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.
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.
In the first year of the apprenticeship, the student will gain experience and confidence in the following:
● 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
● Crop planning
● Fertility management
● Tools & equipment
o Record Keeping
o Planning/ ordering seeds and plants
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.
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.
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.
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.