Apprenticeship

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 apprentice 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 apprentices 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.  Apprentices 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

Apprentices should be physically fit, and have previously completed an internship with RFC or have two full seasons of farming experience. We expect a full-season commitment from everyone, with an optional second year to be discussed.   

ACCOMMODATIONS

Apprentices will live on the farm in a communal setting, along with interns, and farm staff. Apprentices will have their own 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.  Apprentices 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.  Apprentices and 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.  

Details of our stipend package will be discussed during the interview process.

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

White Oak Farm

White Oak Farm is located in the beautiful and biologically diverse Siskiyou Mountains in the small rural town of Williams, OR.  Our 62-acre certified organic farm is situated on a south-east facing slope, surrounded by forests of pine, oak, madrone, and Douglas fir. We have three ponds for irrigation, swimming and wildlife habitat, a three acre organic garden, pastures, an orchard of over forty fruit tree varieties, hiking trails, a straw bale-cob farm house, communal kitchen, wall tents and tipis for apprentice housing, outdoor showers and composting toilets.  The Farm is organized as a non-profit, with three year-round staff members (Taylor Starr, Brian Geier and Sarah Shea), 7-10 growing-season residents, a board of directors and many local supporters. Our mission is to cultivate connections between people and their local ecosystems by pursuing community-based food security, fostering agricultural and ecological diversity, and teaching the arts of sustainable living.  As such, in addition to the agricultural aspects of the Farm, we also host a wide range of education programs for children of all ages including school visits, summer camps and summer pre-school.  Apprentices will have the option of participating in these events if interested.

We currently farm roughly three acres of annual crops, including a wide range of fresh produce for the Williams Farmers Market and Siskiyou Coop CSA; as well as seed crops for several national seed companies.  We also have grapes, raspberries, strawberries, and 100+ fruit trees; milk goats, sheep, turkeys, chickens and bees; pastures; and hedgerows and perennials. The Farm was designed with permaculture principles in mind and is very diverse.  Hedgerows, swales, drip irrigation, strip-cropping and other techniques help us to minimize inputs and pests, conserve water and labor, and grow healthy food. We utilize a tractor and BCS for cultivation, mowing, and bed prep, but do all other tasks by hand.  Our farming is small-scale, intensive, diverse, and productive, and we seek Apprentices who appreciate these qualities.

TRAINING SCHEDULE

The Apprenticeship Program at White Oak Farm has been run in various forms for 15 seasons and is designed to provide experience and training to 1-2 people with a passion for developing their knowledge and skills for a life and career in farming and homesteading. The program requires hard work, a good attitude, the ability to live and train alongside others, and self-motivation.  Apprentices should be “go-getters” and be able to handle the rigors of a diverse and busy season. Responsibilities of the Apprenticeship include five 8-10 hour days per week on the farm as well as daily chores. Farm interns are also expected to have a positive attitude, communicate clearly, be self-motivated, and work hard. Our program runs from April 1st to October 31, with a 45-day trial period, and a one-week vacation.

Apprenticeship Details

In the first year of the apprenticeship, the student will gain experience and confidence in the following:

● Harvest

● Wash & pack process

● Direct marketing – running a farmers’ market

● Planting & fieldwork

● Irrigation systems

● Equipment maintenance

● Crop tracking – seeding, planting

● Field walks/crop observation

● Goat Milking/cheese making

● Food preservation

● Organic Certification

● Time management

● Farm crew coordination

o Interpersonal communication skills

o Decision-making

● Crop planning

● Fertility management

● Tools & equipment

● Administration

o Record Keeping

o Planning/ ordering seeds and plants

o Budgets

Over the two-year program apprentices will be given the opportunity to take on management of specific aspects of the farm based on demonstrated skills and interests and the needs of the farm.  We will also be hosting 1-2 environmental education interns in 2019. They will look to the Apprentice(s) for instruction and leadership during times when they are working in the agricultural side of our operations.

Educational Opportunities

Apprentice instruction and training will take place through demonstrations, working together on projects, and farm observation walks.  There will also be opportunities for individual projects and leadership of specific aspects of the Farm. Between our diversified crops, perennials, animals, natural building, environmental education, forestry, and homesteading there are ample opportunities for a self-motivated and dynamic Apprentice to learn, experience, and grow at White Oak.

QUALIFICATIONS

We ask that all apprentices have two seasons of relevant farming experience, commit to a seven month season (April 1 – Oct 31), and come for a pre-placement visit.  Check out our website at www.whiteoakfarmcsa.org for lots more pictures and info.  

ACCOMMODATIONS

Apprentices receive simple housing in their own wall tent, staple foods, farm fruits and vegetables, and access to farm facilities including kitchen, phone, internet, showers, ponds, and a sauna.  Apprentices also receive a monthly stipend.  

Sarah and Taylor

Sarah and Taylor

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 farmers 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 few neighboring fields 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 (to be determined on an individual basis):

  • 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. We are looking for individuals who are willing to commit for a full farming season. The ideal outcome is that both host farmer and apprentice are interested in committing to a second season of working together with increased stipend or pay.  

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 outhouse. Details of room and board/stipend arrangement to be discussed upon interview. 

 

Ben, Siana, and Kristina

Ben, Siana, and Kristina

Flying Coyote Farm

Flying Coyote Farm is a certified organic and biodynamic farm nestled in the foothills of Mt. Hood in Sandy, OR. We use bio-intensive growing practices on our 3-acre home farm to raise high quality produce, and value added products. Additionally we lease 2.5 acres of land where we grow vegetables on a more mechanized system, and own another 37 acres acres where we raise our pastured poultry and pork. Our primary outlets for our produce are through our 100 member CSA program, a weekend farmers market, and local restaurants and groceries. We also have an extensive livestock program where we raise pigs and chickens for meat. Each year we raise 1000 broiler chickens and 15 pigs. We also grow berries and fruit mainly for on-farm use. Our crew consists of Lili Tova (farm manager), three part time harvest positions, two part time fieldwork positions, and two full time apprentice positions. We also host volunteers and WOOFERS during the main growing 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 days per week, with 8-10 hour days in the main season and 6-8 hour days in the spring and late fall. This includes occasional weekend responsibilities (markets and animal chores, etc). Apprentices may take an additional 3 days off during the season to be scheduled with the farm manager.

Depending on which track is chosen (vegetable production or animal production) apprentices will either participate in all aspects of the vegetable operation on our farm or will begin to take on management of all aspects of our pasture-raised meat operation (broiler and pigs). Both tracks will have overlap and apprentices will be exposed to all aspects of the farm operation. 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- Animal Focus

First Year Program Dates - March 15 – December 1st

Second Year Schedule – March 1st – 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

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

  • Animal infrastructure repair and maintenance

  • Review and refine animal production and feeding schedules

  • Review and refine animal marketing material

  • 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)

APPRENTICESHIP DETAILS- Vegetable Focus

First Year Program Dates - March 15 – December 1st

Second Year Schedule – February 15th – December 15th

Year One Responsibilities:

  • Management of Vegetable Marketing Systems

    • Weekly CSA Deliveries

    • Weekly Restaurant Deliveries

    • Weekly Farmers Market

  • CSA Management - weekly newsletters and general CSA coordination

  • Restaurant Sales - receiving orders, creating harvest list, managing weekly delivery schedule and invoicing

  • 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

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 living space in either our auxiliary farm house, or one of our rustic cabins. 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. Apprentices have access to farm produce and some farm meat. All apprentices are paid minimum wage and are asked to pay the farm a small rental fee for their living space and to provide their own food.

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. Flying Coyote Farm encourages and supports applicants from all backgrounds and is committed to creating a safe and supportive work environment.

Lili Tova

Lili Tova