Boston and Adam in Ohio and Texas). We started our farm on an old hay field with no infrastructure. We have learned many lessons along the way and we feel we can share this with others just starting out.
We would like to have 2 apprentices come sometime in May and finish in October. The work will include all parts of vegetable production for a small csa and both wholesale and direct markets. Work will include planting, cultivating, harvesting, and marketing vegetables. Work will also include helping with farm/CSA events, caring for our small herd of sheep, learning how to milk 2 cows for our farm fresh milk dairy, caring for pastured broilers, hens, and pigs, and putting up hay.
We are looking for apprentices who are able to lift at least 50 lbs on a daily basis. We need people who are able to put their heart in to their work and do their work with integrity and at at a pretty good pace. Farm work is strenuous, hot, and at times very tedious. Apprentices need to be able to pace themselves, take care of their bodies, and communicate when they need a break. Our work pace/day is sane, and we want the experience to be sustainable for everyone. Most of all, we want to have fun and have a team/community approach to our work.
Much of the work and learning of apprentices will be side by side with us, through conversation, shared ideas around planning a day or a crop, and through a whole lot of demonstration of what we do and how we do it. This will be hands-on learning most of the time. We will supply apprentices with reading materials that have been useful to us, provide opportunities for “Q&A” sessions, conduct impromptu field meetings, and arrange for apprentices to learn about any special area of farming they are interested in. We want apprentices to have the freedom to take initiative once they feel they “get it” so that they are able to take on a few responsibilities on the farm. Overall, they will find us to be supportive, available, and concerned about the quality of their learning on our farm.
Skills that we would be teaching in our apprenticeships are the following. 1. Starting and growing a community supported agriculture program. 2. Soil fertility management. (crop rotation, cover crops, testing, planning). 3. Growing crops from seed to harvest, including seed selection, greenhouse culture, bed preparation, transplanting/direct seeding, fertility, cultivation, harvesting, and post-harvest handling. 4. Direct and wholesale marketing of organic produce and the “business side” of farming. 5. Raising chickens for meat and eggs using organic methods. 6. We are not “experts”, but we will be caring for our sheep, having them bred, and putting up hay for them. Apprentices will learn about basic animal care. 7. Canning for home use 8. Learning how to put up (and actually can, freeze and dehydrate) all your own food for the winter. Apprentices will also learn about and take part in our raw milk dairy chores, including milking.
If you are interested please contact us. We use the NOFA-VT apprentice application form found at www.nofavt.org.