Shakefork Community Farm

Contact information
Farm Address:
7914 State Hwy 36
Carlotta , California , 95528

Primary Contact: Melanie Cunningham
Secondary Contact: Kevin Cunningham

Primary Phone:
    Number: 707-215-4000

Secondary Phone

    Number: 707-498-3546



Internship information
General Farm Description: Shakefork Community Farm is situated on 85 acres in the Van Duzen River floodplain of far northern California. We're usually just beyond the reach of Humboldt County's coastal fog, in sunny Carlotta. We grow vegetables, berries and flowers on 6 acres for our 135-family CSA and three farmers' markets. We use holistic planned grazing to intensively manage sheep, cattle, laying hens, turkeys, and meat birds in an orchestrated dance designed to build soil and diversify our pastures. We train oxen and work the garden with both a tractor and oxen draft power. Certified Organic is not going far enough, in our minds. We strive beyond sustainable, beyond organic, to a regenerative agriculture determined to change the world one acre at a time. To that end, providing for our own fertility needs from the farm itself is a primary focus of our daily work. Our family dairy is a huge part of our fertility program, as are our three oxen teams. We are oxen-powered in more ways than one! We also strive to provide for most of our own needs from the farm, from lumber to compost, salad to potatoes, ghee to grass-finished lamb. We feed and are fed by a strong connection with our community. Feeding our family, our farm-ily, and our community the best food on the planet is the reason we farm. Our pastured poultry operation is a significant focus for us. We have 300 laying hens and raise up to 2000 meat birds a year, all on pasture. We do all of our slaughtering and butchering on-site from April through November and direct market whole broilers and a selection of cuts. We also raise Thanksgiving turkeys. Working with our poultry - from day old chicks to the roasted chicken on our communal lunch table - is an important part of what apprentices do on the farm. We use oxen draft power in the garden and for various other tasks around the farm, like logging and hauling supplies and feed. We have two working teams and a young pair of calves in early training. Shakefork apprentices with a strong interest in draft power will gain a strong foundation in appropriate use of draft power on a working farm and lots of hands on experience. Manure from our small dairy and oxen teams is essential to our on-farm composting program, which provides the fertility for our vegetable garden. We also provide for our own beef, pork, milk, and butter needs. We are a production farm and make our living entirely from the products we grow and sell. We value our seasonal, land-based agrarian lifestyle and the high quality, nutrient dense foods we eat.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: 4/1/2019
Internship Ends: 12/1/2019
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: ongoing for 2019
Minimum Length of Stay: The full season (35 weeks) preferred; other options possible.

Internship Details:

Our program is a hands-on, intensive training for future farmers, regenerative land stewards, and aspiring land-based entrepreneurs. We work closely with our oxen teams in every season and offer serious experience in draft power on a diversified farmstead. A full season commitment of 35 weeks provides the most well rounded experience, but shorter commitments are also possible. Applicants considering a shorter apprenticeship must be willing to camp for some of the mid-summer weeks. All apprentices can expect to work an average of 50 hours a week – less in April & November, more in the high summer months – and learn about every aspect of our diversified farm throughout the season. We are transparent about our farming journey and all aspects of our business and are eager to share what we’ve learned with you. All apprentices will become skillful in a wide range of livestock care, learn basic teamster skills, gain meaningful skills and training in many garden tasks, and be exposed to the core business principles and practices that make for a successful farm.

During the season you will:

Build livestock/pasture skills in these areas:

– Work closely with livestock including oxen teams, cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry.

– Move livestock fences.

– Move chicken tractors.

– Feed, water and care for livestock.

– Slaughter, butcher and package chicken for sale.

– Wash eggs.

Build garden/general skills in these areas:

– Sow seeds in prop house and up-pot when needed.

– Amend and prep beds for planting.

– Transplant and direct seed garden crops.

– Irrigate, weed, and generally care for crops to maturity.

– Trellis and prune high tunnel crops.

– Harvest, wash and pack produce for market or CSA.

– Pack CSA boxes.

– Communicate with customers and provide excellent customer service.

– Clean and organize farm facilities.

– Use and maintain hand tools and power equipment.

Educational Opportunities: The work at Shakefork Community Farm is incredibly diverse, and you can expect daily tasks to vary considerably from day to day and week to week throughout the season. Lively lunchtime discussions cover a range of topics, from the philosophical to the practical. Opportunities for group readings and outings to other area farms are available and encouraged, depending on the groups' interests. We have toured mushroom facility, commercial dairies, other CSA farms, and more.

Skills Desired: Required: Ability to complete heavy lifting tasks ergonomically; willingness to work on weekends and holidays as needed; effective communication skills; an ability and authentic desire to help customers; Drivers License and clean driving record; willingness to keep records and take notes; ability to hustle and multi-task; attention to detail; willingness to slaughter animals for meat. Preferred: Customer service experience; previous farm experience; experience using small tools and equipment; knowledge and awareness of current challenges and dysfunction of US and global food system. Competencies: - Food Values - Values high quality food and ingredients raised conscientiously; strives for physical and emotional health. - Teamwork - Contributes to building a positive team spirit; exhibits objectivity and openness to others; views; gives and welcomes feedback; able to build morale and group commitments to daily and seasonal farm goals and objectives. - Diversity - Shows respect and sensitivity for cultural differences; treats all members of the team with respect and fairness, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, age, race, and skill level. - Attendance / Punctuality - Is consistently at work on time; returns from breaks at arranged time; schedules time off well in advance. - Dependability - Follows instructions; responds to management direction; demonstrates a non-defensive learning style; takes responsibility for own actions; completes tasks on time or notifies appropriate person; demonstrates "finishiative" thoroughness in completing a project. - Oral Communication - Participates in meetings; listens and gets clarification; responds well to questions; checks in with management before and after a workday. - Written Communication - Able to read and interpret written information such as a daily to do list; records field notes and planting maps; keeps track of harvest notes and weights. - Professionalism - Reacts well under pressure; treats others with respect and consideration regardless of their status or position. - Motivation - Holds self to standard of excellence; self-starter. - Initiative - Volunteers readily; seeks increased responsibilities; asks for and offers help when needed. - Quality Control- Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; applies feedback to improve performance; monitors own work to ensure quality; maintains Shakefork Community Farm standards. "

Meals: We eat primarily from the foods that we grow on the farm and provide for almost all of our own meat, vegetable, dairy and fat needs. We encourage apprentices to do the same and truly embrace what it means to eat seasonally off the fat of the land. We share a hearty farm lunch Mondays through Fridays and apprentices participate in our communal lunch rotation, cooking for a group that often includes volunteers, employees, and visitors. Apprentices prepare their own breakfasts and dinners. We purchase ingredients not grown on the farm at our local Co-op or from other local farmers. Non-staples and processed foods must be purchased independently. Your enthusiasm for the kitchen arts and good food will serve you well here. The enjoyment of food is central to our vision of a sustainable farm life, so we make time to prepare good food, by hand, fresh from the farm, three meals a day. Apprentices are encouraged to use their cooking time to develop skills working with farm-based, nutrient-dense ingredients. We seasonally make kraut, pickles, stocks, sausage, jerky, bacon, butter and ghee, among other things. We are advocates of the Weston A. Price / ancestral diet, mostly gluten-free farm, and cannot accommodate vegetarians or vegans.

Stipend: Just one open position still available, as of February 20th, 2019. Apprentices start at a $100 weekly stipend. In addition, apprentices receive full room and board (high quality, farm raised ingredients; use of laundry facilities; access to landline; wireless internet, etc). Stipend increases are possible for committed apprentices showing aptitude and ability and are assessed at regular check-ins every couple of months. A full season apprentice typically receives $125-$150/week by mid-way through the season.

Housing: Apprentices each have their own 200 sq. ft. yome (a cross between a yurt and a dome: see or our website for details) for sleeping and personal space. One yome is insulated and equipped with a wood stove; the other two are tent-like and un-insulated. Solar power feeds one light and one car-charger type outlet per yome. We provide furnishings and a mattress or futon. Also available is a tiny cabin with 100 sq ft of floor space, a bed nook for a Queen sized mattress, full insulation and a wood stove. An outdoor communal kitchen space is equipped with a commercial sink, gas range, and fridge & freezer, as well as all the basic kitchen stuff, cast iron pots, stainless steel pans, baking pans, food processor, plates, bowls, knives, etc. Expect clean, simple, and rustic. Other amenities include a composting toilet, nice outdoor shower, laundry facilities, and satellite Internet (no video, TV, or streaming). Cell phone reception is spotty, but we have a landline for daytime use. A personal vehicle is a definite plus, and we strongly encourage all apprentices to bring a vehicle of their own.

Preferred method of Contact: Email