Good Cheer Food Bank and Thrift Stores

Contact information
Farm Address:
2812 Grimm Rd
Langley, -- , 98260

Primary Contact: Stephanie Turco
Secondary Contact: Carlee


Primary Phone:
    Type:
Cell
    Number: 3602216454ext5
    Email: garden@goodcheer.org

    Email: carlee@goodcheer.org

Website: https://goodcheergarden.wordpress.com

Website: http://goodcheer.org

Internship information
General Farm Description: Good Cheer Food Bank serves the South end of Whidbey. We are a choice-based food bank and focus on providing whole foods and fresh produce as much as possible. The food bank is chiefly funded by the revenues from two thrift stores. We are strongly supported by the local community and receive regular donations from local farms and backyard gardeners. We participate in the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Farm to Food Pantry Initiative and receive funds to purchase products directly from local farmers. Our garden program focuses on growing produce in the fall, winter and spring when donations are at their lowest. We cultivate 1.25 acres on 2 sites a short distance apart: our flagship garden in front of the food bank in 2009; and the Big ACRE on nearby unused school district property. We also grow for the SW school cafeterias, school garden programs, and share produce with other hunger-relief or social support organizations around the Island. We follow organic practices and transitioned to a low- to no-till system in 2020. Good Cheer employs 22 full- and part-time staff (and 2 Americorps volunteers). The garden team is composed of 4 individuals: the garden manager, Stephanie, garden associate, Carlee (a new position this year), and two garden apprentices, hired each year.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: 10/16/2021
Internship Ends: 10/31/2022
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: Sept. 15 for Americorps Position; Ongoing for Main Season Apprentice
Minimum Length of Stay: 6 months

Internship Details:

There are two open apprentice positions:

–An Americorps position: Starts October 16, 2021 (very little flexibility in this start date, contact us with questions) through August 31, 2022. Applicants MUST be 18-24 years old.

–A Main Season Apprentice: Starts March or April 2022 through September/October 2022. Previous experience on a farm is not necessary, but applicants must demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in our food system and a strong understanding of the physical nature of farming and the time commitment it requires.

Description:
Americorps members/Apprentices will be included in all aspects of farm management in order to fully understand the flexibility, forethought, and stamina a full season requires. They will work occasional (pre-scheduled) weekends covering basic duties like watering and opening and closing greenhouses. Work includes:
–Field Work – mostly hand powered, but we occasionally use a walk-behind tiller
–Starts Propagation, Direct Seeding, Transplanting, and Irrigation
–Harvesting, Washing, Packing – estimating and communicating with the Produce Manager
–Record Keeping – planting, labor, materials, harvest totals
–Farm Maintenance – weeding, mowing, and keeping a clean workplace
–Plant and Soil Care – pest and disease scouting, soil impvrovement, brewing compost tea, etc.
–Composting – a few hot compost piles and worm bins
Americorps members/Apprentices will work in the food bank and donation center to better understand how our organization functions and to get to know the community. Other aspects of nonprofit management:
–Volunteer Coordination and Recruitment – individuals, service groups, work parties
–Outreach – social media, writing blog posts, connecting with food bank shoppers, site interpretation
–Community Engagement and Events

To Apply:
Americorps members must eventually apply through the MyAmericorps portal at https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?fromSearch=true&id=104900
However it is a very difficult system and we don’t want it to be a barrier to someone applying. If you are struggling, follow the instructions for the Main Season Apprentice

Main Season Apprentice:
Please submit answers to the following questions with your application. Also include 1) a short personal summary, 2) outline of work experience or resume , 3) and contact information for three references.

1. Why do you want to farm, and what has led you to apply for this apprenticeship? If you do not have one full season of farming experience, please also answer: what transferable experiences and skills do you have that will help you learn and excel during the apprenticeship?

2. Your education/professional development will primarily be through on-the-job training, classes, and discussions. What is something related to agriculture that you are interested in learning more about?

3. Farming is physically hard, requiring both strength and stamina. What is the hardest work, both physical and mental, you’ve done?

4. Do you have a car? Can you drive a manual transmission (this is not a prerequisite, but would allow you to drive the farm truck on farm errands)? If you do not have a car, what is your preferred method of transportation?

Applications for the Americorps position will be reviewed on a rolling basis until September 15, 2021. Hiring/paperwork will be done by October 1 (this is a mandatory deadline).

Applications for the Main Season Apprentice are due by December 20, 2021. Applications will be reviewed as they come in but we don’t expect to do the majority of this hiring work until after the new year.


Educational Opportunities: In accordance with the Washington State Farm Internship Project, the program will include lessons, trainings, and supplemental experiences to explore the theoretical aspects of farming that are equally important to a farmer’s development. Classes and trainings will be led by the Garden Manager or members of the Organic Farm School, the School Garden Program, or South Whidbey Tilth, WSU Extension, and Whidbey Island Growers Association. Some of these will take place outside of the regular work day. Additionally, apprentices will spend time on their own preparing for group discussions. This includes reading books and articles, listening to podcasts, watching short videos, and paying attention to the news surrounding agriculture. Apprentices are encouraged to pick a special project and will be given time during the work week to pursue areas of interest.

Skills Desired: Some previous gardening or farming experience would be preferred for the Americorps member, but it does not have to be an entire season on a farm. We are looking for a capable person who has the physical and mental strength to perform hard, manual labor outdoors in all weather conditions, is familiar with the physical demands of farming, and understands that farming is not a typical 9-to-5 career. Someone who takes initiative, and has a capacity for independent learning; is interested in connecting with the community. A good team member who starts each workday present and ready to work. As a nonprofit, we rely on volunteers so expect to be around people more than on a typical farm.

Meals: Apprentices have access to food from the food bank and produce from gardens. Lunch and snacks are available every day at the food bank.

Stipend: --Americorps position: $2,328/month stipend, student loan forbearance, basic health insurance, childcare (if applicable), and a $6,345 education award upon successful completion. --Main Season Apprentice: TBD monthly stipend, housing, (typically in the form of a homestay: at a minimum, apprentices will have a private room in a shared house with access to shared living spaces), food from the gardens and the food bank, paid time off, and a medical stipend.

Housing: We will help the Americorps member find affordable housing on the island. Housing for the Main Season Apprentice is included, typically in the form of a homestay; at a minimum apprentices will have a private room and access to shared living spaces. (A note to applicants with pets: none of our current homestay hosts allow pets. You are welcome to apply, but understand that you will be responsible for finding your own housing. Please clearly state in your application if you have pets and that you understand this limitation. This does not apply to the Americorps member.)

Preferred method of Contact: email