Sustainable Seed Production Internship at Feral Farm with Rogue Farm Corps

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

Primary Contact: Rogue Farm Corps
Primary Phone:
    Number: 541-588-3550


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. Ruch evening market is just a 15 minute drive. 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%). We will also be attending a weekly evening market in Ruch, selling seed packets and plant starts. 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: mid- April to mid-May
Internship Ends: mid-October to mid-November
Number of Internship Available: 2 part-time, or 1 full-time
Application Deadline: Priority consideration 1/27/22, applications open until positions are filled
Minimum Length of Stay: 6-8 months

Internship Details:

Feral Farm is a participating host farm with Rogue Farm Corps’ Internship program. RFC’s Internship Program provides connections to existing farm operations for aspiring farmers who want to gain significant farming or ranching production experience and don’t have a lot of previous exposure. The Internship Program is an entry/intermediate-level, immersive program that combines hands-on training with skills-based education. No experience is required to apply, however some host farms do prefer applicants have some previous outdoor or physical work experience.

RFC Internship programs are based in two distinct geographic chapter locations in Oregon: Rogue Valley and Portland Metro.

Weekly hours and start/end dates vary by host farm (please see host farm descriptions for details). In addition to the on-farm training experience, participants engage in a series of farm tours, classes, and discussions (~3-5 events / month) focused on a broad array of sustainable agriculture and food system topics organized by Rogue Farm Corps (see a sample Internship Program events schedule here). Internship Program participants are exposed to farm knowledge, skills, and networks, through their experience with their host farm and Rogue Farm Corps.

Full season positions generally run spring through fall. Short season Internships run for 8-15 weeks and are perfect for students or others who want to dip their toe in into farming and attend the concurrent Internship classes, farm tours, and discussion events.

Applications are accepted on our website on a rolling basis until positions are filled, but early applications are considered first. Apply by January 27th, 2022 for priority consideration. RFC has limited tuition scholarships available for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, veteran, and low-income applicants.

RFC has developed COVID-19 safety protocols according to state and federal guidance and will adjust them as needed to protect the health and safety of our participants, staff, host farmers, and communities. In-person educational events are held outside with social distancing in place.

Rogue Farm Corps partners with dedicated mentor host farms and ranches that focus on sustainable, regenerative, ecological, and/or organic approaches in their production methods. Host farm enterprises vary by farm and include animal (meat, dairy, eggs, etc) and plant-based production (vegetables, herbs, fruit, seeds, etc). Host farms are commercial, small-to-mid scale operations marketing to their local and regional community via a range of sales channels including farmers market, CSA, wholesale, and more. RFC participants are exposed to various farm production and marketing systems via RFC’s farm tour events.

Rogue Farm Corps is committed to an ongoing learning process around privilege, power, inequality and systems of oppression. RFC has a goal of making our programs welcoming to, inclusive of, and accessible to communities who are under-represented as farm operators in Oregon, including women, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+ individuals, low-income individuals and immigrants. Our desire to create a more equitable food system is reflected in RFC’s programs and collaborations.

Learn more and apply:

Educational Opportunities: In addition to the on-farm training, interns will participate in the Rogue Farm Corps educational event series, with classes, farm tours, and discussion groups. On farm training includes: 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 roguing 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: attending farmers markets, 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! You should be able to be on your feet for 8-10 hours a day, squatting, kneeling, lifting 50 pounds repetitively, as well as other repetitive movements. We expect a full season commitment from everyone.

Meals: Edible seed crops, as available, eg melons, sqush, etc.

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.

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

Preferred method of Contact: email