Against the Grain

Contact information
Farm Address:
619 Camp Joy Rd
Zionville, North Carolina, 28698

Primary Contact: Holly Whitesides
Secondary Contact: Andrew Bryant

Primary Phone:
    Number: 8284064439

Secondary Phone
    Number: 828-773-9383


Internship information
General Farm Description: Against the Grain is a small-scale diversified farm located 15 minutes from downtown Boone in Zionville, NC. The farm is situated on 35-acres and raises a broad spectrum of certified Biodynamic and Organic vegetables on a little under 2 acres, as well as Animal Welfare Approved, GMO-free, grass-fed beef. We focus on four main market channels, including a weekly farmer's market, a 20 week/115-member vegetable CSA, several area restaurants, and 2 local food hubs. The 2024 season will be our thirteenth year in crop production and eleventh year in animal production at our current farm place. We are continuing to refine our crop rotation, cover crop management, harvesting and composting techniques. Our focus at Against the Grain is to nurture the soil in order to grow high quality, nutritious food for our local community. At ATG, we value building a cohesive team and cultivating a safe and fun work atmosphere where all crew members feel valued.

CRAFT Member Farm? Yes

Internship Starts: August/September
Internship Ends: until
Number of Internship Available: 1
Application Deadline: until filled
Minimum Length of Stay: 4 months

Internship Details:

We are hiring one full time crew member who will work with farmers, Holly and Andy, as well as farm manager, Anthea, and crop manager, Monica.  We are specifically hiring to fill the “production lead” position (more details to follow) beginning in August or September and ideally staying on the farm until the following October or November.  If you are looking to gain more experience growing organic vegetables, we welcome you to apply to work at ATG!

All members of the farm crew work at large on all aspects of vegetable production and harvest. In addition, each crew member fills one or more specific roles on the farm, depending on the needs of the farm and the interests and skill set of crew members.  Positions include (but are not limited to) production lead, greenhouse lead, compost lead, CSA lead, livestock assistant, pack shed lead, crop assistant, documentation assistant and marketing assistant.   A complete list is available upon request.

Production lead role includes:

-Tuesday-Saturday work schedule (work independently on Saturdays)

-coordinate with the farm manager manager to flip and prepare beds for planting

-become familiar and competent with operation of all tractors and attachments

-become competent with the bed planting sequence: rake, mark, plant, lay drip tape, water in, hoops and row cover and rock bags if needed

-become comfortable effectively using the paper pot transplanter

-check planting binder for planting details (spacing and number of rows) before planting

-record planting and production tasks on data boards

-become familiar with the amendment board and how to prepare and apply amendments

-become familiar with compost binder and how to know which compost to use

-become familiar with irrigation set up and operation SOP (in development)

We generally work Monday through Friday, 7:30am to 4:30pm (with an hour off for lunch) during the height of the season.

We offer a 40 hour paid week off during the months of June or July for all full-time crew who are committed to working at least 6 months on the farm.  Sunday to Sunday is the best vacation schedule (which allows for an 8-day break), but if starting one’s break on a weekday is necessary, the farm can only offer 7 days (ie Tuesday through Monday off and Tuesday back on the farm).  Additionally, if crew members need additional time for family emergencies or other personal situations that arise, the farm will do its best to accommodate.  However, the time away will most likely result in a reduction in the weekly stipend (prorated only for the week when the time was missed).

The farm offers 4 hours of paid sick/personal leave for every 173 hours worked (or approximately 1-month of full-time work).  Sick leave can also be used for personal errands and appointments.

We have a rotating Sunday chore schedule for all crew who live on the farm.  These chores will include opening and closing tunnels, livestock chores and watering seedlings/fresh transplants.  This schedule will result in crew members being responsible for weekend chores every third or fourth weekend, depending on how many crew members live on the farm. The time commitment for weekend chores will vary as the chore list varies, but expect a 3-4 hour time commitment.  We ask that the crew member responsible for weekend chores to stay on the farm for the day in case any unforeseen weather or other events occur.

Educational Opportunities: We always try to give instructions as we go and try to explain “how” and “why” along the way. We plan to have regular evening discussion/films on topics including soil fertility, Biodynamics, community dynamics and just plain fun. We also have a small farm library, to which apprentices and interns will have full access. We are not specifically a teaching farm, but we will do our best to convey as much of our knowledge as we can reasonably, while we work, and we offer crew members the chance to review our annual financials and crop analysis. There is a CRAFT network, hosted by Blue Ridge Women in Ag, which hosted field days on farms in our area, and we strongly encourage interns to attend.

Skills Desired: Crew Position Requirements (general): -Extensive experience: A minimum of one full main growing season (or equivalent experience) on another Biodynamic or Organic farm(s). We anticipate that applicants will have some experience in some areas of small-scale agriculture including seeding and transplanting, soil fertility, pest management, irrigation, harvesting, marketing and livestock management. Less experience considered, with an appropriate adjustment in the starting monthly stipend. -A passion for growing vegetables and a love for agricultural labor. -The ability to crouch, squat, bend and kneel for extended periods of time. -The ability to lift 30lbs frequently and 50lbs regularly. -A valid driver’s license and clean driving record for the past 5 years. -The ability to engage in self-care. Farming can be very challenging both physically and emotionally. It is imperative that crew members have the ability to care for themselves in ways that enable them to contribute constructively to the crew and community. -The capacity to contribute to and maintain a collaborative and cooperative work environment, including strong communication skills as well as a constructive approach to problem solving. -A commitment to work at ATG for full growing season (at minimum). The growing season ramps up in mid to late February and winds down in October/November. Modified work schedules and equivalent income through the winter is an option for crew members who are staying for another season. -Adaptability and flexibility are key. The vegetables are the economic engine of ATG, and as a result they require a lot of time and attention. All crew members will participate in vegetable field production and harvesting in addition to their responsibilities associated with specific positions. -Ability to work independently and as well as on a team. Crew members will be working side-by-side with farmers and farm manager frequently at the beginning of the season. But as the season progresses, the farmers have tasks around the farm that are their responsibility alone, which leaves crew members to work more independently. However, because ATG is a relatively small farming operation, we place a strong emphasis on teamwork and group dynamics. -The drive for independent learning and innovation. It is imperative that crew members have a passion for knowledge around both general and specific aspects of growing food for body, soul and spirit. We will support this with access to the on-farm library as well as facilitated evening discussions (based on interest and crew motivation). Additionally, there are two CRAFT networks, hosted by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and Organic Growers School, which host field days on farms in our area, and we strongly encourage crew members to attend. -Willingness to engage in community building and shared space upkeep. The work of the farm does not happen in isolation to the dynamic of our core community. Attendance at a monthly meeting/potluck is required in addition to chores surrounding living in community. The inability to equitably contribute to keeping the shared living spaces clean will result in a reconsideration of employment at ATG. -Ability to work quickly and efficiently while keeping an eye on details. -Covid vaccinations are not required and there is no mask mandate on the farm. Position Preferences: -Preference given to applicants who are interested in investing in deep community development and spiritual growth. -Experience in Biodynamic agriculture is a major plus. -Ideally, crew members will engage in a 2-to-4-year commitment to living and working at ATG.

Meals: No, apprentices are responsible for preparing their own meals but unlimited produce and a meat stipend are provided by the farm.

Stipend: Hourly wage will be based on experience and is negotiable, but generally, we will start full time crew members (45-50 hours/week) at $8/hr. Compensation for full time crew also includes housing, produce and meat from the farm.

Housing: Yes, the housing includes on-the-grid, insulated sleep sheds and a common kitchen for cooking. There are composting toilets and a four-seasons insulated shower with hot water. Crew members also have access to an abundance of vegetables (seasonal and dependent on specific crop yields) and meat. The farm values room and board at $350/month. The tiny house with board is valued at $450/month.

Preferred method of Contact: email