Wandering Fields

Wandering Fields is a small scale certified organic family farm in the Little Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon. We grow a diversity of crops for both local farmer’s markets and a cooperative CSA program (the Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative).  Organic flower and vegetable seed production is our other main focus and we grow contract seed crops for several companies, comprising over half of our field production. We have a young orchard entering its 4th season, raspberries and strawberries, a large basketry willow planting, and a native plant hedge for pollinator habitat, beauty, and medicinal use.  We also lease a neighboring field which has allowed us to expand our seed production by providing isolation for a number of key seed crops. 

SEASONAL FLOW & TRAINING SCHEDULE

In the first year of the apprenticeship, the student will gain confidence and familiarity through experience with the following farm tasks:

  • Understanding crop rotations and planning
  • Greenhouse management: propagation mix, seeding, watering, hardening off, etc.

  • Understanding basic field prep: plowing/discing/subsoiling/tillage, and experimental no-till

  • Poultry care and management

  • Direct seeding and transplanting

  • Fertility management

  • Irrigation systems and layout: drip tape layout and filter systems and rainbirds/handlines

  • Perennial crop management: fruit tree, willow, and shrub pruning, fertilizing, cultivation/weed management, insect/disease management, staking/trellising, and harvesting

  • Cultivation: manual, will be introduced to mechanical cultivation

  • Harvest

  • Post harvest handling: wash/pack process

  • Selection and rogueing for desired traits in seed crops

  • Dry and wet seed crop harvesting

  • Seed crop extraction: wind‐rowing, mechanical and manual threshing, winnowing, crushing and fermenting, drying.

  • Marketing (farmers’ market, CSA, wholesale, seed contracting)

  • Deliveries

  • Basic field observation, disease, insect, and gopher “management”

  • Understanding application of foliar sprays (insect control, fertility, etc.)

  • Basic tool use and management

Winter following year one:

  • Seed conditioning prior to shipping

  • Winter crop harvest/curing/storage

  • Review crop rotations and planning

  • Seed inventory/order

  • Farm organization (tools, irrigation supplies, wash/pack, storage areas)

  • Review of systems needing improvement and discussion of potential solutions for implementation

  • Maintenance/repair of tools and equipment as needed

  • Review organic certification processes and accounting

  • Soil test analysis and calculation of application rates

Year two:

  • Increased responsibility for carrying out tasks, both independently and as a group

  • Potential for leadership role on the farm; training more inexperienced crew members, explaining and demonstrating tasks and directing labor for maximum efficiency

  • Independent projects can be pursued within our farm structure, specific to apprentice’s interests and passions

  • All of the year one tasks listed above apply here as well; the main difference being that by the second year, following one full year of on farm experience, an apprentice has a firmer grasp of our farm’s standard operating procedures, work flow, cropping systems and the seasonal cycles governing our production.

QUALIFICATIONS

Farming is physically demanding and rewarding. We are seeking folks with the following attributes: a good attitude, the ability to communicate clearly, a sense of order, cleanliness and efficiency, and authentic interest in farming as a trade.

Apprenticeship 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). The apprenticeship at Wandering Fields will run from February 15th, 2018 - November 30th, 2019.  

ACCOMMODATIONS

Apprentices will have a spacious canvas wall tent as their own personal space. There will be access to the following shared spaces: an indoor kitchen, bathroom, shower, sauna, and composting toilet. Details of room and board/stipend arrangement to be discussed upon interview. 

 

Ben, Kristina, and Siana

Ben, Kristina, and Siana

Flying Coyote Farm

Flying Coyote Farm is a certified organic and biodynamic farm nestled in the foothills of Mt. Hood in Sandy, Ore. We use bio-intensive growing practices on our 3-acre home farm to raise high quality produce, meat and value added products. Additionally we lease 1-½ acres of land where we grow vegetables on a more mechanized system. Our primary outlets for our produce are our CSA program, farmers’ markets, local restaurants and groceries. We also have an extensive livestock program: we raise pigs, goats and chickens for meat, and ducks for eggs. Each year we process between 400-500 broiler chickens for our house and for sale, and we generally raise and process 6-8 pigs and 1-2 goats annually. We also grow berries and fruit mainly for on-farm use. Our crew consists of Lili Tova (farm manager), Gabbi Logsdon (field crew manager), one part time harvest position, one part time fieldwork position and one full time apprentice position. We also host volunteers and WOOFERS out to the farm during the main season.

Lili Tova is the owner and manager of Flying Coyote Farm. She has been working as a gardener and farmer for twelve years in Florida, California and Oregon. She is a graduate of the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz. During her second year in the program, she worked as the Assistant Manager of the five-acre farm site, helping to manage and coordinate a 150 member CSA, farm stand, and restaurant sales. She has a passion for mentoring and has taught farming and homesteading skills at UC Santa Cruz and at Aprovecho Research Center where she worked as the Garden Manager for two seasons.

TRAINING SCHEDULE

Apprentices at Flying Coyote farm are expected to participate in all areas of running a small-diversified organic farm from seed to harvest. The schedule will typically be 5 and a half days per week, with 8-10 hours days in the main season and fewer hours in the spring and late fall. This includes occasional weekend responsibilities (markets etc). Apprentices are given one full day off each week with the average workweek being a five and a half day week. Apprentices may take an additional 3 days off during the season to be scheduled with the farm manager.  Apprentices will participate in all aspects of the vegetable operation on our farm and with support from the farm manager will begin to take on management of all aspects of our pasture-raised meat operation (broiler and pigs).  Over the two-year program apprentices will be given the opportunity to take on management of other aspects of the farm based on demonstrated skills and interests and the needs of the farm.

Generally our weeks are broken into harvest days, field workdays and market and delivery days. Spring will focus on field prep, greenhouse work, seeding and transplanting, summer will see an increase in harvesting, coordinating CSA and restaurant deliveries, working farmers markets, and general field work, and fall will bring the harvest and curing of our storage crops, cover cropping, canning, wood splitting, animal processing and putting the farm to rest.

There will be opportunities to work farmers’ markets, assist in coordinating the CSA program and to participate in restaurant and grocery deliveries. We are known for our attention to quality and the freshness and beauty of our products and apprentices will learn about proper harvest and post-harvest handling techniques to ensure that produce is harvested, processed and stored to maintain the freshest and highest quality product.

Throughout the season apprentices participate in managing fertility and soil health on a certified Organic and Biodynamic farm including spreading amendments, working with the biodynamic preps, building compost and crop rotation. Apprentices are exposed to decision-making around pest and disease management, weeding practices, various methods of irrigation and managing fertility throughout the season through the use of fertigation, side dressing and foliar sprays.

Apprentices participate in seasonal building and infrastructure projects around the farm, which can range in scale from maintaining animal shelters to fencing and irrigation work. Apprentices are also encouraged to participate in homesteading projects such as canning, herbal medicine making and sauerkraut production.

APPRENTICESHIP DETAILS

First Year Program Dates - March 15 – December 15th

Second Year Schedule – February 15th – December 15th

Year One Responsibilities:

  • Management of pasture-raised meat operation (broilers and pigs)

    • Daily watering and feeding

    • General animal health care

    • Pasture Rotation

    • Scheduling harvesting a packaging of broilers

  • Prophouse Seeding

  • Weed management (fields and greenhouses)

  • Soil and field preparation and fertilization (BCS and hand scale)

  • BCS use and maintenance

  • Harvest systems (crop projections, picklists, supplies)

  • Post-Harvest Systems (storage, collation, wash/packing)

  • Cover cropping

  • Crop rotation

  • 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

Year two:

(Year two management and learning opportunities will evolve based on the skills and interests of apprentice and needs of the farm and farm manager, but will include the following)

  • See year one, plus:

  • Irrigation scheduling

  • Tractor cultivation

  • Crew management (can include transplanting, harvest, weeding crews)

  • Independent project (i.e. growing and marketing a new crop or otherwise reflecting a personal interest of the apprentice)

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

Educational opportunities will be both formal and informal and will happen throughout the season as apprentices become integrated into the farm. The hows and whys of our farming practices will be clearly explained and apprentices are fully encouraged to ask questions and take on personal projects that will be supported by the farm manager. Much of the learning of farming happens in the repetition of tasks day to day and throughout the season. We find that folks who have a good attention to detail and who enjoy the physicality and structure of the work tend to flourish on our farm. Our hope is that by the end of the season apprentices will leave feeling more confident in their ability to run a small diversified market farm and to manage various aspects of pasture based meat production.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Apprentices will have their own small living space in either a vintage trailer or small cabin. Apprentices have access to a covered outdoor kitchen and an indoor living room and bathroom space. We have laundry facilities on site and high-speed Internet available.

The farm will provide all staple foods (grains, beans, cooking oils, spices, cheese, corn tortillas, bread, condiments, some fruit and nuts, nut butters etc), we try to source local organic food as much as possible. Apprentices will also help with some crew meal preparation and house chores. We eat a fair amount of meat and dairy and will try our best to cater to other diets, but we also expect people with special dietary requirements to provide some of their own alternative foods.

QUALIFICATIONS

We are looking for people who have a passion for farming and a desire to be involved in an agrarian lifestyle. We ask that all applicants have a minimum of two years full season experience working on a commercial farm. We are seeking people who have good communication skills, who know how to ask for and receive guidance when approaching new tasks and who have experience working within a team. Farming is very hard work but also incredibly rewarding so a positive attitude and good work ethic are a must. We will also give preference to applicants who see farming as part of their long-term life goals.  As we are a women owned and operated farm we are looking for folks who will be comfortable working with and taking direction from women. We also ask that you be open to working with people of diverse races, genders and sexual orientations.

Lili Tova

Lili Tova

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.

Students in the Apprenticehip Program have 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

Apprenticeship 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