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ORGANIC APPRENTICES

Position: Farm Apprentices (3 positions)
Dates:  April or June until the beginning of December
Terms: accommodation, monthly stipend, more (see below)
Organization: Heyday Farm
Location: Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

Heyday Farm is looking for three apprentices who want to learn organic market gardening skills and experience the market gardening lifestyle for a full season. We are offering a six- or eight-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 thehouse such as quinoa, flint corn, garbanzo beans and a variety of other legumes.

We produce healthy food for our community and ourselves by encouraging a healthy environment on our farm. Our flowers and seed crops provide food for birds, beneficial insects and pollinators. We care for our soil by using a well planned crop rotation, semi-permanent raised beds, reduced tillage and adding lots of organic matter: mulch, manure and cover crops.

We put a lot of care into our work and excel at growing beautiful vegetables and cut flowers that we sell at two local markets. We specialize in fall and winter crops and are known locally for our abundant winter market stall. 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 fresh fruit, cider and vinegar.

2019 will be Colin and Sofya’s eighth season running Heyday Farm together. We both prepared for our farming careers by studying philosophy at McGill and making art! After University 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 favourite things about Heyday include teaching farming skills to apprentices, selecting and saving seeds and growing flowers, pulses and grains. 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 enjoys providing good food to our very appreciative customers. 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 share 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. Reduced tillage means that we prepare our 110’ beds mainly by hand with broadforks and hoes. This demands a lot more time and human energy than preparing beds 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 from the end of our driveway!

Apprentices who would like to work with us must be able to commit to working on the farm from the beginning of April, May or June until the beginning of December. 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 aone and a half hour lunch break. On harvest days the work hours are longer. Apprentices also help with two Saturday markets a month.

In exchange we offer accommodation, a monthly stipend of $600 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 has a private cabin or trailer to live in and they share a common space that is a kitchen/living room with a shower and an outdoor composting toilet. There is a washing machine and dryer in our house.

We have a weekly meeting to discuss upcoming farm tasks. We also use these meetings to teach about farm related topics, to taste and compare new vegetable varieties, to share feedback, to take questions and suggestions and to keep track of personal goals and intentions. Monthly 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 in August or September.

The ideal candidate:

  • Loves Food!
  • Brings a positive attitude to their work
  • Can pay attention to detail while maintaining an efficient pace.
  • Has good physical stamina. The season is long and we will be working long hours together in all kinds of weather.

To apply please send an email to raginskya@gmail.com . Your application should contain your preferred start and finish dates, your resume, two contacts for references and a cover letter describing what is motivating you to do a farm apprenticeship. We look forward to hearing from you!

When applying, please indicate that you saw this posting at FoodWork.ca.
 

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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: Mar 11 2019    ID: 52033