Central Oregon

Mahonia Gardens

Mahonia Gardens is a small, ¾ acre, market garden in Sisters, Oregon. We focus on bio-diverse vegetable production.  We are dedicated to growing quality produce-- while we are not certified organic, we follow organic practices, starting with organic seed and using absolutely no harmful chemicals in production. Our theories align with the idea that quality soil creates quality food. We primarily cultivate in 4’-wide intensive, permanent beds resembling French-Intensive or Bio-Intensive styles. Labor on the farm is done by hand, using broadforks and digging forks to create and maintain beds. We sell produce through a CSA program (~40 member), farmers markets, and some restaurant wholesale.

Benji Nagel and Carys Wilkins founded Mahonia Gardens in 2013. We started our own project after working on farms throughout college, and participating in farm/building internships. Last year we had a baby, Junius, who spent all of his days on the farm with us. He will be a year and a half this coming summer, so we will all be a part of his development on the farm.

We started with Rogue Farm Corps in 2015 by hosting our Food & Farm Policy potluck.  Since then we have hosted the Body Ergonomics Discussion Circle and the Intensive Market Gardening Class.

The most important aspect of our project is our commitment to lifestyle. We choose to farm because of the way we are able to interact with our environment and our community through growing and selling food. We feel the impact everyday of doing what we love and supporting our local, as well as global, systems. Economic progress is not our goal. We work hard, grow and provide as much food as we can, and we also play hard. Our summer work hours are 6am to 2pm, which leaves time for lake adventures, hikes, siesta, and lots of music and dancing. We are not purists of any particular method or style- we’re always learning, always trying new things, always questioning ourselves and being open to the unknown.

Where we live: Sisters is a small town, serving a community of about 5,000 people. It is situated at the eastern base of the Cascade Mountains, 20 miles from Bend (pop. ~90,000) and 30 miles from Smith Rock, a world-class rock climbing location. The Sisters community is rich with music and art, with a budding food culture. Central Oregon is a paradise for the outdoors person. Mountain biking and hiking, climbing, lakes and rivers abound, all within a short distance from Sisters.

The climate in Central Oregon is unique and challenging. This is not the lush Oregon that so many people expect—but a high-desert climate. It is dry. The frost-free period is extremely short, and nighttime temperatures can dip into the 30’s at any time during the summer, while the daytime temps can get into the 100’s.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND TRAINING SCHEDULE

A RFC intern responsibilities will include:

  • Propagation: seeding/planting/transplanting/cuttings

  • Bed preparation

  • Weed management

  • Composting

  • Harvesting

  • General farm maintenance

  • Cultivation

  • Irrigation

  • Marketing: either our CSA program, our farmer’s market, or our restaurants sales

  • Care of chickens

  • Seed saving

  • Processing value added product: herbal tea blends, sauerkraut and other pickling, canned or dried tomatoes, etc.

  • Selling at farmers market

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 farmers. We can provide many books and references based on your interest. Having a desire to learn and ask questions is an important aspect of the internship process, as it benefits both sides—we believe we are all students of farming and learning is a continual process as we gain experience through constant practice.

QUALIFICATIONS

We are looking for someone who has the following qualities:

  • Mindfulness: of self, the people around you, the environment, your actions and reactions.

  • Practiced communication skills: we need to be able to talk openly about what and how work is being done. We will work and live in close quarters and need to know how you are feeling.

  • Self-motivation and work ethic: we will expect you to be observant, notice what needs to be done and do it without being told.

  • Flexibility: plans change based on weather, opportunities, or mishaps, and we all just gotta roll with it.

  • Clean drivers license: you may be asked to take our stick-shift truck to farmers market alone or to deliver produce.

  • Ability to lift 50 lbs. repeatedly.

  • Desire to learn: asking questions and attempting to do your best quality work will be highly regarded.

ACCOMMODATIONS AND COMPENSATION

The RFC intern will be given a monthly stipend. Food provided will include meat (if desired), eggs (when available), coconut oil, flour, sugar, vinegar, some spices, beans, rice, pasta, and all the vegetables you can reasonably eat from the farm. We already have a lot of pets on the farm so no other animals please.

Housing will be in a semi-private outdoor space the home backyard of Benji and Carys, in downtown Sisters. You will be living in "the Shabin"- a  9x12 foot insulated structure with a bed, dresser and desk. You will have a private outdoor kitchen with a hot plate, sink, and cold/dry food storage. You will share an outdoor shower/compost toilet with farmers Carys and Benji. We absolutely cannot allow pets at our house- no exceptions. Our home has laundry and internet, and is walking distance from town where you can get groceries, sit for coffee, go to the library, access running trails, etc. Having a car is very handy as Bend is a 30 minute drive, but Sisters can provide all your needs.

 Benji & Carys

Benji & Carys

 Junius

Junius

Seed-To-Table Farm

The Seed to Table Farm is centered around a 2 acre market garden, located on an amazing 40 acre farm in Sisters, Oregon. The farm is a truly unique model, striving to provide the community with equal access to local and nutritious foods and to connect the community through farm based education. Seed to Table has a diverse operation; providing farm based education to nearly 700 students a year and growing over 30 diverse crops. A major focus is on maintaining healthy soil ecosystems and we are proud of the nutrient systems we are building on the farm with cover crops and minimal tillage. The farm has been expanding over the past five years under the founder of the farm, Audrey Tehan. Seed to Table is excited to have a new farm manager, Madeline coming on for the 2019 season. Interns will be training closely alongside Audrey and Madeline.

Seed to Table sells and donates produce to Sisters’ area food banks, schools wholesale accounts and has a 80 member vegetable CSA. The farm has also piloted a discounted farmers market for local food banks. Audrey and Madeline are really excited to bring on up to two Rogue Farm Corps interns to add to the inspiring dynamic on the farm.

Seed to Table Farm has two focuses: 1) growing delicious, diverse, organic food and selling the produce to support our program and community, 2) education our community about sustainable agriculture to create future farmers and local food customers! About 80% of time is spent farming and 20% of the time is spent engaging with the community through education programs. We host close to 1,300 students a year on the farm through our two hour field trip series. The education programs are managed by the education coordinator. Field trip lessons change with the seasons so we keep things really fun for ourselves and students. These are some of our favorite days on the farm, spent with veggies and students!

Currently we are not certified organic but we use no harmful chemicals or pesticides in production. At the foundation we focus on intensive cultivation; growing in permanent raised beds (about 30”-35” wide) and having pathways which are about 18” in between beds to maximize our space and reduce weed pressure. To cultivate beds we use a two wheel BCS tractor to increase our efficiency, sharing work between the two wheel tractor and hand cultivation. Two 100’ hoop houses, and three large greenhouses help us extend our season as much as possible in the harsh Central Oregon climate. In addition Seed to Table manages a 30’ x 40’ radiant heated greenhouse for the community. We teach a sustainable agriculture course for Sisters High School  and experiment with hydroponics and small scale aqua-ponics at this facility. We use a lot of awesome tools to maintain a small but intensive and efficient operation.

Sisters is a small town, serving a community of about 5,000 people. It is situated at the eastern base of the Cascade Mountains, 20 miles from Bend (pop. 100,000) and 30 miles from Smith Rocks, a world-class rock climbing location. The farm sits right on the edge of town, which makes it easy to bike into town for music, a pizza or to the trail heads for hiking. Central Oregon is paradise for the outdoors person.

The climate in Central Oregon is unique and challenging. This is not the lush Oregon that so many people expect- but a high desert climate. It is dry. The frost-free period is extremely short, and nighttime temperatures can dip into the 30’s at any time during the summer. The day time temps can then fluctuate into the 100’s.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND TRAINING SCHEDULE

RFC interns will learn about and have responsibility in the following areas:

  • Propagation: seeding/planting/transplanting/cuttings

  • Weed Management

  • Harvest

  • Farm Maintenance

  • Cultivation

  • Irrigation

  • Marketing: either our CSA, farmers market or restaurant sales

  • Seed saving

  • Processing value added products: herbal tea blends, pickling, canning, etc…

  • Intern will spend 4-6 hours each week assisting with leading farm field trips and engaging with students and community members

Regular Schedule is 8 hours a day, starting at 7am or 8am and ending at 3pm or 4pm.  When it is hot we start early.

Seed to Table has many books and references for a student if they are interested. We believe that much of the learning that is most valuable to student-interns is through daily discussion and conversation while performing tasks. Having a desire to learn and ask questions is an important aspect of the apprenticeship process, as it benefits both sides- we believe we are all students of farming and learning is a continual process as we gain experience through constant practice.

Communication is one of the most important responsibilities of interns and farmers alike. Confrontation is necessary in this close-contact working environment. We need to be able to talk openly about how we want things to be done, and we need you to tell us when something is not working for you.

QUALIFICATIONS

We are looking for individuals who have the following qualities:

  • Hard working and not afraid to be dirty and tired

  • Mindfulness: of self, the people around you, the environment, your actions and reactions.

  • Excited about working with kids and the community

  • Practiced communication skills

  • Self-motivated and strong work ethic: we will expect you to observant, notice when things need to be done and take responsibility for yourself.

  • Flexibility: plans change based on weather, opportunities, or mishaps and we all just gotta roll with it.

The candidate must be excited about engaging with kids and community members, eager to learn, and excited about the opportunity to train hard. They should also be able to carefully life 50 lbs., perform repetitive tasks, and accomplish physically demanding tasks while maintaining a positive attitude. Experience in gardening or farming is a plus, but not necessary.

ACCOMMODATIONS

The RFC intern will be given a monthly stipend, details of which will be discussed in the placement process. A comfortable travel trailer (heat, hot water, shower, compost toilet, electricity, kitchen, fridge) will be provided on the farm. A car is pretty necessary to get around to all of the Rogue Farm Corps classes throughout Central Oregon. Although, a bike would work easily for you to get around town. Food provided will include goat meat, eggs, butter, olive oil, flour, sugar, some spices, beans, rice, pasta, quinoa and any thing you can reasonably eat from the farm. Pets are not allowed- we love animals but we already have too many!

Please visit our instagram: Seedtotable Oregon

Website: www.seedtotableoregon.org

Facebook: Seed to Table Farm

 Audrey Tehan (Seed-To-Table Farm)

Audrey Tehan (Seed-To-Table Farm)

Rainshadow Organics

Rainshadow Organics is located in Central Oregon.  We are 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 few bugs. We are located 45 minutes from Bend, Oregon and 20 minutes from Sisters.  We are 10 miles from the small town of Terrebonne and the incredible rock climbing mecca, Smith Rocks. There is no public transportation, but we do drive to Bend for farmers’ markets and wholesale deliveries about once 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, 60 acre cow pasture, 2 acre chicken pasture, and the rest in native habitat where we cultivate organic pollinator species. In 2017 we opened a commercial kitchen and farm store on the property which allows us to process and preserve farm goods.

We are a certified organic, full-diet farm with dozens of varieties of certified organic vegetables, herbs, berries, flowers, pork, chicken, eggs, turkeys, beef, honey, and grains. We have a dairy cow that provides daily milk. All of the crops we grow are distributed within 50 miles of the farm through a CSA program, to local restaurants and grocery stores, via our farm store, and farmers’ markets.  We host farm-to-table dinners, wood-fired pizza gatherings, farm tours, and other events at the farm during the summer. We also have people working in the commercial kitchen daily to make pickles, krauts, tomato sauce, dairy products, fresh bread, jams, and other items.

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 twelve larger season-extending hoop houses.  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 also save seeds for our own use and sale. 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, finger-weeder, and some cultivation tools for our long beds in our large field.  Our main 2-acre garden is almost all done by hand, biodynamic, and synergistic. We have both a flourmill and lumber mill on the property.

We partner with Chris Casad of Casad Family Farms, another local farmer in Madras, on wholesale orders, CSA recruitment, root vegetable storage, and vegetable washing facilities.

RESPONSIBILITIES & TRAINING SCHEDULE

We train Monday through Friday from 7-12, and then three hours in the afternoons.  We rotate through weekly animal chores, including 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 5 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, pest management, building irrigations systems, laying out drip lines, washing and packing produce, packing meat for market, harvesting lettuce mix, etc.…

One intern works in the commercial kitchen Monday-Friday and is responsible for making lunch for the crew, processing farm items, assisting customers in the store, and setting up and cleaning. You will be in the kitchen about one day a week. The farm store and kitchen is an important new element of the farm and potential interns must be willing and excited to cook and participate in food preservation.

Afternoons are more flexible.  We take a long lunch break—two to three hours —and start again around 4pm and work until 7, which is very nice on hot summer days.  Interns often use their afternoon break to dip in the farm swimming pond or nearby river, run errands in town, or find a shady spot to rest. We take turns going to farmers’ market and working independently on projects.

You will also be doing and independent study project for your RFC requirements and we will work together to decide what that is. Afternoon breaks and weekends 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 do less.

QUALIFICATIONS

Interns should be physically fit, but no previous experience is required.  The season is mid-April through the first week of November.  May and October are quite chilly.  Interns need to be prepared for outdoor living.  We expect a full-season commitment from everyone.   

ACCOMMODATIONS

Interns will live on the farm in a communal setting.  We will have 5 interns on the farm, plus two or three permanent staff who have worked at Rainshadow for the past two seasons.  Each intern will have a tent on a wooden platform, provided.  We have a shower house with washing machine and clothesline.  We have a composting toilet.  Internet is available at the commercial kitchen 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.  Interns will also have access to a lounge area/guest space upstairs of the farm store. This area must be kept clean and is not available when guests are visiting.

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. All other food is up to you.  Interns will cook and clean together. 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 interns.  

We offer a monthly stipend not including the first two orientation weeks.  Details of the stipend amount with be discussed during the interview process. 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. Each intern will receive 5 vacation days over the season.

You can also check out pictures on our website, facebook, and Instagram.

We look forward to hosting you.

  Sarahlee and Ashanti

Sarahlee and Ashanti