Chickadee Farm – Organic Vegetable Seed Farm

Contact information
Farm Address:
Foss Rd
Talent, Oregon, 97540

Primary Contact: Sebastian Aguilar
Primary Phone:
    Number: 541-301-9657


Internship information
General Farm Description: Chickadee Farm is a small certified organic family farm specializing in high quality vegetable, herb and flower seed grown using organic methods. Located in Talent, Oregon, Chickadee Farm is owned and managed by Kelly Gelino and Sebastian Aguilar who have been farming since 1997 and have trained many new farmers along the way. We take our role in the apprenticeship model seriously and we dedicate ourselves to being valuable educators and mentors for our apprentices. Our farm is 20 acres spread over three fields of which 8 acres are cropped, 8 are cover-cropped and the rest is in pasture. We grow open-pollinated vegetable seed for several national seed companies of 20+ crops including tomato, pepper, lettuce, brassica, melon, flowers and many more. Our farming style is small-scale intensive using tractors for tillage and cultivation. Our farm goals include enhancing the farm's ecology while making the farm efficient and profitable and doing all this while having a good time!

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: March 2021
Internship Ends: November 2021
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: until filled
Minimum Length of Stay: full season

Internship Details:

Our internship model is a hybrid apprentice/employee model where there is an incremental progression from apprentice to full employee over the course of the season. Participants start the season as an apprentice receiving a stipend, transition to part-time employees in mid-June and by the end of August are full-time employees until the season ends in mid-November.
We believe this model encourages a strong initial learning experience that naturally transitions into a full immersion into the work and management of the farm.
Our hope and goal for apprentices and employees is to continually help them develop their understanding of, and practical skills in, organic farming- in the hopes that they both feel confident working on all aspects of our farm operation as well as be able to realistically plan and develop their own future farm, if that is their goal.
We do several things to accomplish this. During work hours, in-field demonstrations and discussions for each new task ensure that apprentices understand the goals, strategies, factors, and potential challenges of each farm activity. Having everyone on the farm feel confident and adept in accomplishing each farm task efficiently and successfully is very important. We also take weekly farm walks where we take the time to observe the changes happening in the fields, assess the needs of the farm and discuss our plan for the week. We also, for the first half of the season, teach a weekly class where we discuss the concepts that guide our practical work. Classes cover a wide range of farm production and farm business topics, including soil management, crop production strategies, irrigation design and management, crop planning, record keeping and much more. We can also help them develop a personal business plan that they can use to map out their own future farm business if desired.
In exchange for our efforts to train and educate, we expect apprentices to be passionate about farming and dedicate themselves to working hard towards the farm’s success, learning as much as possible and contributing to creating a positive farm atmosphere.

Educational Opportunities: We have many years of educator experience and have trained 48+ apprentices over the years. Many of them return for a second year and many of them have started their own farms. For three years, Sebastian was the lead instructor and farm manager at the Organic Farm School, an 8-month new farmer training program located in WA state and he continues to teach through OSU Extension. Those who are interested can also sign up for the Organic Seed Alliance /MESA seed training program and we will facilitate that opportunity.

Skills Desired: As this is an advanced apprenticeship that becomes full employment, we give priority to applicants who have some farming experience though experience is not required. The most important qualifications are a passion for learning, a dedication to working hard, good social skills and a positive attitude.

Meals: Apprentices live independently and generally cook for themselves. Farm produce and personal garden space is available.

Stipend: Apprentices receive a living stipend in addition to housing, education and farm produce and are covered by workman's comp. Stipends start at $520/mo. Once they become part-time employees in mid-June, they earn $1040/mo and when they become full-employees at the end of August, they earn $2060/mo.

Housing: We have a dome and a barn loft apartment for personal space/bedrooms, and a separate shared kitchen cabin and bathroom/laundry facilities in the main house.

Preferred method of Contact: email, text or phone