Grassroots Farm & Dairy

Contact information
Farm Address:
538 Graham Rd
Marshall, North Carolina, 28753

Primary Contact: Andrea Van Gunst
Secondary Contact: Tim Gallaugher

Primary Phone:
    Number: 828.545.9202

Secondary Phone
    Number: 828.545.4619



Internship information
General Farm Description: We run a small-scale Grade A sheep dairy just outside Marshall and we currently produce and sell raw sheep milk, Grade A yogurt, fresh cheeses, lamb, sheepskins and wool products. We sell at three weekly tailgate markets in Asheville, Brevard and Black Mountain we also sell raw milk through a herdshare program for on-farm and in town pick ups. We milk 50 ewes twice a day from March 15th to October 1st. In the spring, we have around 100 lambs on the farm: we keep replacement ewe lambs and a small flock of ram lambs to raise out for fall butcher from this group. We intensively graze our milking flock and our market lamb flock and we use whole grain non-GMO feed to supplement their diet in the milking season. We do not use pesticides or herbicides on the farm. We are a small team and we (the farm owners) also juggle 2 small kids and 1 off-farm job. That said, we are always ready to stop and answer questions, we are very transparent about all parts of the farm and we want you to feel comfortable asking us any questions about how things run. We are a relatively new farm (this will be our 6th season in production) and we are still expanding so there are inefficiencies and a lot of figuring things out on the fly. Your patience with this process and your ability to communicate openly about what works and what doesn’t is essential and very helpful.

CRAFT Member Farm? Yes

Internship Starts: Immediately
Internship Ends: November 1st with a chance to extend
Number of Internship Available: 1
Application Deadline: none
Minimum Length of Stay: 5 months

Internship Details:

We are looking to hire one more person for the 2023 season. This position would start immediately and run through October with the option to stay into the winter if it’s a really good fit. The hours vary across the seasons: April – October you can expect to work about 40 hours / week. November – February the hours will be closer to 20 hours / week. We aim to give workers a full understanding of what it takes to run a small scale grass-based sheep dairy. The work is made up of milking shifts, running tailgate markets, help in the milk kitchen and help grazing the flocks. Other tasks include morning and evening chores, flock health checks, weed eating and light construction.

We milk twice a day at 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. from late March through early October when we drop to 1x / day milking. Milking requires a lot of attention to detail, responsibility to a schedule and willingness to find value in repetitive work – please apply only if you’re up for this. We move the flocks with our Border Collie – we’ll train you to work with him to move the flock everyday for milking. You are also responsible for running 1-2 tailgate markets / week (Tuesday afternoon or Saturday a.m.)on your own. Market requires you to be super personable, on-time and fluent in all aspects of the farm. You need to be good at record keeping and math as well. Work in the milk kitchen requires a high level of detail, quality control and ability to follow very set steps. As we are a Grade A dairy, there are many protocols that need to be carefully followed. We intensively graze our flocks so we work with a lot of temporary netting – there is a lot of hiking and hauling fences and resetting grazing blocks each week.

Work on a dairy is quite different from work on a vegetable operation. We very rarely have “crew days” where everyone works together. Quite often you will be working by yourself or with one other person, carrying out tasks that can be seen as quite repetitive. You need to be sure that you both enjoy working alone and that you can stay focused and productive while working alone. Ideally you find a lot of value in being outside, being with animals and having quiet time.

We give you 2 days off / week but in the busy part of the year these days are not consecutive. You get 1 full week vacation time that is paid, you can split this up or take it all at once but please not during March – May! Please be ready and willing to work weekends.

Educational Opportunities: We are an active member of the CRAFT program and we support our workers in being able to participate in all aspects of this program. We are well connected in the local farming community and are happy to connect workers with any other farms in the area should they wish to learn more about other farm enterprises.

Skills Desired: Our ideal candidate would have dairy experience (doesn't have to be with sheep) and market experience. This position is also very strenuous on certain days and we work in all types of weather so it is important that you love to be outside and that you have a great attitude about hard work.

Meals: We do not provide meals.

Stipend: First year: We pay a $1,000 / month. This position also comes with housing (valued at $450 / month), utilities (we pay up to $50 / month) and farm food (you’re given 1 dozen eggs, 2 gallons raw milk, 2 quarts yogurt and 1 type of cheese each week. When we have lamb it can be purchased at a 15% discount). Second year: We pay a $1,200 / month. Housing, utilities (up to $50 / month) and food still included.

Housing: We have a large RV and a 40' skoolie. Both of these living spaces are on flat land by the creek with a separate driveway from our house. Both have AC units and the RV has a wood-burning stove to keep it cozy in the winter. Both have large outside living spaces as well and there are established communal garden beds if you’re interested to grow your own veggies. There is wifi in both of these dwellings and there is a shared washer/dryer up at the barn. The farm is on a small dead-end road and we’re all very friendly social folk. We have gatherings through the summer and we all rely on one another for help. The town of Marshall is about 15 minutes away and Hot Springs and Asheville are both 30 minutes away. You will best enjoy your time here if you have your own car.

Preferred method of Contact: email or phone