Last Updated On: enero 9th, 2020 at 02:13PM MST
Contact informationFarm Address:
570 E Main Street
Denmark, Maine, 04022
Primary Contact: BrennaMae Thomas-Googins
Secondary Contact: Brandon McKenney
Internship informationGeneral Farm Description: Patch Farm is a highly diversified farm. Our operations include: Crop Production: This year there will be 1 acre of annual vegetable production. We have three high tunnels in which we farm year round. Along with the high tunnels, our outdoor fields are no-till, using a combination of tarping, cover cropping, intensive management, heavy-compost, broadforking and layer mulching. We have a 1.5 acre field that will not be in production crops for 2020, but will be heavily cover-cropped and prepped for 2021. We have three culinary and medicinal herb gardens, raspberries, rhubarb, asparagus and a smattering of fruit trees which amount to around 1 acre of cropping. We use reusable landscape cloth instead of black plastic, minimally irrigate our lands and start our own seedlings. We also dabble in bio-dynamics. Animal Production: Year-round we run a flock of roughly 300 laying hens who seasonally rotate around our pasture in movable chicken coops. In addition to the layers, we raise around 600 broilers and roughly 40 turkeys whom also rotate our pastures. All of our poultry is certified organic. In a mix of pasture/forest rotation, we run anywhere from 20-30 heritage breed non-certified-organic hogs, whom are born here on the farm as we have one boar and two sows. For house production, we have a small herd of dairy goats who provide ample milk, aid in pasture management and entertainment. There are also several bee hives that we tend throughout the season. Marketing: We market our products through a small CSA program, two farmers’ markets, restaurant sales and a small roadside farm stand. Patch Farm is a family farm: Brandon and BrennaMae owner/farmers, Nancy (mother/mother-in-love) bee-keeper and herb tender, Ainsley, 6-year old daughter, tomato harvester and mayhem director and Finnian, our 1-year old son and general merry-maker. Our children work alongside us and those who work with us.
CRAFT Member Farm? No
Internship Starts: April 2020
Internship Ends: November 2020, or beyond
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: June 2020
Minimum Length of Stay: 4 months
We are looking to fill two apprenticeships. Both of our apprentices will help with daily vegetable tasks and animal chores, our homesteading tasks (cooking and preservation of food, farm and land maintenance), all farm tasks like irrigation, transplanting and moving animals. If the right individual comes along, we can tailor tasks more towards animals or vegetable work, depending on interests.
– Setting up fencing systems
– Moving fencing/netting
– Building/fixing any infrastructure
– Tending to young’ns (goat kids, piglets, chicks, etc.)
– Milking, egg cleaning
– Moving fencing/netting
– Mucking out goat pens (every 2 weeks or so)
– Critical daily tasks (water, feed, collecting eggs, checking in, etc.)
– Milking, egg cleaning
– Moving fencing/netting (are you sensing a theme here?)
– Bringing animals to the butcher
– Putting up hay for winter
– Prepping animals for winter
– Milking, egg cleaning (the pattern continues!)
– Daily chores (think: the pattern continues)
– Harvest and sales data review
– Annual animal planning
Apprentices will have the opportunity to learn and take some leadership in basically every part of our vegetable operation from seeding, transplanting and weeding to harvesting and processing along with selling at farmers’ markets.
– Greenhouse work (seeding, watering, up-potting, etc.)
– Field prep work (landscape cloth, mulching, laying compost, irrigation)
– Direct seeding some crops
– Perennial crop maintenance (pruning, weeding, etc)
– Transplanting seedlings & direct seeding
– Help pack/attend farmers’ markets, wholesale, etc.
– Harvesting, washing and packing of vegetables for sale
– Annual crop maintenance (trellising, pruning, weeding)
– Putting fields into cover crops
– Winter root harvest, processing and storage
– Planting next year’s garlic crop
– General clean up from the season and tarping
Winter (if applicable):
– Greenhouse greens harvesting
– Field maps, field planning
– Seed inventory and ordering
– Harvest / Sales data review
It is up to you as the applicant to let us know where your specific interests and areas of learnin’ you’d like to focus on!
You will normally work a 5.5 day week. We generally start working an hour after sunrise and work until early evening – roughly 6 AM- 5 PM (our un-paid WWOOFers work 7AM-1PM). We are open to accommodating long weekends or a brief vacation, barring that we have advanced notice – farming is hard physically and sometimes mentally, and we all have to have each others backs (in the form of a vacay!) from time to time. As far as physical demands, we will never ask you to do something you’re not physically capable of, and will work with you on proper lifting/body mechanics if you are initially uncomfortable performing a new physically demanding task.
You will be expected to help out with household chores, sweeping and cleaning your room and common area, and help in the kitchen: cooking one night a week, cleaning up after dinner, sweeping and removing house compost. While we will never ask you to babysit our children, if they ask to hang out with you during work hours (and you are comfortable with that) they might end up working with you, and only you.
While we often work side-by-side with our apprentices and WWOOFers, our apprentices, once trained, will be expected to do some tasks alone (or in management of WWOOFers) such as: harvesting, weeding, trellising, tending animals and post-harvest handling of product. We generally work as a full crew in the mornings and often split into solo tasks in the afternoon. Our apprentices must be able to work alone as we farmers often find ourselves busy with office work, obligations off-farm or working full-time as parents.
Educational Opportunities: We are into hands-on, learn-as-you-go teaching. Part of your farming time will be spent with at least one of us, but there will often be times (especially as the season progresses) that we may have you doing tasks by yourself, or leading WWOOFers who may be at our farm. We have a fairly extensive library of farming books for you to access and we’re more than willing to take the time to have discussions about anything you’re interested in. Depending on your learning style, we can also have sit-down teaching sessions if that works better for you. Basically, we’re flexible and teaching is a big focus of how we operate with apprentices and WWOOFers. We find most individuals find success in learning when they ask questions and ask for opportunities – for while we farmers like to teach, we aren’t mind readers and won’t necessarily teach one what they are looking for unless they ask (i.e: crop rotation, our way of mulching, specific medicinal qualities of culinary herbs, under-water basket weaving etc…) and we hope all apprentices take part and responsibility for their learning process. Additionally, we will provide you with time to attend all of MOFGA’s Farm Training gatherings, which take place across the state.
Skills Desired: A driver's license is preferable (driving market truck) Ability to lift 50 pounds (we got grain bags on this farm!) An understanding of the ebbs and flows of family life Possess a responsibility for their own learning; able to ask questions, be self motivated and curious Patience: farming with animals and children requires an even keel, understanding and an uncanny ability to stop, take a deep breath, and reassess. Flexibility: physically and mentally. Farming with diversity means even scheduled tasks can be changed on the fly. The ability to work in all kinds of weather: heat, sun, rain, cold. This means being prepared physically with sunscreen, proper clothing and water, but also being mentally prepared to work in less than ideal conditions.
Meals: We’re not looking for someone to do all of our chores, but as we all live together, you will be asked to chip in your fair share of the cooking (one dinner a week) and cleaning (of your space, kitchen and apprentice common space). We eat our own meat, but we have both been vegetarians for long periods of our lives, and are willing to accommodate a vegetarian diet. Breakfast is on your own, lunches are eaten together (leftovers from dinner the night before) and dinner we all eat together a big tasty meal. Legal libations (byo) are okay in moderation, but we are a 100% tobacco free household and property.
Stipend: We pay $500-700 a month depending on experience and length of stay commitment. Room and board is included. We farm first for ourselves, so unless noted, all farm products are grown first for the entire household to eat and enjoy.
Housing: Our farmhouse is set up so that the side of the house apprentices and WWOOFers will be living in essentially functions as its own house. It has everything except a kitchen, which is shared with the main house. We live in the main part of the house with our kiddos. There is one cat (TK) that meanders and sleeps about the entire household… that, naturally, she thinks she owns.
Preferred method of Contact: e-mail