Raptor Creek Farm- Full for 2017

Raptor Creek Farm has 1 full-time farm manager who lives onsite and a part time garden education assistant dedicated to managing the farm. We are hoping to hire 10 youth, part-time through the main season June-October to help around the farm. We are a very public farm, we host many different volunteer groups throughout the year. There are 4-5 dedicated volunteers who come part-time throughout the main season to help with the harvest. With the Food Bank warehouse onsite there is always something going on, Monday-Friday there are 3 full time staff who run the food bank facility.

Our farming operation is focused around the production of food crops, community education and involvement.  Food is grown on a wholesale scale and distributed through the Josephine County Food Bank System. We often collaborate with volunteer groups to get projects and to help with the harvest. Our seed crops are sold wholesale to seed retail companies.

We mostly use wholesale style production techniques as use both plastic mulch and open cultivation techniques. This year we are building 4-5 greenhouses for season extension. We have a 28 horsepower tractor, a 12 horsepower cultivation tractor, a 13 horsepower walk-behind tractor, and we occasionally borrow the neighbors 60 horsepower tractor. We seek to mechanize as much as possible because of the high demand for food for the food bank, however because of our educational aspect and community involvement we also seek to balance this with the available human power to accomplish our farm goals. We have a small demo garden with raised beds which is only done by hand, and we host many educational youth groups throughout the season.

Responsibilities

Much of the apprentice’s skills learned about farming operation will be related to our community involvement aspects. The apprentice will not have direct marketing experience, but will get to focus directly on the aspects of food production and community education instead, however lessons can be taught about marketing if desired. The apprentice will get hands-on experience working with community stake holders through means such as attending farms steering committee meetings, coordinating regular volunteer groups, and mentoring youth interns.

The farm manager and staff will offer training in all aspects of the farm’s and food banks operation. We will focus primarily on vegetable production and management and delegation skills. But will also include; tractor work, soil building practices, bed preparation, weed management; different types and scales of cultivation we practice include plastic culture, open tractor cultivation, and hand cultivation. Supervising and participating in the regular harvest will be an important aspect of the training . Irrigation; drip and overhead set up, running, tear down. Irrigation maintenance and infrastructure installation, plumbing. Hand tool and tractor equipment repair and maintenance, farm carpentry, fence installation, Greenhouse installation, riparian restoration, rotational animal grazing. A major training and skill to be learned will be the regular management of people; mostly volunteers and youth staff.

Seasonal Flow

Spring: Volunteer and Staff management, delegation, clear communication. Public relations on a public farm; providing farm tours to general public and interested volunteers. Tractor work especially; mowing, tillage, and bed preparation. Planting and cultivation; direct sowing, transplanting, trellis setup, season extension, cultivation tractor set up and weeding. Farm animal care, mobile fence installation and movement. Nursery greenhouse management, starting transplants, potting up, watering. Field irrigation installation set-up, irrigation theory, water management, running the pump. Greenhouse installation and other minor farm projects construction. Harvest and Pack management and delegation. Riparian restoration on the farm. Organic log book maintenance. Gopher Control on the farm.

Summer: We will discuss how to identify and manage priorities on the farm every week with a field walk.  Planting and cultivation; direct sowing, transplanting, season extension tear-down, running the cultivation tractor. Running the Pump. Overhead and drip Irrigation set-up, tear down, maintenance. Mowing, farm fire suppression. Farm animal care, mobile fence installation. Plant care, fertigation, pest management, top dressing, cultivation, weed control. Trellis maintenance. Harvest and Wash’n Pack management and delegation. Volunteer groups and Staff management and tasks delegation.  Organic Log Book Maintenance. Seed Harvest. Fence installation.

Fall: Harvest and Pack management and delegation. Gleaning harvests from neighbor farms.  Planting, and cultivating fall crops in the greenhouses. Trellis tear down, irrigation tear down. Spreading manure and amendments. Cover crop fields. General winterization on the farm. Seed Cleaning. Organic Log Book Maintenance. Farm animal care, mobile fence set up and tear down.

Winter: Farm planning, ordering seeds, visiting pantry’s, helping in the food warehouse, fruit tree pruning, spreading manure and amendments. Misc. construction projects and upkeep.

Training Schedule

The apprentice will be expected to regularly assist the Farm Manager with supervising and delegating tasks to volunteers and staff while maintaining an inclusive atmosphere; 3 days a week, approximately 17-20 hours a week. The apprentice will be encouraged to eat lunch with the garden crew 2-3 days a week. Each week will include anywhere from 1-4 hours of special hands-on training and 10+ additional hours of specific detailed project, with no more than 40 hours of training each week. Open communication will be encouraged.

The apprentice will work with the Farm manager to set a schedule at the beginning of the year. The apprentice will be expected to follow a regular training schedule and to take 2 days off every week, with ample vacation time.

Qualifications

We expect the apprentice to be committed to farming as a career and way of life. The apprentice needs to be interested in specifically learning people management skills and have experience working with others for long periods of time. The apprentice will need to be a positive role model for our youth employees. We expect the apprentice to be self-determined and able to put in long hours, lifting up to 60lbs at a time.

It’s important the apprentice has at least 1-2 years of production farming experience, more is preferred. The apprentice needs to be excited about the community aspect of the food bank farm project and be comfortable using non-violent communication. Pre-placement interview required. We are asking for a commitment of 2 years.

Accommodations

The on-site, stocked, outdoor kitchen can be used daily for meals, plus 3 shared lunches a week. A housing stipend will be provided as we don’t have facilities for onsite housing. Food from the farm and staples from the kitchen are available to take home. No smoking onsite, visitors are encouraged. Details of the stipend package will be discussed during the interview process.

Giffin and Susan

Giffin and Susan

Persephone Farm

Persephone Farm is in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, on 55 acres of land between the South Santiam River and Binegar Butte.  We live at the end of a 1 1/4 mile driveway, in relative isolation. Lebanon, population 15,000, is twelve miles away.  Sweet Home, population 9,000, is nine miles away.  There is a lot of natural beauty nearby and many opportunities to hike, bike, and camp.  We are removed from urban areas and cultural and community events.  Towns of any size (i.e.. Corvallis, Eugene, Salem, Portland, Bend,…are 30 – 90 miles away).  Community on the farm consists mainly of those of us working here (10 in peak season, about half living on farm and half commuting), occasional visitors and potluck and farm tour guests.

We grow 14 acres of seasonal organic vegetables and raise about 250 pastured laying hens. Our 23 acre rotation includes at least one season in pasture mix, and we rely heavily on cover crops for soil nutrition and enhancement. We sell at three farmers’ markets a week,  several restaurants, and wholesale through Organically Grown Company.  We prepare our fields with mechanical implements and tractors, and much of our planting and cultivation is mechanical also, but harvesting is almost exclusively by hand.  Electricity is supplied by a grid-tied solar collection system.

Responsibilities and training schedule

Farm work consists of everything required to raise vegetables and hens to fruition and market. This includes (but is not limited to) seeding, fertilizing, and transplanting of starts, weed control, irrigation, harvesting and processing, produce deliveries and farmers’ markets, general tractor operation, tending a flock of laying hens, building and maintaining small compost piles, various odd jobs (ditch digging, brush cutting), and canning and freezing food for winter use.

In the spring and fall, the farming day starts at 8 am and ends at 6 pm.  From June through mid-September, the farming day starts at 7 am and ends at 5:30 pm.  Farmers’ market days are longer.  Lunch breaks can be anywhere from 1/2 hour to 1 1/2 hours long.  Apprentices train five days a week.  Days off are Sunday and either Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.  Once a month, you can train one six day week and take three days off in a row the following week. Fridays and Saturdays are not available off during harvest season.  Vacations of more than three days off in a row are not available during harvest season.

FarmsNOW offers students the opportunity to gain confidence and mastery in the following farm tasks over the course of two seasons at Persephone Farm:

Year one:

  • Crop Seedings (greenhouse and field seedings)
  • Monitoring (field, greenhouse, and facilities)
  • Soil and field preparation and fertilization
  • Mechanical cultivation
  • Harvest Systems (crop projections, picklists, supplies)
  • Post-Harvest Systems (storage, collation, wash/packing)
  • Cover cropping
  • Time management
  • Farmers’ Markets and Deliveries

Winter following year one:

  • Crop reviews and planning (includes generating planting lists)
  • Seed Orders (includes organic seed search)
  • Organic Certification
  • Supplies inventory, research and acquisition
  • Research of new production solutions (incl. equipment, tools, products, and methods)
  • Mechanics and equipment maintenance
  • Carpentry and design, other construction skills incl. electrical and plumbing)
  • Marketing/Promotion
  • Soil tests
  • Accounting, taxes, and enterprise analysis
  • Independent project research

Year two:

  • Propagation Greenhouse management
  • Irrigation
  • Continued specialised field tractor work
  • Crew management (can include transplanting, harvest, weeding crews)
  • Personnel (interviewing, hiring, evaluation, instruction, education, improvement)
  • Independent project (i.e. growing and marketing a new crop or otherwise reflecting a personal interest of the apprentice)

Winter following year two (optional):

  • See first winter, plus:
  • Long term planning and strategy
  • Advanced business skills needed for startup, personnel management, etc.
  • Land search for incubator project
  • Research and planning for incubator project

The educational component of an apprenticeship at Persephone Farm is informal and consists, in large part, of learning by doing.  Apprentices are trained by owners and/or crew leads in the specifics of these tasks.  Often written information is provided to help ensure successful completion.  Owners and/or crew leads are often working alongside apprentices.  After a period of training, we expect apprentices to remember and employ the skills necessary to complete certain tasks independently and without being asked.

Accommodations

There are three housing options, all of which have electricity, heat, running cold water, bed, dresser, desk, chair, shelving, and nearby composting outhouses.  Apprentices prepare and eat meals in the community kitchen, where you can also spend time while you are not working.  Five or six dinners a week are shared by all farm residents, with a different person responsible for cooking and cleanup each day.

We pay for most basic foods, favoring bulk foods and scratch ingredients over heavily packaged and processed foods.  We make every effort to procure organic grains, beans, dairy, meat, produce, and spices of the highest quality; most produce is grown on the farm, and many foods are purchased from local growers.  There is a washing machine available for your use during selected hours in the farm house.  Our clothesline is our dryer.  There is dial-up internet service to the farm.  High-speed internet is available at local libraries at no cost. Smoking or chewing of tobacco is not allowed on the premises.  Tobacco carries a virus which can be transmitted, through the hands or clothes of a tobacco, user, to other plants in the nightshade family. The virus can cause rapid devastation of a crop.

Visitors are welcome.  Visitors who are not otherwise employed by Persephone Farm may not participate in work activities and should plan on occupying themselves during your work hours.

Qualifications

FarmsNOW applicants are expected to have one or two years farm experience and to commit to a 21 month period (with potential for an extended period to be determined at a future date). Our work consists mainly of physical tasks…bending, squatting, kneeling, and crawling, and also involves lifting boxes of produce weighing as much as 30-60 lbs.  There is also much grasping of tools and harvest knives, as well as some cycling around the farm for various errands, and many hours spent on your feet.

Eleanor & Jeff

Eleanor & Jeff