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MARKET GARDENING

Positions: Farm Apprentices
Farm: Heyday Farm
Location: Salt Spring Island, BC

Accommodation: each apprentice has a private cabin or trailer to live in and they share a common space
Compensation: monthly stipend of $1000 and incredible produce from the farm

Heyday Farm is looking for three apprentices who want to experience a full season on an organic (not certified) market garden. We are offering an eight month farm immersion on our seven acre farm on Salt Spring Island. Apprentices are a key part of our farm. They gain farming skills by working with us to produce crops for sale including vegetables, cut flowers and berries,as well as seeds for the farm and staples for the house such as quinoa, flint corn, chickpeas and other legumes.

Candidates who would like to work with us must be able to commit to working on the farm from the beginning of May or June until around December 10th. They will help us with most aspects of growing a market garden: farm planning, preparing beds, seeding, transplanting, weeding, thinning, harvesting, post harvest handling, seed saving, record keeping, stocking the farm stand and selling at market!

We aim to grow healthy food by encouraging a healthy environment on our farm. Our diverse flower 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 by adding lots of organic matter such as hay mulch and cover crops. We love our farm and we put a lot of care into our work. We are especially proud to offer our community the beautiful fall and winter produce that we specialize in. We keep a small flock of chickens that provide us with eggs and we have several heritage pear trees that provide fresh fruit, cider and vinegar.

The Fulford Valley where Heyday is located is a great place to spend the farming season. It is home to community farmland, vineyards, a micro-brewery and even a young olive orchard. The farm is close to lakes and beautiful oceanside trails at Qkwaaqua’m,the Tsawout reserve and Ruckle Park. We are also on the bus route, the bus can be hailed from the end of our driveway!

2022 will be Colin and Sofya’s eleventh season running Heyday Farm. We don’t come from farming backgrounds. We both studied philosophy at McGill and worked in gardening, urban agriculture and fine art. Farming is the creative pursuit we have settled on for all of it's hard work and rewards. We are constantly learning and each year on the farm has been better than the last. Sofya’s favourite things about Heyday include selecting and saving seeds and growing cut flowers, pulses and grains. Colin enjoys working on infrastructure to improve the farm every year and being able to provide good food to our appreciative customers. We both really love to cook and share food from the farm.

We want applicants to know that growing for market is challenging and takes real dedication.

Reduced tillage means that we prepare our 110’ beds mainly by hand with broadforks and a wheelhoe. This demands much more time and human energy than preparing beds with a tractor would. We try to maintain a steady pace throughout the season but the work load does vary. May is very busy with planting and we experience a crunch in July when we juggle harvesting for market, caring for established crops, preparing beds and planting fall and winter crops. Another crunch occurs in October when the days get shorter but we are still harvesting for market, harvesting storage crops, cleaning seeds and rushing to prepare the next year’s beds before the rains come. 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.

Apprentices can expect to work an average of 30 hours a week in the field. We always enjoy a one and a half hour lunch break but the work schedule does fluctuate with the season’s demands:

April: Tues-Fri 9:00-5:00

May, June, July: Tues-Fri 8:00-5:00

August, September: Tues-Fri 8:00-5:00 with a few hours of harvest on Monday mornings

October: Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00

November: Tues - Fri 8:00-4:00 (Earlier start on account of Daylight Savings)

In addition to the 30 hours of field work apprentices help work the Saturday and Tuesday markets every third week, another 12+ hours, farm meetings are also outside of fieldwork hours.

In exchange for labor we offer accommodation, a monthly stipend of $1000 and incredible produce from the farm to cook with. The team shares a meal together once a week, 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.

In truth the majority of the apprenticeship is made up of the labour that it takes to produce vegetables on a small scale. We truly appreciate the hard work of our apprentices and do everything we can to make sure their experience at Heyday is positive and fulfilling. We have weekly meetings (after field work hours) 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 all 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 ten day vacation sometime in August or September.

The ideal candidate:

  • Loves Food
  • Brings a positive attitude to their work
  • Enjoys maintaining an efficient work pace
  • Has good physical stamina
  • Is vaccinated against Covid 19

To apply:

Please send an email to heydayfarmsaltspring@gmail.com . Your application should contain your preferred start and finish dates, your resume, two contacts for references and a brief note explaining what is motivating you to do a farm apprenticeship. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: Apr 15 2022    ID: 62576