Backbone Food Farm
Last Updated On: enero 4th, 2023 at 07:57AM MST
Contact informationFarm Address:
530 Lynndale Rd.
Oakland, Maryland, 21550
Primary Contact: Katharine Dubansky
Internship informationGeneral Farm Description: Nestled at the foot of Backbone Mountain in Garrett County, MD, we are a diversified small family farm using sustainable, regenerative, and organic methods, bearing the Certified Naturally Grown label. Entering our twenty-third year farming on our land, we grow a wide variety of vegetables, high CBD hemp, small fruits and an ever growing selection of cut flowers. In addition we have a large gourmet mushroom fruiting operation with 1500 shiitake logs , and an indoor mushroom cultivation building allowing us to grow oysters. Our weekly schedule stays full with three farmers markets a week, a 40-family CSA and several restaurant and local grocery accounts. Backbone is also home to a wide variety of livestock, including horses, a small flock of laying hens, meat rabbits, pastured broiler chickens, a small beef herd and hogs. Our pastured pig herd numbers in the 40-80 range, including a sow to piglet breeding program, portable fencing and pasture rotation. We are currently raising a crossed heritage breed, on 14th generation born and raised on our farm. Our small black angus beef herd is managed through rotational grazing throughout the year. Chickens are out to pasture and butchered on farm. Sustainable vegetable growing methods include extensive cover cropping, high tunnels and hoop houses, crop rotation, IPM and more. If you are interested in learning the basics of seasonal small farm work including barn chore basics, greenhouse management, seeding, weeding, transplanting, harvesting, processing and marketing as well as the fundamentals of shiitake and oyster mushroom cultivation, pastured animal husbandry and more, consider Backbone.
CRAFT Member Farm? No
Internship Starts: "Approx. April 1st, 2023"
Internship Ends: 30-Oct-2023
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: "Febuary 15, 2023 "
Minimum Length of Stay: "Full Season, shorter arrangments possible for students"
Interns at Backbone Farm will get an immersive farm experience from day one, learning the ins and outs of a farm to market operation. You will spend your days gaining hands on experience in the field, working closely with our team of seasoned farmers. Max and Katharine, founders and full time farmers, their daughter Grace, who is 25 and entering her fifth season of full time farmer and livestock manager, seasonal crew members, and the occasional WOOFER. We will empower you to gain experience as you work through the seasons. We expect interns to work a five day (full days!) week ending after Saturday markets. You can expect to learn the basics of running a small farm. We have a “whole farm system” that utilizes all aspects of the land we live on and the creatures who inhabit it. Learn our cycle of fertility, we use no outside inputs other than cover crop seeds and minerals, using all compost and manure from our farm.
Season extension is a key here: learn how we make this work with hoop house and high tunnel management. All of our plants are started on site in our greenhouse, a great opportunity to learn the basics of greenhouse management and seeding schedules.
In a “bio-extensive system” learn how to make a garden work. Including direct seeding, transplanting seedlings from our greenhouse, weed control, pest management, use of row cover, harvesting and packing for market, ground cultivation, and more.
Interns can expect to gain hands on marketing experience, we attend 3 weekly markets as well as drop offs to local restaurants and grocery. You will learn the basics of washing and packing for market. Connect with customers at markets, while honing in your table display skills!
Understand and assist with the basics of shiitake and oyster mushroom cultivation. We rotate 1500 shiitake logs during the season and grow oysters 9 months out of the year in our indoor cultivation building. Other species grown sporadically, and wild edibles are a favorite hobby! Gain experience with small fruits and brambles in our small orchard- 100 blueberry bushes, 1/8 acres of raspberries and a large rhubarb patch as well. Learn the basics of cut flowers as an added benefit to a market farm.
Aside from market garden skills, interns will gain knowledge and experience in Livestock management. Help manage our herd of pastured pigs- from daily chores and pasture rotation, to helping farrow and manage the herd. Learn the basics of high tensile and portable fencing while helping move our small herd of beef cattle around the farm. Interns will also have to opportunity to assist with a pastured poultry flock- raise and butchered on farm.
We are looking for someone who has a get it done mentality, works well with others, and can maintain a sense of humor. Prior farming experience is not required, but it is helpful. We are a family style team and we love welcoming new faces! We share lunch and dinner throughout the workweek, and help in the kitchen is always appreciated, what better time to work on your “farm to table” repertoire? If you think you may fit in perfectly with our gang of humans and animals alike, visit our website for an application, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Educational Opportunities: "You can expect to learn the basics of running a small farm. We feel we have a whole farm system that utilizes all aspects of the land we live on and the creatures who inhabit it. Learn our cycle of fertility, we use little outside inputs other than cover crop seeds and minerals. Season extension is a key here: learn about hoop houses and hightunnels, row covers, and using a greenhouse to start all plants. In a bio-extensive system- learn how to make a garden work, including seed starting, direct seeding, transplanting, weeding, pest management, harvesting, ground cultivation and more. Learn the details of preparing crops for market, and marketing skills including CSA and farmers market techniques. Help manage our herd of pastured pigs- from farrowing to pasture rotation. Feed rations, portable electric fence management and high tensile fence basics and hog hut housing are skills we can pass along. Understand and assist with the basics of shiitake and oyster mushroom cultivation. We rotate 1500 shiitake logs during the season and grow oyster 9 months out of the year in our indoor cultivation building. Other species grown sporadically, and wild edibles a favorite hobby! Gain experience with small fruits and brambles in our small orchard- 100 blueberry bushes, 1/8 acres of raspberries. Large rhubarb patch as well. Learn the basics of cut flowers as an added benefit to a market farm.
Skills Desired: "No farm experience is necessary, but it is helpful. We appreciate people who are responsible, able to take initiative and follow directions, clean up after themselves, be creative and committed. We are looking for folks wanting to learn FARMING skills. We are generally easy going and flexible and have found that a good match tends to be the same. A general appreciation for children and family, and a sense of humor is a definite bonus! "
Meals: "All food provided. Some help in the kitchen appreciated. 99% of past interns agree, "A Backbone meal is a good meal" From the farm food, no meat except from the farm or the neighborhood. You cook for yourself on the weekends."
Housing: "Small cabin in the woods. No electric or plumbing. Spring, outhouse. Beautiful and secluded!Access to laundry, shower and electric. Wi-Fi limited. "
Preferred method of Contact: phone or e-mail