Feral Farm Apprentice

Contact information
Farm Address:
Rogue Farm Corps, Rogue Valley Chapter
Jacksonville, Oregon, 97530

Primary Contact: Kait Crowley
Primary Phone:
    Number: 541-588-3550
    Email: training@roguefarmcorps.org

Website: https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/host-farms/feral

Website: https://feralfarmseeds.com/

Internship information
General Farm Description: Feral Farm is spread across four isolation fields along a 5 mile stretch of Thompson Creek - a rural and fairly close knit community of homesteaders, farmers, and ranchers. Thompson Creek is located approximately halfway between the cities of Medford and Grants Pass. The home field is where I live as well as three other people including my landlord and his partner and another renter, and my house will be accessible during work hours to the participant. The other three fields do not have buildings except for one in which the landlord has opened her house for bathroom use. There are ample hiking trails to explore, rivers and creeks to swim in, proximity to Applegate Lake, and opportunities to connect with others in the farming community. We also have a pizza place just 4 miles down the road as well as a small music venue/lodge. The majority of the farm is in wholesale vegetable and flower seed production (70%), seed garlic for wholesale and direct local sale (15%), and an on-site honor system farm stand selling garden starts and seed packets (15%). Everything is certified organic. All fields are drip irrigated and cover cropped in winter. Straw mulch is used on many crops. We use a small tractor for bed prep, electric walk-behind and hand tools for weeding, and mostly small/hand scale tools for seed processing, though some will be mechanized. Overall, a wide variety of tools will be employed to grow and process a diversity of seed crops - between 50-100 varieties per season, including flowers and herbs and a full spectrum of vegetables and a small amount of heritage grains. There is a nice seasonal flow, with early springtime being heavily focused on greenhouse work, seeding and transplanting; late spring being focused on weeding and crop supports like mulching and trellising; summer begins seed crop harvest; and fall continues harvest and begins seed processing and cleaning. Lots of opportunities to learn new skills!

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: April
Internship Ends: October
Number of Internship Available: 2 positions, part-time (20-32 hrs/wk)
Application Deadline: Rolling basis until positions are filled by early-mid March
Minimum Length of Stay: 500 training hours (~3-4 months minimum)

Internship Details:

An Apprenticeship is part of Rogue Farm Corps’ beginning farmer training program. Hands-on field training at the Host Farm is complemented by a series of classes, farm tours, discussions, and networking events organized by Rogue Farm Corps.

Apprentices join other beginning farmers for an Educational Event Series facilitated by Rogue Farm Corps.
The full event series includes:
24 classes focused on foundational sustainable agriculture concepts, skills, and knowledge and the food system.
7-10 farm tours which showcase practical skills and individual farmers’ stories, as well as provide insight into diverse production and marketing systems.
3-5 discussion circles with topics including Food Justice / Food Sovereignty, and Next Steps for Beginning Farmers.

RFC strives to make all educational events inclusive and welcoming to people from all backgrounds and identities. Classes, tours, and discussions are led by Rogue Farm Corps staff, agricultural professionals, and expert farmers. Scholarships are available.

Apprenticeship applications are accepted on the Rogue Farm Corps website on a rolling basis until positions are filled (usually by early-mid March), but early applications are considered first. Approved applications are passed onto the host farmer. Feral Farm will decide which applicants to interview and offer placements to.

Rogue Farm Corps seeks to train an inclusive next generation of farmers and encourages applicants of all backgrounds and identities to apply.
Applications. https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/apprenticeship

Educational Opportunities: I will be working alongside the participant for the majority of the time, taking time to demonstrate each individual task as it arises. I am always available for feedback, and encourage questions. I embrace the idea of allowing greater independence on tasks that the participant enjoys or shows particular aptitude for - there is flexibility there. I’m happy to schedule regular check-ins and foster open communication. Early spring: greenhouse production of many types of plants for seed crops as well as farmstand/nursery plant production. Soil blocking, hand seeding, use of a germination chamber, potting on, and managing the flow of the farmstand. Mid to late spring: bed preparation, which will include tractor work (done by me), hand fertilizing, bed marking, direct seeding with an Earthway seeder, and hand transplanting from soil blocks. Setting up drip irrigation systems. String trimming and weeding with a walk-behind electric tilther, wheel hoe, and stirrup hoes. Plant protection (hoops and row cover), and early identifying and rogueing of off types in seed crops. Late spring to early summer: continued weeding, laying straw mulch, and setting up crop supports like trellises and, in some cases, isolation netting to prevent undesired crossing of seed crops. Summer: garlic harvest, proper curing, and cleaning for wholesale and local sales. We will likely do some dried flower production for making garlic braids as well. Early seed crop harvests begin in July and August, mostly dry-seeded crops which will be cured, threshed, winnowed, etc. Each crop is a different process. Late summer/early fall: later season seed crop harvest and processing, which includes many wet seeded crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash and cucumbers. Mechanical and hand processing, fermenting, decanting, and cleaning - again, each crop is a different process! This is also the time we finish clean garlic and pack large wholesale orders for shipping. Late fall: continued seed cleaning, packing and shipping. Throughout the season: Keeping the farmstand stocked and running, and completing internet orders of seed packets.

Skills Desired: I work best with people who love being outdoors and doing physical work in all weather, and who enjoy learning new things and thinking creatively about how to approach tasks. Flexibility and ability to go with the flow of work that is often weather-dependent and therefore somewhat unpredictable is important. Attention to detail is critical when it comes to maintaining varietal integrity of seed crops and garlic and vegetable starts, which is relevant through all parts of the season. Good communication and mutual respect - listening and asking questions as well as speaking up about any issues that arise, respecting each other's time (showing up on time, communicating scheduling needs), and also being attuned to your own physical needs. Previous farming or landscaping work is desirable but ultimately not as important as enthusiasm to learn!

Meals: No

Stipend: Minimum wage plus reimbursement of RFC tuition if/when season is completed, plant starts and seeds for any personal garden use (garden space not provided), any edible seed crops (eg, melon and squash flesh), garlic for personal use. I would prefer to meet prospective apprentices if possible to make sure we both feel like we would be a good fit. I have found paid working interviews to be a helpful way to go about this. If this isn’t possible I’m open to getting to know each other over the phone.

Housing: There is no housing on site at this time.

Preferred method of Contact: email