Bio-Intensive Market Garden Apprenticeship at Mahonia Gardens with Rogue Farm Corps

Contact information
Farm Address:
Rogue Farm Corps
Sisters, Oregon, 97759

Primary Contact: Rogue Farm Corps
Primary Phone:
    Number: 541-588-3550


Internship information
General Farm Description: Mahonia Gardens is a one-acre market garden in Sisters, Oregon. We only use organic practices and emphasize biodiversity. Our practices align with the idea that quality soil creates quality food. Benji Nagel and Carys Wilkins founded Mahonia Gardens in 2013, making 2022 our 10th season. Prior to that, we had worked on a variety of farms in southern Oregon and abroad, participated in full-season internships in California, and studied and practiced Permaculture principles. The youngest member of our farm is Lupine, who was born in November 2021, followed by her brother Junius who will turn 5 this winter. They are an absolute joy and will spend some days on the farm with us. The most important aspect of our project is our commitment to lifestyle. We choose to farm because of the way we are able to interact with our environment and community through growing and selling food, spending our days outdoors and always learning. Although we have developed a profitable farming model, economic growth is not our primary goal; rather, we strive to maintain a balanced lifestyle. We work hard all summer so we are able to take the winter months off. See website for more details.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: May 2
Internship Ends: Sept 30
Number of Internship Available: 1
Application Deadline: ASAP
Minimum Length of Stay: 5

Internship Details:

Mahonia Gardens is a participating host farm with Rogue Farm Corps’ Distance Apprenticeship Program. RFC’s Apprenticeship Program is an on-farm learning experience for those who have at least one full season (5+ months and at least 600 hours) of farm or ranch experience (or equivalent). The Apprenticeship combines hands-on training and skills-based education for those ready to dive into the art and business of sustainable agriculture. This program helps people who want to continue in agriculture to learn the skills needed to manage and run a diversified farming operation, and deepen their understanding of ecological and sustainable agricultural practices.

Similar to the Internship Program, apprentices train at one of RFC’s partner Host Farms. Participants also engage in a series of educational weekend intensives in locations around the state which include farm tours, networking, and camping. They also participate in a handful of online classes and discussions to round out the on-farm experience. The Apprenticeship, like the Internship, examines the economic, ecological and social sustainability of farm practices, and continues to build on these themes.

RFC Apprenticeship host farm sites can be located up to 3 hours driving distance from an active chapter location (Portland Metro and Rogue Valley).

Applications are accepted on our website on a rolling basis until positions are filled, but early applications are considered first. Apply by January 27th, 2022 for priority consideration. RFC has limited tuition scholarships available for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, veteran, and low-income applicants.

RFC has developed COVID-19 safety protocols according to state and federal guidance and will adjust them as needed to protect the health and safety of our participants, staff, host farmers, and communities. In-person educational events are held outside with social distancing in place.

Rogue Farm Corps partners with dedicated mentor host farms and ranches that focus on sustainable, regenerative, ecological, and/or organic approaches in their production methods. Host farm enterprises vary by farm and include animal (meat, dairy, eggs, etc) and plant-based production (vegetables, herbs, fruit, seeds, etc). Host farms are commercial, small-to-mid scale operations marketing to their local and regional community via a range of sales channels including farmers market, CSA, wholesale, and more. RFC participants are exposed to various farm production and marketing systems via RFC’s farm tour events.

Rogue Farm Corps is committed to an ongoing learning process around privilege, power, inequality and systems of oppression. RFC has a goal of making our programs welcoming to, inclusive of, and accessible to communities who are under-represented as farm operators in Oregon, including women, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+ individuals, low-income individuals and immigrants. Our desire to create a more equitable food system is reflected in RFC’s programs and collaborations.

Learn more and apply:

Educational Opportunities: In addition to the on-farm training, apprentices will also participate in Rogue Farm Corps' apprentice weekend intensive series, which includes farm tours, classes and discussions. A Mahonia Gardens employee’s responsibilities will include: Propagation: seeding/planting/transplanting/cuttings Bed preparation Weed management Composting Harvesting General farm maintenance Cultivation Irrigation Sales (deliveries, farm stand etc)

Skills Desired: We are looking for someone who has the following qualities: Physical work experience--preferably on a farm. We would prefer to hire someone who has spent a whole season, or most of a season, working or interning on a farm. We need to know that you work hard, sweat and enjoy a satisfying day of labor. Ability to lift 50 lbs.--however, we are trying to keep loads lighter for long-term spine health. Desire to learn: asking questions and attempting to do your best quality work will be highly regarded. General fitness. You don’t need to be a marathon runner, but you do need to be capable of enduring long days of bending, lifting, shoveling, pushing wheelbarrows and more. Mindfulness: of self, the people around you, the environment, your actions and reactions. Practiced communication skills: we need to be able to talk openly about what and how work is being done. We will work and live in close quarters and need to know how you are feeling. A willingness/desire to improve communication skills is important. Beginner mentality: No matter how much experience you have, we want you to enter this program as a beginner with humility, and an openness to our ways of doing things. Active listening: we will expect you to practice generous, active listening and will provide you with a worksheet. Self-motivation, independence and work ethic: we will expect you to be observant and notice what needs to be done. Flexibility: plans change constantly with farming based on weather, opportunities, or mishaps, and you need to be able to roll with it. Prioritizing is difficult on the farm with endless variables involved, and you will often see the decision making process play our right in front of you. Clean drivers license: you may be asked to drive our truck to farmers market or on deliveries

Meals: The apprentice is welcome to seasonal veggies from our farm, for personal use. They can also purchase off-farm products from our farm stand at half price.

Stipend: Minimum Wage: $12.75/hour until July 1st; raised to $13.50 on July 1st

Housing: $300/month covers housing cost for a private cabin at our small-town “urban homestead” nearby the farm. We farm on leased land and do not live on the farm. However, we are lucky to own a house on a large lot in the middle of Sisters less than a mile from the farm. Our lot has ample room for our geodesic dome greenhouse, propagation house, 2 small cabins, an outdoor kitchen and outdoor shower and compost toilet. The cabins each have a private feel. The kitchen includes a full-sized fridge, running warm water, dishes, pots and pans, a tea kettle, a toaster oven, and a five-burner propane cooktop. Our home is within walking distance from laundromat, groceries, coffee shops, library, trails, etc. Having a car is very handy, as Bend is a 30 minute drive and has a lot going on.

Preferred method of Contact: email / website