Rainshadow Organics is located in Central Oregon, on the dry side of the Cascade mountains in a high desert climate. We get very little rain here and enjoy hot dry days in the summer with cool nights and no bugs.
We are located 45 minutes from Bend, Oregon and 20 minutes from Sisters. We are 10 miles from the small town of Terrebonne, but also only 10 miles from the incredible rock climbing mecca, Smith Rocks. There is no public transportation, but we do drive to market two days a week. It is best to have a car if you are living at our farm.
Our farm is family owned and operated and we have been here since the early 1970’s. Three generations still live on the farm. The farm is roughly 200 acres. 27 acres are under cultivation. Usually about 12 in row crops and 15 in grain or cover crops. We have a 7 acre pig pasture, 2 acre chicken pasture, and the rest in native habitat where we cultivate organic pollinator species.
We have a certified organic, full-diet farm with dozens of varieties of certified organic vegetables, herbs, berries, flowers, pork, chicken, eggs, turkeys, beef, and grains. All of the crops we grow are distributed within 50 miles of the farm through a CSA program, to local restaurants, and farmers market. We also host several farm-to-table dinners at the farm during the summer. Our interns learn about and master all these things.
We raise heirloom vegetables and heritage breeds that are adapted to our harsh high desert climate, but we also have a passive four-season greenhouse for winter and early starts and sixteen larger season-extending greenhouses. We are certified organic and use only sustainable practices, no chemical pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Our soil fertility is built with our composted horse manure. We also employ our chickens and an army of worms who supply castings for worm tea that we inject into our irrigation system. We foster an intricate ecosystem with companion planting, nutrient cycles, flowers, bees, riparian areas, crop rotation, and undisturbed native desert. We pride ourselves on looping our nutrients and resources into our community and back to our land.
We do most of our vegetable farming by hand, but we do have a flame-weeder and some cultivation tools for our long beds in our large field. Our main 2-acre garden is all done by hand, no-till, biodynamic, and synergistic. We have both a flour mill and lumber mill on the property.
RESPONSIBILITIES & TRAINING SCHEDULE
We train Monday through Friday from 7-12, and then three hours in the afternoons. We rotate through weekend duties where the intern or staff member is in charge of all animal husbandry, irrigation, and generally keeping an eye on things. If you are on weekend duty you are expected to be at the farm. You will likely be on weekend duty 3 times through the course of the 6 month season. Otherwise, weekends are free. Breakfast needs to be eaten and cleaned up before work at 7am. In the morning time we train as a team, planting, prepping beds, weeding, harvesting, processing chickens, cleaning manure, training tomatoes, feeding pigs, pest management, building irrigations systems, laying out drip lines, washing and packing produce, packing meat for market, harvesting lettuce mix, etc.…
Afternoons are more flexible. We take a long lunch break-- three hours or so and start again around 4pm and work until 7, which is very nice on hot summer days. Students can go to the library during their break, town, or the river nearby the farm, or whatever they want. We take turns going to farmers market and working independently on projects. Each student will be assigned to a section of the farm to perform regular maintenance. Each section will be equally diverse, and will receive careful attention in the afternoon hours. You will also be doing and independent study project for your RFC requirements and we will work together to decide what that is. Afternoons are a good time to work on this project.
We will check in after the first two weeks and then again mid-way through the season. It is important to remember that off-farm RFC classes are not part of your farm time if you are counting your hours. We endeavor to be very respectful of your time, setting a predictable schedule and holding to it. Very rarely will you be asked for more. Very rarely will we doing less.
Students should be physically fit, but no previous experience is required. The season is April 20th through November 1st. May and October are quite chilly. Students need to be prepared for outdoor living. We expect a full-season commitment from students.
Interns will live on the farm in a communal setting. We will have 3 interns on the farm, plus thee permanent staff. Each intern will have a tent on a platform, provided. We have a shower house with washing machine and clothesline. We have a a composting toilet. Internet is available on the farm and cell service is good. We have an open-air communal kitchen with all the cutlery, pots and pans, spices, etc. We have a sink, oven, griddle, hot water pot, coffee pot, and refrigerator. Interns will clean the kitchen and shower house as part of weekly maintenance.
Staple foods are provided like rice, oats, beans, sugar, salt, and fresh ground flour… and then all the vegetables you can eat. Farm meat is available daily. We trade for bread, cheese, fruit, etc… at the farmers market, which is up to the students. All other food is up to you. Students will cook and clean together. They are assigned cook crews which work out to once a week and occasionally twice a week. On cook crew day you are responsible for Letting out the chickens at 6am, milking the goats, cooking breakfast lunch and dinner for the crew, all the dishes, and locking in the goats and chickens in the evening. There is also a daily camp chore for each day of the week that you rotate through. The other days of the week you wake up to breakfast and lunch and dinner are ready to eat when you are done working. The culinary experience at a full-diet farm is an adventure and a challenge and has been a favorite element for many of our past students.
We have a $400/month stipend not including the first two orientation weeks. You will be under workman's comp as well as being required to have your own health insurance. You are expected to make a non-refundable deposit to RFC to secure your spot at our farm and sign our farm contract/commitment. Your RFC fees are clear and it is important to know that you will not be coming out ahead after the season. You are going to break even and you are putting your time toward your learning. This is a mutually beneficial exchange where you give good value to Rainshadow and Rainshadow gives good value to you, which you can take into your future.
Responsible drinking and smoking is allowed. Farmer should be notified of all potential visitors. We are flexible and can make most things work. We also schedule any vacations or time off at the beginning of the season collectively to make sure the farm is covered. Sarahlee takes two weeks off at the beginning of July where she turns the farm over to the interns. They are all expected to be at the farm at this time. This is a critical time where the first two months of learning are put into practice. Upon her return the interns have really evolved to a new level of multi-faceted farmer just in time for the climax of bounty that hits at the end of July and continues through September.
You can also check out pictures on our website and facebook.
We look forward to hosting you.