Position: Farm Apprentice
Type: full-time with food, accom., stipend, more (see below)
Organization: HEYDAY FARM
Location: Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
Heyday Farm is looking for apprentices who want to learn organic market gardening skills and experience the lifestyle. We are offering a 5 to 8 month farm immersion on our seven acres in the Fulford Valley on Salt Spring Island. Apprentices are a key part of our farm, they help us grow an array of vegetables, berries and cut flowers for market as well as seeds for the farm and staples for the house such as quinoa, flint corn, dried beans and a variety of other legumes.
We produce healthy food for our community and ourselves by stewarding a diverse and healthy environment on our farm. We care for our soil by using a well planned crop rotation, semi-permanent raised beds, reduced tillage and by adding organic matter like mulch, manure and cover crops. Reduced tillage requires us to do a lot of work by hand, using a broadfork and hoe to prepare our 110’ beds.
We put a lot of care into our work and we excel at growing delicious and beautiful vegetables and cut flowers (the flowers are only delicious for the pollinators). We concentrate on many fall and winter crops and are known locally for having a big beautiful market stall in the winter. We keep a small flock of heritage chickens that provide the farm with eggs and meat and we have a century old pear orchard which provides us with juice, cider, vinegar and fresh fruit well into December. We sell at two local markets from June until the end of March.
2017 will be Heyday’s sixth season. It is run by an experienced farming couple with diverse growing backgrounds. We both prepared for our farming careers by studying philosophy at McGill and making art! Before starting Heyday farm with Colin Sofya worked in urban agriculture in Montreal, apprenticed at a 250 member CSA farm near Montreal and managed the farm at the Salt Spring Center of Yoga for three years. Her favorite things about Heyday include searching for and trialling new flower and vegetable varieties, growing flowers, pulses and grains and teaching. Colin ran a gardening business in Montreal for 15 years, apprenticed at Foxglove farm on Salt Spring and managed Golden Maple farm on Salt Spring for three years. He loves to prepare lunches for the crew, care for the old orchard and watch the farm get better every year. We both love to cook and eat food from the farm. Eating well is one of the greatest pleasures we derive from farming.
We want applicants to know that growing for market is challenging and takes dedication. The way we prepare beds with a broadfork and hoe demands more time and human energy than it would if we prepared them with a tractor. We try to maintain a steady pace throughout the season but the work load does vary. May is very busy and we experience a crunch in July when we juggle harvesting for market, caring for established crops, preparing beds and transplanting fall and winter crops. Another crunch occurs in October when the days get shorter but we are still harvesting for market, cleaning seeds and preparing beds for the following year. Our field plan and planting schedule help things run smoothly throughout the busy season and, in spite of all the hard work, we find that farming is a wonderful and satisfying lifestyle with many rewards.
The Fulford Valley where Heyday is located is a great place to spend the farming season. It is home to community farmland, organic beef, lamb, and dairy operations, vineyards, a micro-brewery and a young olive orchard. The farm is close to lakes, beautiful oceanside trails in Burgoyne Provincial park, the Tsawout reserve and Ruckle Park. We are also on the bus route. The bus can be hailed at the end of our driveway!
Apprentices who would like to work with us must be able to commit to working on the farm from April 1st or June 1st until the end of October or November. They will help us with (and learn about) most aspects of running a market garden: farm planning, preparing beds, seeding, transplanting, harvesting, post harvest handling, weeding, seed saving, record keeping and selling at market. Apprentices work between 40 and 50 hours a week. In general work days are Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm with a one hour lunch break. On harvest days the work hours are longer. Apprentices also help with 1 or 2 Saturday markets a month.
In exchange we offer a $500 monthly stipend, accommodation and incredible produce from the farm to cook with. We also supply some bulk dry goods. The team eats lunch together a couple of times each week but otherwise apprentices are responsible for preparing their own meals. Each apprentice will have a private cabin, trailer or bus to live in and they will share a common cabin that has wi-fi, a shower and kitchen/ living room and an outdoor composting toilet. There is a washing machine and dryer in our house.
We have a weekly meeting to discuss the week’s work. We use these meetings to teach about a farm related topic like crop rotation, to taste and compare new vegetable varieties, to share feedback, to take questions and suggestions and to keep track of personal goals and intentions. Bi-weekly farm walks help us and apprentices view the farm as a whole as it changes throughout the season. Taking the time to do this keeps us aware of crop health and any areas that need attention.
There will be opportunities to visit several local farms throughout the season. These visits will be tailored to suit apprentice’s particular interests. Apprentices will also be able to schedule a one week vacation sometime during the season.
The ideal candidate:
If you would like to apply please email a resume, two contacts for references and a cover letter describing what is motivating you to do a farm apprenticeship and any farm or gardening experience you have to:
We will respond to all applications.
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FoodWork ID: 37291 Date posted to FoodWork.ca: Feb 11 2017