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Hole Foods Farm; La Sal, Utah
County Road 130
La Sal, UT 84530
Contact: Chris Pfenning, Kelly Coffman
Last Updated: 06-18-2015
General Description: As of June 16, 2015, Hole Foods Farm has an IMMEDIATE opening for TWO hardworking, positive, and down-to-earth full-time interns or part-time farmhands. We are looking to fill these positions ASAP until our season ends around mid October (depending on the frost).
We are a remote, beautiful, and uniquely OFF-THE-GRID for-profit veggie farm now in our fourth season. We are nestled in the foothills of the La Sal Mountains overlooking the Canyonlands where we grow very intensively on less than two acres. In the past we've sold at farmers' markets, and while we still offer a tiny CSA, we currently sell most of our crops to restaurants, grocery stores, and a regional wholesaler through the nearby town of Moab, Utah. Occasionally we make the trek to the mountain town of Telluride, Colorado to sell to high-end restaurants and hotels. The 40 acre property on which we farm sits at 6,200' in a wild canyon that is bordered by BLM and National Forest land. Sagebrush, pinons, junipers, oaks, and cottonwoods dot our landscape, and western wildlife abounds. Rattlers, eagles, elk, bear, deer, scorpions, tarantulas, mountain lions, cottontails, coyotes. Summers here in the high desert are hot, days are long, and we are thankful for the nearby pond and springs. Three springs run through the property which we rely on for our irrigation water, personal culinary drinking water, and hydro-power electricity (in addition to solar). Interns can stay either in a cozy private room off the far side of our strawbale home or in a three story cob treehouse-type cabin (which we call "the triplex") located in the back of the canyon overlooking the fenced-in upper garden. Please note that our restrooms out here are all simple but clean outhouses! Also, our farm is only accessed by a very rugged 4x4 road, so an off-road vehicle is necessary, and we are a forty minute drive southeast of Moab.
While we would much prefer to take on two passionate full-time INTERNS, we are more flexible than most farms due to our remote locale ... and are therefore willing to work with your situation and the number of days per week you are looking to work. We would consider one of the following options:
INTERN: 9-10 hours work/day for $20/day & a small cabin or private room + veggies
COMMITTED WWOOFer: 5 hours work/day for $10/day & a small cabin/private room + veggies (w/your handshake agreement to stick w/us for the growing season)
UNCOMMITTED WWOOFer: 5 hours work/day for $8/day & a small cabin/private room + veggies
UNPAID WWOOFer: 5 hours work/day for a small cabin/private room + 3 self-made meals/day
**For recent farm photos and intern living quarters, please check us out on Facebook ("Hole Foods Farm").**
Internship Starts: 06-16-2015
Internship Ends: 10-01-15
Number of Interns: 2
Minimum Length of Stay:
Meals: All our farmhands share our personal home kitchen with us, so we ask that you be respectful of our common space, clean up after yourself, and pitch in regularly on dish duty. Please use our kitchen table to enjoy your meals and then make a timely transition outside or to your own private quarters to read, socialize, relax, and rejuvenate, as we two farmers need our quiet alone time, too! For those who choose to be compensated for their labor in self-made meals, we provide the following provisions: oats, rice, beans, potatoes, onions/garlic, eggs, 1/2#/per week local feta goat cheese, 1# per week local ground beef, 1/2 loaf bread per week, veggies/greens/herbs from the farm (you harvest/clean), olive oil/butter/coconut oil (expensive for us, so please use resourcefully), salt and pepper.
Skills Desired: It's awesome if you have experience in / or an educational background in / or a passion for biology or botany or nutrition or team sports or even extensive previous background working on respectable/busy farms, etc., but our experience has shown us that such qualifications do not necessarily translate to what happens out in the field between you and the crops. And that's okay! Interning is about "trying on" all types of farming. And we all hypothetically improve the more we practice at any art. So we must trust that you will do your best, and we will do our best to communicate to you how it's going and what needs to get done and how we feel about how you are, and we all must trust that the rest will figure itself out as it will. Self-knowledge, getting to know yourself, comes with time and experience, and farming WILL expose your weaknesses, as it should. You just have to take the risk, fail a lot, and learn all the time.
Educational Opportunities: We are pretty transparent with our help about our actual costs, profit margins, learning curves, struggles, and triumphs. We consider a huge part of an interns' education learning about working as a team and navigating their own boundaries and communicate in a clear, honest, and timely manner. These are key to us farmers as we prioritize farm tasks and deal with the inevitable differing opinions and interpersonal issues that arise. We love that we always seem to learn as much or more from our farmhands as they learn from the farm and us. We are open to following/supporting the unique interests of our interns and sharing what knowledge we have about certain aspects of our business/profession. We encourage curiosity and love talking shop. We have a wide array of farm books to share and follow nerdy farmer podcasts and trade magazines that we can recommend as well.
Stipend: 3 meals/day for 5 hours of work + housing + veggies
$8/day for (an uncommitted) 5 hour workday + housing + veggies
$10/day for (a committed/in for the whole season) 5 hour workday + housing + veggies
$20/day for an intern committed for the season (with one day off per week)
Housing: Under an oak grove in your tent (or no tent, under the spectacular stars--very little light pollution all the way out here!), in a cozy private room at the far end of the strawbale house, or in a three-story treehouse-style cob cabin overlooking the fenced-in upper garden canyon.
Preferred method Of Contact: Give us a call and leave a message about yourself and situation. Or email us. And we get texts, too!
Internship Details: Just a few years ago, we were both haggard and idealistic interns ourselves, and so we have given considerable thought since beginning our own farm as to what we would like our own interns to take away from their experience with us. Interning is an incredible and irreplaceable way to truly "try on" farming as a daily reality, as a livelihood, without the financial/time commitment and formality of an expensive sustainable/organic ag program. As a bookworm myself, I know in many ways it is far, far superior to book learning but humbling daily beyond belief. Farming is unimaginably rewarding...but there is no getting around the unforgiving hard physical labor...in the hot sun when the gnats are swarming and the deadline is looming...and it will beat you down, humble your soul, and yet we Must Go On. Chris and I work really hard for very little, and we do expect our interns to always do THEIR best, too, to make steady progress through the season, and to strive to balance speed and pushing personal limits with attention to detail and personal care. We need our interns to take care of themselves, always stay well fueled and well hydrated (and keep track of their own water bottles!), choose clothing that will keep them comfy in the heat and bugs and pokies, etc. (And we will do our best as team captains to guide our team in this terrain in non-judgmental ways! We want our team farm crew to succeed every day!) Mostly, we want our interns to have a hands-on, positive, engaging, and ultimately REALISTIC experience of what it is like to live on and operate a for-profit farm from a high desert wilderness and off-grid setting.