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 up to three local farmers' markets. We use holistic planned grazing to intensively manage both beef & dairy cattle, laying hens, turkeys, and meat birds in an orchestrated dance designed to build soil and diversity in 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 beef. 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 a huge part of why we farm.

We are a production farm and make our living entirely from the products we grow and sell. During the growing season, farm life is fast paced, dynamic and very full. We value our seasonally based, land-based agrarian lifestyle and the high quality, nutrient dense foods we eat.

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 three working teams. Shakefork apprentices with a strong interest in draft power will gain a strong foundation in appropriate use of draft power in a production setting 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.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: 3/15/20
Internship Ends: 9/13/20
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: January 15, 2020
Minimum Length of Stay: 6 months (26 weeks)

Internship Details:

Our program is a hands-on, intensive training for future farmers, regenerative land stewards, and aspiring land-based entrepreneurs. Let us be clear: YOU WILL WORK. HARDER THAN YOU HAVE EVER WORKED BEFORE. Expect to work an average of 50 hours a week – less than 40 a week in the spring months, more than 50 a week in the high summer – and learn about every aspect of our diversified farm throughout the season. You 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.

We work closely with our oxen teams in every season and offer serious experience in draft power on a diversified farmstead. We are transparent about our farming journey and all aspects of our business and are eager to share what we’ve learned with you.

Livestock/Pasture skills:
• Work closely with livestock including oxen teams, cattle, pigs, and poultry.
• Move livestock fences.
• Move chicken tractors.
• Feed, water and care for livestock.
• Slaughter, butcher and package chicken for sale.
• Wash eggs.
Garden/general skills:
• 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 your interests and initiative. In recent years we have toured a 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. • 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. • Excellent stress and conflict management skills. 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. • Ability to drive manual transmission. Competencies: • Food Values - Values high quality food and ingredients raised conscientiously; strives for physical and emotional health. • Team work – Contributes to building a positive team spirit; avoids broodiness; 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 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; communicates openly when conflict arises. • 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. 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. Apprentices are encouraged to use their cooking time to develop skills working with farm-based, nutrient-dense ingredients. We make kraut, pickles, bone broth, sausage, jerky, bacon, butter and ghee, among other things, but do not generally take work time to do so. We are advocates of the Weston A. Price / ancestral diet, mostly gluten-free farm, and cannot accommodate vegetarians or vegans.

Stipend: $1,000 a month. Our application process includes the following: brief letter of introduction via email; completed application; phone interview; professional and personal reference; and a 3 day working interview. It's a time consuming process, and we appreciate VERY serious applicants only. Thank you for your consideration.

Housing: Apprentices stay in individual 200 sq. ft. yomes (a cross between a yurt and a dome – see or our website for details). They are beautiful structures, kind of like a giant tent, and fully furnished. Solar power feeds one light and one car-charger type outlet per yome. An outdoor communal kitchen space is equipped with a 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, outdoor shower and washing machine. 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