Dickinson College Farm – Leadership Apprenticeship


Contact information
Farm Address:
553 Park Drive
Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, 17007

Primary Contact: Dickinson College Farm
Primary Phone:
    Type:
Office
    Number: 7172451969
    Email: halpinj@dickinson.edu

Website: https://blogs.dickinson.edu/farm/apprentices/

Internship information
General Farm Description: Located in Boiling Springs, PA, Dickinson’s College Farm is an 80-acre, USDA-certified organic farm and a living laboratory where students can gain distinctive, hands-on learning experiences.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: March 2023
Internship Ends: Late November 2023
Number of Internship Available: 4
Application Deadline: Final deadline for the Dickinson College Farm 2023 Apprenticeship Program is February 24th, 2023 but Applications are reviewed as they are received.
Minimum Length of Stay: Duration of apprenticeship

Internship Details:

The Dickinson College Farm Leadership Training Apprenticeship offers a unique opportunity for full-time employment rooted in hands-on learning. This six-month farm-based position is geared toward building professional skill sets in project management, group leadership, technical know-how, and networking within the context of an educational production farm. The position runs from May until late November 2023 and includes a competitive hourly pay plus on-farm, off-grid housing, and amenities. Activities at the 90-acre farm include certified organic vegetable production (ten acres), grass-fed beef, lamb, and laying hens, renewable energy systems, composting, and regenerative agriculture and agroecology research.

As an apprentice, you will gain the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to advance toward leadership roles within this professional arena. In addition to farm-specific training, this experience is applicable to furthering academic studies and employment opportunities related to food systems, sustainability, and education.

More details on the 2023 Farm-Based Leadership Apprenticeship and an application can be found at


Educational Opportunities: The majority of farm apprenticeship training is hands-on, supplemented by educational sessions, field trips, and optional readings. During the summer months, apprentices will be part of a team made up of student employees, full-time farm staff, and fellow apprentices. Apprentices will be asked to take the lead on work assignments, as well as work as a team member. When classes resume in the fall, apprentices will take much more of a leadership role on the farm, leading students and volunteers on tasks and work projects. The goal of this program is to equip apprentices with the knowledge and skills to do their work well, and to help them progress in their roles as leaders. At times this will require the farm managers to provide respectful constructive feedback. We value open communication and request that applicants be receptive to the idea of receiving feedback in an effort to improve upon their work and overall experience. Communication happens in both directions – managers will work to develop a relationship of trust where apprentices feel comfortable expressing their needs and feelings pertaining to all happenings on the farm as well.

Skills Desired: Work Responsibilities – Vegetable Production focused track: The farm plants about ten acres of certified organic vegetables for sale through our CSA (co-op), the College dining hall, farm store, value added product line and donation to the food bank. Major activities under the veg track include seedling production in the greenhouses, planting, crop care (weeding, trellising, covering, irrigation, pest management), harvesting, produce wash and pack, food preservation, and pizza production at farmers market. Daily work for all veg apprentices will vary within the above activities depending on the season and the needs of the farm. The veg production team is larger than the livestock group – about ten people in summer and four to six in fall. Each apprentice will be assigned an area(s) of responsibility at the farm in addition to the day to day workload. These responsibilities are designed to give each apprentice “ownership” of a particular aspect of the farm operation. Some of the responsibilities require daily attention while others need only weekly oversight though continual attention to detail remains essential. Examples of focused areas of responsibility for veg track apprentices include irrigation, crew leaders/harvest leader, farmers’ market manager, machine operations, education assistant, foodservice events, and packing house assistant. Work Responsibilities – Livestock and Bioenergy focused track: The farm raises grass fed beef cattle (10-20 animals), grass fed sheep for lambs and wool (20-40 animals) and pastured laying hens for eggs (~40 hens). The sheep and cattle are certified grass-fed and Animal Welfare Approved reflecting our efforts at humane and sustainable management practices. The livestock area also overlaps with food waste management for the farm’s compost and bioenergy initiatives. Food waste from Dickinson campus and several local commercial entities is brought to the farm on a regular basis for conversion to soil improving compost and/or renewable energy through the farm’s biogas system. In 2023 the farm will construct a commercial food waste and manure digester to generate renewable electricity from these waste streams. Daily activities of the livestock and bioenergy apprentice will include feeding, watering, and moving animals, and assisting with food waste management. Regularly occurring activities will include animal handling, preventative veterinary care, care for acute health issues, fence construction and maintenance, washing eggs, packing meat orders, recording animal and pasture data, handling food waste, turning compost piles, and applying compost to fields. The livestock and bioenergy apprentice will also help with care, feeding and maintenance of the new waste to energy biodigester. The apprentice will be trained to operate tractors and loaders needed to accomplish their responsibilities. The livestock team is small, consisting of the livestock manager (Matt), livestock apprentice (you), and 1-2 student helpers. Applicants should be prepared to work alone or in small groups. Attention to detail, flexibility, communication skills and self-motivation are key to success in this role. Livestock also presents the opportunity (and need) for flexible scheduling – for example doing some evening work during lambing season or when animal health emergencies arise and sharing weekend animal care responsibilities. Hours worked outside of the normal weekday schedule described below will be compensated with time off (normally) or overtime (limited). Work Requirements: The basic “work and learn” day is from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday thru Friday, with one hour for lunch (times may adjust seasonally or to accommodate weather). Each Monday afternoon in the summer, apprentices join student employees for a farm meeting and educational program. On occasion, apprentices may be invited to lead an educational program. A separate meeting between apprentices and managers will occur each week to go over farm to-do lists, provide management training and discuss any other pertinent matters including team cohesion. Apprentices can expect to be exposed to ongoing experimental and investigative projects at the farm, ancient grain production, seed saving, renewable energy projects and innovative farm systems management. Apprentices may also choose to assist with and at times lead educational outreach events and public tours. Weekends and evenings: Some farm responsibilities occur on weekends or require work outside of the normal 7:30-4:30 M-F work week. These include daily livestock care, irrigation during the dry season, greenhouse management, farmers’ market, and food service events (Pizza on the Plaza, GATHER pop-up restaurant, etc.). All apprentices will be asked to share weekend responsibilities with the farm managers on a rotating basis. Weekend or evening work can be traded for time off during the normal work week to accommodate doctors’ appointments, long weekends or other personal needs. The farm has a small budget for overtime hours (paid at time and a half after 40 hours per week). Overtime and time-swaps must be pre-approved by the farm director.

Meals: No but food raised on the farm is up for grabs to our apprentices, including free produce and discounted access to retail items such as meat and eggs from the farm.

Stipend: Apprentices can expect to engage in a 40-hour work week and assist with evening and weekend chores, as needed. In return for their efforts, apprentices receive training activities and responsibilities that promote learning, benefits like free on-farm housing with free utilities and Wi-Fi, free access to farm-raised products such as vegetables, herbs, fruit, steep discounts on meat and eggs, plus a tiered hourly wage starting at $9/hour for the first three months and then increasing to $12/hour for the final three months of the apprenticeship. The mid-season increase in hourly wages reflects the expectation of and compensation for added farm responsibilities like project and team management.

Housing: Yes. In addition to earning an hourly pay wage, apprentices are provided housing in one of the farm’s yurts which are rustic but fully furnished. Apprentices will share a kitchen, common room, and bathroom facility. Food raised on the farm is up for grabs to our apprentices, including free produce and discounted access to retail items such as meat and eggs from the farm. The farm provides free wifi, utilities, and household necessities such as toilet paper and cleaning products.

Preferred method of Contact: email