Warm Valley Farm

Contact information
Farm Address:
7483 Orcas Road
PO Box 484
Orcas, Washington, 98280

Primary Contact: Annie
Primary Phone:
    Number: 541 621-50963
    Email: warmvalleyfarms@gmail.com

Website: https://warmvalleyfarm.com

Internship information
General Farm Description: We steward a diverse 80 + acre farm with organic practice fruit and nut orchards, flowers, herbs, a market garden, poultry for eggs, sheep, pigs and equines on Orcas Island. WA. The farm has been in organic practices for the last 50+ years. There is a mix of 23+ agricultural acres, including five cultivated acres, with the remainder in forest. In addition, we are hosting OCPA (Orcas community Participatory Agriculture) - an educational program of hands-on-learning - teaching people how to grow their own food from April through October, from seed to harvest.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: April 15, 2024
Internship Ends: November 19, 2024
Number of Internship Available: 2 - 6 people (Couples are encouraged)
Application Deadline: When the positions are filled
Minimum Length of Stay: 7 months

Internship Details:

Warm Valley Farm 2024 Internship Program Outline

● Introduction
● Program Description
● Expectations, Responsibilities, and Obligations
● Curriculum and Enrichment

Warm Valley Farm is a small farm owned by Annie McIntyre and Joel Stewart on Orcas Island in San Juan County, Washington near the Orcas ferry landing. The 80 acre farm has a long history of agriculture. Following the passing of its elderly previous owners, ongoing infrastructure projects are transforming the workspaces and physical face of the farm. A commitment to organic practices, conservation of resources, food sovereignty, and community engagement underpins the farms economic goals.

In 2024 Warm Valley Farm will be focusing on seasonal market vegetables, cut flower, and fruit production, livestock management, farmstand sales, seeds, and twice weekly 3+hour Orcas Community Participatory Agriculture hands-on educational sessions. OCPA is an educational non-profit. Our interns will be considered “friends of the farm” (an $800 per person value) and will have the opportunity to learn and participate in the season-long program with other participants on the farm. Our crew will learn a wide skill-set from soil, to seed, to harvest, growing beautiful food and fruit. All additional hands-on learning will be with the farm owners with the curriculum below.

Program Description:
The intern/crew program at Warm Valley will consist of a crew of two to six interns, led by our Crew Leads Jolie and Adelaide, and farm owners Annie McIntyre and Joel Stewart. Daily farm work will be organized around a seasonal curriculum and the additional participation and education with OCPA, intended to provide interns/crew with an education in hard skills, information about current techniques in responsible agroecology, cultural enrichment, and nourishing food grown on the farm. Interns will gain insight into daily farm work, as well as broader topics of agriculture policy, marketing, community engagement, climate change, and farm system design in a regular rhythm of satisfying work, education, rest, and exploration.

Interns will assist with and take on responsibility in market garden vegetable, cut flower production, (seeding, weeding, harvesting, packaging, selling for both with the San Juan County Food Hub, as well as the farmstand.) Infrastructure maintenance in farm outbuildings, hoop houses, fencing, road maintenance, irrigation systems, orchard groundwork, harvesting, farmstand record keeping and sales, farm animal care (poultry, sheep, and pigs), composting, food preservation and more throughout the season.

Once a month field trips to neighboring farm projects will be led by OCPA leads, which will introduce interns to a diversity of farming practices on Orcas Island. Ongoing infrastructure projects will provide experience in irrigation systems, compost management, building, fencing, and marketing. Meals are not included but will be supplemented by seasonal produce, eggs, and a supply of basic staples such as rice, beans, flour, sugar, condiments, olive oil, etc.

Interns will have their own rustic living spaces, with shared outdoor shower, composting toilet, and an outdoor kitchen and gathering area. Interns are expected to arrive with current health insurance.

Expectations, Responsibilities, and Obligations:
Interns are expected to commit to a set timeframe between April 15th, and November 20, 2023, in which they will be present for farm work, OCPA, education, and other activities.

Our work week is Tuesday through Saturday. There will be exceptions due to haying and other seasonal tasks beyond our scheduling or weather control. Daily farm work will start (after breakfast) daily, unless otherwise scheduled, and finish by evening, (unless there is an emergency, or you have evening livestock chores).

Our Leads will outline the plan for work and do their best to connect it to a relevant module in the curriculum. Interns are expected to arrive on time for work. Lunch will entail a break of two hours, giving time to eat, rest, research, make phone calls, etc. Work will then resume for 3-4 hours. OCPA field days change throughout the season, but are held Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Interns are responsible for completing assigned tasks, which will be a combination of a supervised group or guided work and some independent unsupervised tasks after initial training, including but not limited to: seeding flats, direct seeding, weeding, irrigation, harvest, feed, cleaning, or care for livestock, or helping at the farmstand. Interns are expected to treat customers, livestock, OCPA participants, and members of the farm team with respect and kindness.

While we will provide a list of recommended items to have on hand, interns are expected to bring their own work gloves, clippers, bedding, and ample spending money for days off. Bicycle or automobile transportation around the island will be the intern’s responsibility. While a first-aid kit will be available, interns will bring their own personal care items and attend to their own needs while on the farm.

Curriculum and Enrichment:
The intern program at Warm Valley Farm will be coordinated by farm owners Annie McIntyre and Joel Stewart and our Leads, who will use various resources to create a rotating seasonal curriculum that will help farm interns/crew to move from mastery of physical daily farm tasks such as weeding, seeding, transplanting, harvesting and storing crops to a larger framework of holistic farm management and planning. In addition to daily learning, Interns will participate in Orcas Community Participatory Agriculture (an $800 Value) Interns will be encouraged to ask questions, take on independent work projects and explore other OCPA farms in the area through “Big Days” to gain experience, perspective, and hard skills.

Following the program, interns should be trained to find fieldwork on a farm, participate in an agricultural education program, assist in a community garden project or manage a personal garden and backyard livestock.

Approximate Curriculum Outline:

Orientation of the farmcamp area, forest, and fields of Warm Valley Farm
Island orientation of the local Ag community, library town, etc
OCPA Introduction and participation. OCPA will be three hours, 2 times a week hands-on education and fieldwork continuing for the entire season.
Infrastructure maintenance and construction basics, and seeding flats, livestock introduction and care

Tools of the trade (single and two-handed market garden tools, and how to use them)
Up potting starts, direct sowing seeds, and planting row crops. Seeds and diverse crop seeding techniques, seed saving, and plant breeding in theory
Pest and weed identification on the farm, and holistic management (rats and voles to thistles and scotch broom to click beetles and wireworms, etc)
Irrigation set up for the season
Care of farm animals (sheep, pigs, and poultry) basic vet skills, pests, and overall care.
Fruit thinning and its benefits
Greenhouse care and management, re-skinning, and ventilation.

Pasture management and rotational grazing (sheep, poultry)
Composting, compost tea, and foliar feeding
Seedling care and hardening off before planting out
Soil health, ecology and the role of carbon
Transplanting and diverse crop techniques of perennial herbs and annuals crops
Fence management, and deer
Marketing, Farmstand, and vending farm products
Cut flower production

Feed – island haying, and pastures
Mulch and dry season management
Harvest and storage of diverse crops
Seasonal crop rotation and succession
Garlic harvest, curing, and prep
Fall and overwintering crop seeding
Machinery maintenance- greasing, oil changes, etc. There will be limited opportunity to operate machinery.

Hazelnut and walnut harvest and preservation
Fruit crop pests and holistic management (both on tomatoes, and tree fruit crops)
Time management and farm planning
Harvest and food preservation (canning, dehydrating, fermenting, etc)

Co-ops, community-supported agriculture, climate change
Harvest and food preservation (pickles, Sauerkraut, tomato sauce etc)
Food preservation: canning, drying, fermentation
Cider Pressing and production
Farm Tour prep and participation
Fencing and drainage for overwintering use areas

October and November:
Seed saving and plant breeding in practice
Grape harvest and pressing
Cover crops and the nitrogen cycle
Sheep breeding – ram introduction to ewes
Fall and overwintering crop cycles
Garlic planting and cultivation
Hoop house clean up and winter cover crop prep and management
Perennial plant propagation: cuttings and division
Fall slaughter
Woodlot management
Preparing a winter sacrifice zone for livestock
Removing irrigation tapes and storage
Putting the farm to bed for the winter

Educational Opportunities: We are a farmland-host and site manager for OCPA (Orcas Community Participatory Agriculture). It is a hands-on educational program that teaches folks how to grow their food from soil to seed to harvest. Each participant takes home a share of the harvest. It is combined with other hands-on land skill classes. Our interns are included in the program. We are happy to teach what we know about market gardening, livestock, irrigation, pasture management, farmstand production, orchard and cider production, seed production, and farming's intersection with climate and sustainability.

Skills Desired: Previous farming and/or landscaping experience is preferred: with market gardening, orchard care, and livestock (poultry, sheep and pigs). Light carpentry, fencing, irrigation, greenhouse, farmstand, and CSA sales would be wonderful. Interns must have health insurance, a vehicle with insurance, and be able to comfortably lift 50 lbs and work in all weather. Interns must be committed to participating in farming in all its joys and hardships. Be task oriented, a strong collaborator, and be self directed.

Meals: No, but we provide seasonally available veggies, eggs and basic staples.

Stipend: Yes, depending on experience.

Housing: Yes, we have a sweet 20' converted short bus, a lovely rustic off grid cabin, and large canvas wall tents on site. We can accommodate your tiny home, or trailer depending on the size, or a private tent site. There is a communal outdoor camp kitchen, outdoor shower, and composting toilet. We also provide high speed internet access.

Preferred method of Contact: email