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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.