Chickadee Farm – Organic Vegetable Seed Farm

Contact information
Farm Address:
12330 SE Wallace rd
Dayton, Oregon, 97114

Primary Contact: Sebastian Aguilar
Primary Phone:
    Number: 541-301-9657


Internship information
General Farm Description: Chickadee Farm is a small certified organic family farm specializing in growing high quality vegetable, herb and flower seed grown using organic methods. Located in Dayton, Oregon, Chickadee Farm is owned and managed by Kelly Gelino and Sebastian Aguilar who have been farming since 1997 and have trained many new farmers along the way. We take our role in the apprenticeship model seriously and we dedicate ourselves to being valuable educators and mentors for our apprentices. Our farm is 16 acres of which 8 acres are cropped, and 8 are cover-cropped. We grow open-pollinated seed for several national seed companies including 20+ species such as tomato, pepper, lettuce, brassica, melon, flowers and many more. Our farming style is small-scale intensive using tractors for tillage and cultivation. Our farm goals include enhancing the farm's ecology while making the farm efficient and profitable and doing all of this while having a good time!

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: March 2022
Internship Ends: November 2022
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: until filled
Minimum Length of Stay: full season

Internship Details:

We offer an advanced internship that helps aspiring farmers learn and practice the skills they need to run a successful organic farm. Through work, classes and mentoring, we strive to give our interns the knowledge and confidence they need to achieve their long-term farming goals. Our internship model is a hybrid apprentice/employee model where there is an incremental progression from apprentice to full employee over the course of the season. Participants start the season as an apprentice receiving a stipend, transition to part-time employees in June and by August are full-time employees until the season ends in mid-November. Opportunities for successful employees to stay multiple seasons, with increasing benefits, also exist.
We believe this model encourages a strong initial learning experience that naturally transitions into a full immersion into the work and management of the farm.
Our hope and goal for apprentices and employees is to continually help them develop their understanding of, and practical skills in, organic farming – in the hopes that they become confident in working on all aspects of our farm operation as well as in being able to realistically plan and develop their own future farm, if that is their goal.
We do several things to accomplish this. During work hours, in-field demonstrations and discussions for each new task ensure that apprentices understand the goals, strategies, factors, and potential challenges of each farm activity. Having everyone on the farm feel confident and adept in accomplishing each farm task efficiently and successfully is very important. We also take weekly farm walks where we take the time to observe the changes happening in the fields, assess the needs of the farm and discuss our plan for the week. We also, for the first half of the season, teach a weekly class where we discuss the concepts that guide our practical work. Classes cover a wide range of farm production and farm business topics, including soil management, crop production strategies, irrigation design and management, crop planning, record keeping and much more. We can also help them develop a personal business plan that they can use to map out their own future farm business if desired.
In exchange for our efforts to train and educate, we expect apprentices to be passionate about farming and dedicate themselves to working hard towards the farm’s success, learning as much as possible and contributing to creating a positive farm atmosphere.

Educational Opportunities: As stated above, we strive to teach our apprentices as much as we can about how we run our farm. We are passionate about making our small farm successful; ecologically, economically and socially, yet this is usually a complex and challenging task. Trying to accomplish this requires managing soil, plants, systems, machines, business and people and we are always trying to improve our ability to understand and balance these aspects. We find this challenge both interesting and exciting and we hope our apprentices and employees share this passion. We feel our experience is most valuable to someone who has farmed for 1-3 years and is looking for an opportunity to deepen their understanding of how to manage a farm with the goal of making farming a long-term career choice. We have many years of educator experience and have trained 50+ apprentices over the years. Many of them return for a second year and many of them have started their own farms. Sebastian has taught courses organic farming for numerous organizations including OSU Extension, the Organic Farm School, Rogue Farm Corps, the Organic Seed Alliance and others.

Skills Desired: As this is an advanced apprenticeship that becomes full employment, we give priority to applicants who have some farming experience though experience is not required. The most important qualifications are a passion for learning, a willingness to work hard, good social skills and a positive attitude.

Meals: Apprentices live independently and cook for themselves. Farm produce and personal garden space is available.

Stipend: Apprentices receive a living stipend in addition to housing, education and farm produce and are covered by workman's comp. Stipends start at $560/mo. Once they become half-time employees in June, they earn $1060/mo and when they become full-employees in August, they earn $2320/mo.

Housing: We have a nice, small 2-bedroom house next to the farm that two apprentices will share.

Preferred method of Contact: email, text or phone