Growing Seeds Farm

Growing Seeds Farm sits on 33 mostly pastured acres in Corbett, OR, just east of the Sandy River, just a bit south of the Columbia River. Most of the farm faces South, so we get full sun! A few wooded areas dot the farm. There are small seasonal creeks that flow through the property. We have a half acre of blueberries, ~100 fruit trees, a few grapes and a vegetable market garden. There are many places to find a special spot to picnic, or throw up a hammock.

The farm owner Kyrie Eppley lives in the main house. along with her two high school age boys who live on the farm halftime. The farm manager lives in a cabin on the property.  We also employ an animal manager who lives in an apartment in the barn. The local tavern is half a mile away, as is a convenience store and small restaurant and coffee shop. Four miles away is our local Grange Hall, a facility that sponsors events from yoga classes, philosophical discussions, live music, and other community events.

The Sandy river is a great swimming and floating/kayaking spot.  We have kayaks to borrow. Two miles down the road from the farm is Dabney State park, hosting a great disc golf course and nature trails. The Columbia Gorge is an awesome place to hike and explore. We are a short 22 miles from Portland.

Owner Kyrie takes care of finances, overall farm visioning, most infrastructure projects, lambing, and volunteer communications. She started Growing Seeds Farm in 2011. The Farm Manager directs the day-to-day operations and including supervising most intern activities. They plan and maintain the vegetable production, orchards, berries, animal health, farrowing and lambing, animal processing (on-farm and USDA), and product deliveries. Both prioritize healthy people, animals, and spaces. If you can dream it you can do it, or at least try to do it. Mistakes lead to growth. Growth and the unknown challenge us to be bigger and better people. We value direct communication and working together.

Growing Seeds Farm is a very diversified farm. We raise 10 hogs up to market, sell 50 weaner pigs from our breeding sows a year, have a flock of 15 ewes, and raise about 20 lambs a year. Year round we keep 200 laying hens. We also pasture 600 broilers, 50 turkeys, and a group of ducks.  Our orchard includes apples, pears, plums and a few apricot trees. Our half acre of blueberries is for market and u-pick. Our vegetable garden sits on 1 acre.

We sell meat, eggs and veggies to our 3 Portland schools, Growing Seeds Learning Community. The parents and children of the schools come out for field trips about 3 times a year.  We also sell direct to consumers. Our meat CSA and whole and half animals are available to individuals and families off our website or from marketing directly to families from our schools.   

We use a Kubota B3300 tractor for moving feed barrels, mowing fields, bed prep for the vegetables, moving chicken tractors and hog housing.  We sport one ATV with small trailer, mostly for moving tools and feed around.  After bed prepping, all garden work is done by hand, transplanting to harvest.

As we are a very diversified farm the training offered will be wide-ranging and dynamic. Here are some of the main tasks to be learned by an intern:

Seasonal flow

  • Basic animal care: feed and water, fixing shelters and fences, checking animal health and parasite pressure happens every day.

Spring:

  • March - our ewes will be lambing, and we will be monitoring their health, tagging ears and banding tails.

  • Garden prep and seed starting, vegetable rotations, planting and seeding strategies, soil amendments, irrigation systems, flower planting.

  • May - Sows farrowing. Piglets, piglets, piglets! We are expecting 20-30 this spring.

  • Raising broiler chickens - setting up brooders, portable chicken tractor construction.

  • Tractor & ATV use.

Summer:

  • Broiler rotation on pasture, broiler processing for one long day per month - we process 100 birds. Learn proper techniques and tools for safe processing.

  • Vegetable weeding, tomato trellising, fall vegetable planting and seeding, vegetable harvest, vegetable wash and pack.

  • Flower harvest

  • Sheep pasture rotation and maintenance, intensive grazing techniques, tractor mowing.

  • Small motor use and maintenance (weed eaters, chainsaws)

  • Summer orchard pruning

  • Blueberry harvest (checking for ripeness, harvest techniques, market opportunities)

Fall:

  • Orchard harvest

  • Sheep shearing and breeding

  • Sow breeding

  • Harvest preservation

responsibilities & training schedule

We practice a Tuesday - Saturday schedule. Sundays and Mondays are off, with no farm duties expected.  Generally, 8am-5pm or 7am-4pm is the daily schedule, with one hour off for lunch. At times this varies based on the needs of the farm. Time off for vacation is expected (1-2 weeks through the season).

Farming is good, physical work. Interns will be introduced to that reality every day! Most training is “on the job.” If we are banding lamb tails and tagging ears we will be chatting first about the how’s and why’s. Asking questions about the task at hand is wonderful. All training will be relevant to the following task. For example, we will continue to learn about proper pasture management and using the tractor mower at the appropriate time (summer), when grass is growing strong and we need to follow after the sheep to make sure grass does not go to seed. We will show interns the ropes and let them go off and mow! Check-ins are always welcome to make sure new duties are clear and effective.

Most days the farm manager will demonstrate first, and work along with the interns in order to train. We very much encourage and trust each other to be independent and successful. If interns feel comfortable, they are encouraged to bottomline projects. Leading other in tasks is an awesome way to really learn and be confident in farming.

Qualifications

We require the ability for heavy physical exertion, lifting 50 lb bags of feed or fertilizer, bending to plant hundreds of starts at a time, hoeing weeds, pulling heavy carts. Most all work is outdoors, so rain gear is a must. Previous animal or garden experience is a plus, but excitement to learn and physical endurance is a requirement.

We would love to have a pre-placement farm visit.  Our internship position runs from mid-March to the end of October. Potential interns must be able to commit to the entire season. We are looking for hard-working but playful folks who like working as a team or independently.  

accomodations

We provide rustic individual “cabins.” A converted shipping container and small tiny house on wheels are choices for private space/bedroom. Our barn offers a full kitchen, dining room, lounge couches, pool table, reading library, and wifi. Also in the barn you will find the indoor bathroom with shower. The barn is a shared space with our animal manager and potential WWoofers. We have laundry on-site. Visitors to the farm are welcome.

Alcohol and drug rules: keep it respectful. Some barn cleaning will be included in training hours, such as cleaning the shared bathroom, but keeping spaces and dishes clean is expected on intern’s own time.

The stipend, plus room and board package will be discussed during the interview process.

 Former Farm Manager and Kyrie

Former Farm Manager and Kyrie