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Tooley's Trees
Truchas, NM 87578

Contact: Monica Pless, office extension 5 pound

Phone: 505-820-2544

Email: monica@quiviracoalition.org, monica@quiviracoalition.org

Website: http://www.quiviracoalition.org/newagrarian, http://www.quiviracoalition.org/tooleys

Last Updated: 10-27-2017

General Description: Tooley's Trees is a family-run, ten-acre tree nursery located in Truchas, New Mexico at almost 8,000 feet elevation, approximately forty miles from Santa Fe and forty miles from Taos. Gordon Tooley and Margaret Yancey, business owners and operators, grow 3000 to 6000 drought tolerant fruit and conifer trees and shrubs in fabric root bags, on drip irrigation, using holistic growing practices that result in healthier plants and soils, higher water quality, and increased beneficial insect populations.

Gordon and Margaret grow many heirloom and uncommon varieties of grafted apples, apricots, plums, pears and cherries grafted on rootstocks carefully selected to match climate and soil types in Northern New Mexico. They believe in selling small caliper trees with well-developed root systems accomplished, in part, through the fabric root bags which allow development of a fibrous root structure. Smaller caliper trees establish more quickly with less transplant shock, and grow more vigorously in difficult sites than large caliper trees.

They started the farm from scratch in 1991 on an owner-financed property, clearing juniper and sage acre by acre to create what today is Tooley's Trees. In the beginning, Gordon and Margaret both worked one or more off farm jobs to pay for the land, develop the infrastructure, build and pay for their home, and develop a wide range of plants for sale. With a goal of "no bare ground," Gordon and Margaret emphasize the importance of cover crops: both annual and perennial grasses and forbs to protect and add nutrients to the soil, and provide habitat for beneficial insects. In addition to the nursery, they have built a Keyline Plow and hire out with tractor and plow to other farms and ranches, and they offer regular workshops and classes on holistic orchard management and permaculture practices.

Their philosophy focuses on reducing impact on the planet and improving land health and resilience. When they disturb a site, it is for the purpose of bringing it out of stasis and improving its ability to hold water and therefore sustain life in soil, plants, wildlife, and humans alike.

Internship Starts: March 12, 2018
Internship Ends: November 12, 2018
Number of Interns: 1
App Deadline: December 1, 2017
Minimum Length of Stay: Eight months

Meals: The apprentice is responsible for taking care of his or her own food budget, but Tooley's Trees will provide a small additional monthly stipend for food. Additionally, the apprentice will be expected to put time into the home garden and will in turn have full access to garden produce.

Skills Desired: Enthusiasm and a sincere commitment to regenerative agriculture and land stewardship are more important than experience, though experience with trees and/or farm work is a plus.

Gordon and Margaret expect the apprentice to learn much over the course of his or her time at the nursery. An apprentice will ideally show up with the following on day one:
Willingness and ability to follow directions
Ability to work well as part of a team
Enthusiasm about plants
Curiosity and enthusiasm to learn
Courtesy and honesty
Ability to be prompt
Efficient and energetic work ethic with a willingness to learn safe body mechanics
Attention to detail
Willingness and preparedness to work in all weather conditions
Care and appreciation for tools and equipment protocols

Educational Opportunities: The New Agrarian Program complements hands-on education on the ground with an educational webinar series offered through Holistic Management International focused on regenerative agriculture, and including topics such as soil ecology and biological monitoring, land management principles, business planning and financial management. Apprentices at all NAP locations will join in for a weekly, live webinar. In addition, NAP apprentices will attend a 2-day spring orientation and the annual 3-day Quivira Conference, held in Albuquerque, NM each November. In addition to the conference, the apprentice may have opportunities to participate in Quivira Land & Water restoration workshops, and to visit other NAP apprenticeship locations. Apprentices are also required to write two reports during their apprenticeship; these reports will go through the NAP Coordinator at Quivira, and be posted on the Quivira website.

Stipend: The monthly stipend is determined each year, based on available funding; it is typically around $700 take-home pay. This is paid at the end of each month.

Housing: The NAP apprentice will live in a thirty-foot Airstream trailer, located on the farm. It has a bedroom and a futon couch that unfolds into a second bed, a fully functional kitchen, electricity, heat, a humanure composting toilet and a shower. Internet service can be accessed in Margaret and Gordon's home.

Preferred method Of Contact: Email with questions, apply online at website

Internship Details: This holistic orchard management apprenticeship is an eight-month, professional training opportunity targeted at beginning agrarians committed to a life and career at the intersection of conservation and regenerative agriculture. The apprenticeship includes hands-on experience in all aspects of running a successful tree nursery, including the following:

Basic soil science geared toward healthy, productive soils and high-yielding plants
Recognizing the difference between beneficial plants and weeds, and between insects and pests
Planting bareroot trees in fabric root bags
Weed control strategies be forewarned, we do a ton of hand weeding!
Bench and bud grafting
Tree pruning
Tree fruit production, processing and marketing
Nursery crop production, and marketing
Drip irrigation installation and maintenance
Making, processing and utilizing compost
Healthy physical labor employing efficient and safe body mechanics
Basic tractor driving skills, including backing a trailer
Basic building skills which might include building high tunnels, reapplying poly to high tunnels, building top-bar beehives, building sheds,fencing
Correct use of products to manage disease, weed and insect control in both "conventional" and "organic" farming, with an understanding of why certain practices are used and why certain practices are either harmful or helpful
A plethora of other skills tied to farming and orchard management
Planting, maintaining (and eating from!) a home vegetable garden
Keyline Plow design and implementation.
Top bar beekeeping
Working directly with customers who may need a lot of help deciding which trees to buy

This is a full-time, intensive education and professional training program, forty-five to fifty hours a week, sometimes more and sometimes less. One of the joys as well as the challenges of farming is living and working with the rhythm of the seasons, and the work schedule follows the demands of season, weather, and nursery needs.

Tooley's Trees is open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from late March through early November The apprentice will be assisting customers on those days, and getting time off on Monday, with the rest of the week focused on a variety of tasks on the tree farm.

A typical season on Tooley's Trees includes the following activities:
March-April - Bench grafting
greenhouse work
digging stock in in-ground fabric root bags
holistic orchard spraying as outlined in Michael Phillips' book "The Holistic Orchard"
planting bareroot stock in fabric root bags
pruning trees, starting the vegetable garden

April-Nov - Drip irrigation set-up, maintenance and monitoring. Understanding the irrigation system is imperative: this one skill alone will make a huge difference to you if you choose to continue in agriculture anywhere in the southwest
moving stock in above-ground fabric root bags
planting home garden
selling stock to wholesale and retail customers
assisting with deliveries in one hundred-mile radius of Truchas
hand-weeding and mulching
insect, disease and plant health monitoring
maintaining (and eating from!!) home garden
assisting with keyline plow projects
fruit harvesting and processing
summer pruning
budding and propagation methods

A number of other activities may be incorporated into the apprentice schedule, depending on interests: tending to the beehives, additional work in the vegetable garden, infrastructure maintenance, research, keyline plow work.

Our busiest time of year is April and May when we are grafting, planting in fabric root bags, pruning, selling trees to the public, starting the vegetable garden. Apprentices will generally work Tuesday through Sunday. Tuesday's, during slower times in the season will be a day for self-directed study and work on the capstone project. Typically, Gordon and Margaret work alongside the apprentice. As he or she gains skill and experience, he or she will do certain tasks independently.

Spring and fall tend to be the busiest times at Tooley's Trees. August tends to be a bit mellower and is the best time for apprentices to plan visits with family and friends, plan trips, and schedule educational opportunities. The farm gets busy again in the fall with at-times intensive tree sales in September and October. Apprentices will wrap up the season with final projects in October and November, ending just in time for the Quivira Coalition conference in mid-November.

Time off: Apprentices will typically get Monday off. Our work pattern follows that of nature, when everything is busy and producing and growing, we do the same. When nature begins to slow down, we also slow down. Apprentices often have opportunities to take additional time off in August to visit family or attend a class or workshop, when the farm schedule can more easily accommodate this time away.

Visitors: Northern New Mexico has a large tourist draw. As a temporary resident, the apprentice may experience that draw through requests for visits from friends and family. The apprentice may also want to express his or her enthusiasm for the program by inviting friends and family to visit. The apprentice should use wisdom and judgment to balance the apprenticeship demands with time available for guests. Apprentices will be asked to discuss visitors in advance with Margaret and Gordon.

Pets: It will not be possible for the apprentice to have pets during the apprenticeship. The apprentice housing is right on the farm, which needs to be maintained as a place where the public feels welcome and safe.

All the fun stuff: No smoking or drugs on the farm. Tooley's Trees is a completely non-smoking environment. No partying in the apprentice housing. Apprentices are expected to keep the apprentice housing and area surrounding the Airstream relatively neat.

Health Insurance: The ranching lifestyle has inherent dangers. While personal health insurance is not required to participate in the apprenticeship program, it is strongly encouraged. The nursery carries Worker's Compensation to cover injuries incurred on the job. But if the apprentice is injured on his or her day off, gets sick, or has or develops chronic conditions like allergies, these types of issues should be covered by personal health insurance.

Farm Vehicles: All of the farm vehicles are standard transmission. The apprentice will be expected to competently operate these vehicles. Apprentice must have a valid driver's license.

Personal Vehicle: There are no instances (or very few) when the apprentice would be required to use his or her own vehicle for farm purposes. In order to run personal errands and travel on days off, however, the apprentice will need the flexibility of her/his own vehicle.

Living in Truchas, New Mexico: We like to tell applicants a little about the community and area. Truchas is a small town of less than 1,000 people at the heart of the Nuestra Senora del Rosario, San Fernando y Santiago Land Grant, established in 1752. Our farm is a few miles to the west of the town, at an elevation of 7960 feet, with views of the Truchas Peaks and the mountainous Pecos Wilderness to the east. To the west are the Espanola Valley, the Jemez Mountains and a view of Pedernal Mountain, made famous by Georgia O'Keefe. Truchas has a post office as well as many art galleries. The nursery is close to several trailheads with lots of hiking trails that lead into the Pecos Wilderness.

For services like groceries, bank, laundromat, restaurants, nightlife, library, movies, Santa Fe (about forty miles), Espanola (fifteen miles) or Taos (about forty miles) offer the most amenities. Los Alamos is also about forty miles away. All of these towns have interesting histories including Native American and Spanish settlement. A really good book to get an overview of the history of the area is Enchantment and Exploitation by William deBuys.

Please read the full description of the New Agrarian Program at https://quiviracoalition.org/newagrarian and the full description of the apprenticeship at https://quiviracoalition.org/tooleys/

Apply by December 1, 2017 at https://quiviracoalition.org/newagrarian/apply


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