Climate Farm Internship

Contact information
Farm Address:
3042 Center RD
Lopez Island, Washington, 98261

Primary Contact: Faith Van De Putte
Secondary Contact: David Bill

Primary Phone:
    Number: 2065515260

Secondary Phone
    Number: 2069413566


Internship information
General Farm Description: Midnight’s Farm is a small diversified farm on Lopez Island in northwest Washington. The farm is owned and managed by David Bill and Faith Van De Putte who both have deep roots on the island. David bought the land in 1988 and runs the compost operation, keeps the machinery running and leads infrastructure projects. Faith manages the market garden and livestock. Both deeply value the community on the farm and island. We strive to model stewardship and production that tends the soil and the climate, including; community scale compost production, rotational grazing, biochar production and intensive no-till market garden. We are always seeking to improve our practices and incorporate new ideas and information. Our current curiosities/projects include peat free potting mix experiments with all local ingredients, refining biochar production, and incorporating climate storytelling into our promotion materials.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: 4/15/24 or later
Internship Ends: 11/1/24 or earlier
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: 4/15/24
Minimum Length of Stay: 3 months

Internship Details:

This internship is a collaboration between Midnight’s Farm and the Lopez Community Land Trust (LCLT) Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development ( SARD) Internship Program. SARD Internships offer the opportunity to combine on-farm learning and continued education. SARD Interns gain experience on small scale farms and can develop research work for future projects. Additional opportunities are available for touring permaculture operations and
biodynamic farms in the area. Work sites may include a horse drawn operated organic farm, a goat farm, market gardening with focus on organic and permaculture principles, or the farm-to-school program. SARD Interns follow the island farming season which can include planting, cultivation, harvesting and food preservation, market gardens, orchard gleaning and livestock production. Through this there is a network of other interns and other resources.

Experiential Farm Learning
From composting, rotational grazing, heavy mulches, biochar, no-till market garden, many of our practices are in the regenerative agriculture playbook. We are still highly dependent on our numerous diesel engines and obviously have a long way to go in the climate realm towards minimizing GHG emissions and maximizing land-based sequestration. We are deeply committed to climate action and look through the climate lens in our management decisions. In our discussions around the lunch table and as we work we will build the practical understandings of soil health, the carbon cycle, energy efficiency, and community engagement.

At the same time, there’s work to be done. Depending on the season and interest interns will gain first hand experience with the following:

Fundamentals of Aerated Static Pile compost system
Compost feedstocks
Basic components of compost
Understanding of the thermophilic cycle
General maintenance of machinery
Benefits of compost for soil and plant health
Sales and customer service

Rotational grazing of cattle
Electric fencing set up and maintenance
Low stress stockmanship
Haylage production
Benefits of overwintering off pasture
Beef sales
On farm slaughter

Market Garden
Weed control
Drip irrigation
Strategies for no till
Cover crops
Season extension
Marketing and Sales
Website management
Social Media
San Juan Island Food Hub
Telling our story

Infrastructure and Maintenance
Machinery maintenance- greasing, oil changes, etc.
Machine operation- there will be limited opportunity to operate machinery.
Energy efficiency
Construction basics
Safe use of power tools including
Table saw
Chop saw
Skill saw

Woodlot management
Fire reduction strategies including
Ladder fuel reduction
Biochar production
Creation of litter piles

Resources List for Internship
Extensive on farm library of books that may be checked out
Access to the online JM Fortier Market Garden Master Class during your stay
Access to all of the back issues of Growing For Market magazine
Biweekly opportunities to visit other farms through an informal intern/farm employee network with a variety of host farms

Work Values (for all of us):
Bring the values of “Curiosity, Generosity, and Optimism”
Be reliable – show up on time ready to learn and work.
Communicate clearly – respond to calls, emails, or text with clarity and in “real time”. Ask questions and make suggestions when information or tasks aren’t clear or don’t make sense. Bring up issues directly with the people concerned. Strive to recover from situations where we or others inevitably mess up.
Engage fully and be capable of the hard physical work – shoveling, raking, weeding, lifting 40 lbs, etc.
Show some hustle and enthusiasm for getting stuff done! – while running really isn’t necessary, we confess to having little patience for dawdling. The “.do” extension for the program was intentional!
Be a keen observer and bring a love of learning. We value research, looking up new information and sharing what we learn.
Look for and communicate ideas to make the operation or particular task more efficient, safe, green, profitable and/or pleasurable (sense of humor is a plus).
Pay particular attention to safety.
Refrain from phone use at the shared meal table and limit phone use during the work hours to work related use only.

Commitment from interns:
Four to Six months on-farm commitment.
From 35 to 40 hours of farm work per week
Help preparing and cleaning up from shared meals.
Participation in the Farm Journal – this is a group journal where we all write one entry a week.
Participation in individual and group check ins.
Help us make this a success, with engagement, with honest feedback and adaptation!

Commitment from Midnight’s Farm:
Stipend starting at $300 per week
35 hours per week of on the farm training and responsibility
NOTE- you will receive a 1099-NEC tax form for your total stipend. No taxes will be withheld.
On the farm learning experience tailored to your interest. Most of our farm education will be experiential with reflection and discussion opportunities while working and at mealtimes.
Open environment for BIPOC applicants- (island culture is predominantly white, politically liberal, 10% Latinx)
Use of sauna, yoga studio, swimming pond, farm bikes
Access to farm library for additional reading on regenerative ag and soil health
Coverage for on the job injury through WA state L&I Small Farm Internship Program
On Farm Housing – The quarters are cozy and rustic. You will have a composting toilet and shower that is in a separate space.
Internet is available in all farm housing and in the Barn/Bakehouse area
Access to either your own and/or a shared kitchen space
Farm lunches made from scratch from farm bounty on workdays.
Unlimited seasonal vegetables and fruit from the market garden and orchard
Supply of staples such as rice, beans, flour, sugar, condiments, olive oil, etc.
Up to $30 per week of meat and eggs from the farm stand.
There is a loose network of farm interns and farm employees in the islands with informal gatherings on farms. These usually happen on Sundays and are a good way to see other operations and meet people.

Educational Opportunities: See in internship description

Skills Desired: If you want to engage with the compost operation experience running equipment, driving trucks or mechanical aptitude is a plus. Otherwise prior experience is not necessary.

Meals: Farm lunches made from scratch from farm bounty on workdays. Unlimited seasonal vegetables and fruit from the market garden and orchard Supply of staples such as rice, beans, flour, sugar, condiments, olive oil, etc. Up to $30 per week of meat and eggs from the farm stand.

Stipend: $300/week

Housing: Yes.

Preferred method of Contact: email