Free Union Grass Farm

Contact information
Farm Address:
3565 Ballards Mill Rd
Free Union, Virginia, 22940

Primary Contact: Joel
Secondary Contact: Lauren

Primary Phone:
    Number: 434-996-3984

Secondary Phone
    Number: 804-317-1695


Internship information
General Farm Description: Free Union Grass Farm is a holistic, diversified livestock operation, located in the beautifully scenic Albemarle County, Virginia, near Charlottesville. We believe in raising food that can help heal people and the land. The most accurate summary of our style of farming is "intense impact, intense rest." With the exception of the cold winter months, our livestock are never in one place for longer than a couple of days. We allow the animals to intensely impact a piece of ground heavily for a short time, then move them completely; they won't see that piece of ground again for several months, or even until the following year. The cows are moved every day during the season and about once a week when we feed hay in the winter. The poultry are moved to a completely new paddock every few days, and their portable coops, feeders, drinkers, and fences go with them. We gauge the animals' time in each paddock by the health of the stand, the weather, and the topography of that particular piece of land. We have been raising pastured broiler chickens and ducks, 100% grass-fed beef cattle, and forest-fed hogs for over 10 years. In the past few years, we have added pastured goose, lamb, and cut flowers to our products. We have also started feeding all of our poultry a Certified Organic feed. We are scaling some things back this year due to some changing circumstances. We have acquired a new land management gig next-door to us, which brings us extra income but also requires us to scale some things down on-farm to ensure we have sufficient time to give to the new spot. We will still be raising and processing chickens, ducks, and geese on-farm and managing a smaller herd of our own cows as well as a herd of 30+ head of cattle on the neighboring property. We will also still be raising hogs, but are currently working on minimizing our farrowing (piglet-birthing) operation. We are in our second year of a new cut-flower operation, and are hoping to continue to expand this enterprise.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: 4/1/2020
Internship Ends: 10/1/2020
Number of Internship Available: 1
Application Deadline: Open until filled
Minimum Length of Stay: 3 months

Internship Details:

INTERN/FARMHAND: Full-time, live-in farmhand. Schedule is six days per week. This internship-style position will teach you the ins and outs of working on a diversified livestock farm, from daily field care, planning, and rotation of four different animal enterprises, to sales, marketing, and business planning. Perfect for applicants who hope to start their own farm operation in the future.

Our farm crew is small, so the working environment is intimate, and though the chain of command is important to uphold and maintain, we also believe in creating friendships among our crew. We do not discriminate based on gender, race, sexuality, or belief systems. A salty sense of humor is preferred.

Educational Opportunities: We teach strong competency in daily care of rotation of cattle, broiler chickens, ducks, pigs, and geese. Farmhands are involved with all of our daily operations on the farm, extending into sales and marketing of the products we raise here. We teach the full scope of skills required to bring a sustainably raised product to market and sell it for a profit. No one on our farm works in just one area - we believe knowing how to do everything will leave you better equipped to start an operation of your own one day, should that be your interest.

Skills Desired: No experience required but successful applicants must be forward-thinking, positive, observant, and enjoy working with animals. We will give priority to resourceful problem solvers with strong organizational skills and an eye for aesthetics. Required: -Valid driver's license and your own vehicle (we live 25 minutes from town) -Ability to commit to at least 3 months, with preference given to a commitment of 6 months -Sturdy work shoes and waterproof boots -Ability to work long hours with some very early mornings -Ability to lift 50lbs -Ability to work in all weather conditions - Must have a smart phone - we communicate regularly using the Slack app and use our phones as Square registers at markets. We compensate for data usage. Preferred: -Omnivores -Dog and cat lover (we have 2 dogs and 4 cats on the property) -Some knowledge of sustainable, regenerative agriculture -Some familiarity with meat cuts / cooking methods -Some sales experience -Design skills -Project management skills

Meals: $150 monthly meat and veggie stipend. You cook your own meals, except for the occasional farm crew dinner.

Stipend: $1000 monthly stipend, with $150 monthly meat and veggie stipend. To incentivize a longer stay, for your learning benefit and to make your training worth it to us, we can offer a $1000 bonus upon completion of 6 months.

Housing: On-farm housing in studio apartment with private entrance. WiFi, laundry, and utilities included.

Preferred method of Contact: Email