Dome Grown Produce is centrally located between Bend and Redmond on a 20 acre farm about 10 minutes to Redmond, 20 minutes to downtown Bend, and 40 minutes to all types of recreation in the pristine Cascade Mountains. The property is on the dry side of the mountains and includes a mix of Juniper and pasture land with two acres dedicated to organic vegetable farming and greenhouse production. Pigs, chickens, and 2 mini cattle graze on about 8-10 rotating acres of our farm. We have two large greenhouses and a year round geodesic dome greenhouse that increase our crop diversity on the farm and extend our farming season, which is necessary in the dry, high desert of Central Oregon. The weather is variable in every season, so come prepared with the proper layers, footwear, outerwear, and rain gear. We have two wooded irrigation holding ponds that are great for cooling off in and around during the hot mid-summer heat.
We predominantly focus on growing vegetables organically for market, edible and medicinal herbs, and eggs. We are just getting started with the adventures of raising livestock and bees. We are not certified but follow all the same principles and guidelines of organic growing. We sell to CSA customers and participate in farmer’s market twice a week. We are also passionate to our commitment to sustainability, so there are projects in the making to help improve the efficiency of our farming and processing practices (aquaponics, composting, and soil building for example). Because we are a small family owned farm, there is opportunity to work in the larger vegetable production projects, growing/harvests, and selling, as well as learn smaller homesteading projects from fermenting to canning to processing meat (optional), even though these are not a part of our commercial operation at this time. The intern will have abundant opportunity to participate in all or some aspects of the farm.
Our fairly new farm is in a constant cycle of growth and transformation, so there will be many opportunities for a variety of skills to be learned and an evolution of focus (depending on our priorities and the intern’s interests).
We get an early start to each day (7-8:00am) so that we can get the bulk of our projects done by early afternoon. We escape the heat of the day by taking afternoons very easy, having a long lunch break, relaxing in our homes or the shade by the ponds. We usually resume again in the late afternoon and are in the field until dinner. Training will normally be Monday-Friday, but some flexibility is expected from everyone, dependent on weather and farm work party days. No matter the circumstances, there will always be two days off per week and time off must be discussed at the start of the internship, although we understand that special circumstances may arise. People interested in this internship should have a true desire to train hard and learn. You must have a passion for food, working outdoors, and living somewhat communally. The internship runs from April 1st-October 31st and we expect the interns to train an average of 40 hours per week, not including class time, with a minimum of 1000 hours for the entire season. Most years, hours per week are slightly lower in the Spring and longer during the Summer. To account for the longer days at the height of the season, we will usually give extra days off in the Spring and/or Fall. Hours and days may change due to special needs and flexibility is a great asset.
Throughout the season, projects and daily training opportunities include but not limited to:
Cultivating the vegetable garden from seed to harvest and everything in between (transplanting, weeding, pest control, soil building, clean up)
Creating new garden beds where there was once uncultivated desert land or pasture grass and weeds
Maintaining the pollinator area, nursery, and the herb garden that surround dome
Planting/seeding cover crops
Preparing for CSA harvests, including washing, sorting, bundling, and packaging
Connecting with the community and selling at the farmer’s market, including set up and break down of the market stand and answering questions about the vegetables and farm
Equipment training (small tractor with tiller, lawnmowers, and hand tools) Most of the work is accomplished with hand tools as our beds are planted intensively and in a small area
Building projects. This year we are looking to create an earth oven area, an aquaponics tank in the dome, small low tunnels in the garden area, and a shade structure located by the dome. These areas will also have room for landscaping with herbs and perennials.
Feeding, caring for, learning to work with livestock, and butchering (optional). There are 2 cows, 50+ chickens and chicks to attend to, and 10 pigs (plus any new pigs and cows born during your stay)
Learning land management practices such as weed control, logging juniper trees (an invasive species) and rotational grazing. Our property was an overgrazed horse property which we are restoring into a more productive and diverse land
Building/maintaining fences (including electrical)
Building/moving/maintaining irrigation, including hand lines, new K-line pods, and drip irrigation.
Planting trees and windbreak lines and creating natural habitat areas around the gardens and property
Planting perennials and bee/beneficial bug habitat for our first hive
We will generally be training together, side-by-side. This creates a learning environment in which you get to learn from experience and direct conversation and discussion with the farmer. We can provide many books and references based on your interests. Interns will be closely supervised and training with the farmer at the beginning, progressing to more independence with tasks and special projects as proficiency is gained. The days can often be hot, wet, cold, dry, boring, exhausting, but also fulfilling. Interns will get to see the fruits of their labor as the crops and young animals grow and the farm evolves.
It is not necessary to have any prior farm experience, just the ability to be outdoors in varying weather and temperatures, be physically fit, and be able to regularly squat, kneel and lift up to 40 lbs. Though following instructions is important, we encourage independent thinking and creative problem solving.
We are a very down to earth and understanding group of individuals, and we are looking for an intern that can communicate clearly and professionally, uphold their responsibilities, be kind, respectful, self- starting, and mature during the duration of the long season. We greatly respect individuality and diversity and are open and flexible to a wide variety of learning styles.
April/May → we will lay the groundwork and understanding of how the farm works, learn daily chores, focus on the garden, seeding, greenhouse, irrigation, and managing records/calendar/seeding schedule
June/July → peak season of production, harvesting, maintaining the gardens and greenhouses, assist with farmer’s market and CSA day, work on fencing and small projects
August/September → production and selling continuation (slight decrease), time for extra projects and special interests, a smaller 2nd or 3rd seeding of some crops for fall harvests, and ongoing garden maintenance
October → put the farm to bed, finish up projects, prepare for harvest parties, harvest and preserve food, and discussions on improvements and changes for next season
The intern will be provided a small, one room cabin or a small camper trailer with windows, insulation/heater, and electricity. There is a primitive outdoor kitchen with a sink, hot water, basic dishes, propane stovetop, griddle, French press, and toaster oven in the barn. The barn also houses a washer, a clothesline to dry clothes is close to the dome, a porta-john, and a solar shower. There is also a refrigerator/freezer available and a dry food storage area located in the barn. There is internet access close to the barn and dome and good cell service around the farm. We will provide a monthly stipend. The details of the room, board, and stipend package will be discussed during the interview process. Transportation is recommended if you want to experience all the area has to offer. There is no access to public transportation from the farm.