Biodynamic Farm Apprenticeship in Oregon

biodynamic farm apprenticeship

Biodynamic Farm Apprenticeship at Flying Coyote Farm in Oregon – 2018

Farm Description:

Flying Coyote Farm is a certified organic and biodynamic farm nestled in the foothills of Mt. Hood in Sandy, Ore. We use bio-intensive growing practices on our 3-acre home farm to raise high quality produce, meat and value added products. Additionally we lease 2 acres of land where we grow vegetables on a more mechanized system. Our primary outlets for our produce are through our 100 member CSA program, weekly farmers’ markets and local restaurants and groceries. We also have an extensive livestock program where we raise pigs and chickens for meat. Each year we raise and process between 400-500 broiler chickens and 6-8 pigs. We also grow berries and fruit mainly for on-farm use.

Our crew consists of Lili Tova (farm manager), Gabbi Logsdon (field crew manager), one part time harvest position, one part time fieldwork position and one full time apprentice position. We also host volunteers and WOOFERS out to the farm during the main growing season.

Lili Tova is the owner and manager of Flying Coyote Farm. She has been working as a gardener and farmer for twelve years in Florida, California and Oregon. She is a graduate of the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz. During her second year in the program, she worked as the Assistant Manager of the five-acre farm site, helping to manage and coordinate a 150 member CSA, farm stand, and restaurant sales. She has a passion for mentoring and has taught farming and homesteading skills at UC Santa Cruz and at Aprovecho Research Center where she worked as the Garden Manager for two seasons.

Biodynamic Farm Apprenticeship Program Description:

Apprentices at Flying Coyote farm are expected to participate in all areas of running a small-diversified organic farm from seed to harvest. We work 45-60 hours a week on average; this generally means a 5-6 day workweek, ten hours per day with occasional weekend responsibilities (markets etc). Apprentices are given one full day off each week with the average workweek being a five and a half day week. Apprentices may take an additional 3 days off during the season to be scheduled with the farm manager. Apprentices will participate in all aspects of the vegetable operation on our farm and with support from the farm manager will begin to take on management of all aspects of our pasture-raised meat operation (broiler and pigs). Over the two-year program apprentices will be given the opportunity to take on management of other aspects of the farm based on demonstrated skills and interests and the needs of the farm.

Generally our weeks are broken into harvest days, field workdays and market and delivery days. Spring will focus on field prep, greenhouse work, seeding and transplanting, summer will see an increase in harvesting, coordinating CSA and restaurant deliveries, working farmers markets, and general field work, and fall will bring the harvest and curing of our storage crops, cover cropping, canning, wood splitting, animal processing and putting the farm to rest. 

There will be opportunities to work farmers’ markets, assist in coordinating the CSA program and to participate in restaurant and grocery deliveries. We are known for our attention to quality and the freshness and beauty of our products and apprentices will learn about proper harvest and post-harvest handling techniques to ensure that produce is harvested, processed and stored to maintain the freshest and highest quality product.

Throughout the season apprentices participate in managing fertility and soil health on a certified Organic and Biodynamic farm including spreading amendments, working with the biodynamic preps, building compost and crop rotation. Apprentices are exposed to decision-making around pest and disease management, weeding practices, various methods of irrigation and managing fertility throughout the season through the use of fertigation, side dressing and foliar sprays.

Apprentices participate in seasonal building and infrastructure projects around the farm, which can range in scale from maintaining animal shelters to fencing and irrigation work. Apprentices are also encouraged to participate in homesteading projects such as canning, herbal medicine making and sauerkraut production.

Biodynamic Farm Apprenticeship Details

First Year Program Dates – March 15 – December 15th

Second Year Schedule – February 15th – December 15th

Year One Responsibilities:

Management of pastureraised meat operation (broilers and pigs)

Daily watering and feeding

General animal health care

Pasture Rotation

Scheduling harvesting a packaging of broilers

Prophouse Seeding

Weed management (fields and greenhouses)

Soil and field preparation and fertilization (BCS and hand scale)

BCS use and maintenance

Harvest systems (crop projections, picklists, supplies)

Post-Harvest Systems (storage, collation, wash/packing)

Cover cropping

Crop rotation

Time management

Farmers’ Markets and Deliveries

Winter following year one:

Crop reviews and planning (includes generating planting lists)

Seed Orders (includes organic seed search)

Organic Certification

Supplies inventory, research and acquisition

Research of new production solutions (incl. equipment, tools, products, and methods)

Mechanics and equipment maintenance

Carpentry and design, other construction skills incl. electrical and plumbing)

Marketing/Promotion

Biodynamic Farm Apprenticeship Year two:

(Year two management and learning opportunities will evolve based on the skills and interests of apprentice and needs of the farm and farm manager, but will include the following)

See year one, plus:

Irrigation scheduling

Tractor cultivation

Crew management (can include transplanting, harvest, weeding crews)

Independent project (i.e. growing and marketing a new crop or otherwise reflecting a personal interest of the apprentice)

Housing: Apprentices will have their own small living space in either a vintage trailer or small cabin. Apprentices have access to a covered outdoor kitchen and an indoor living room and bathroom space. We have laundry facilities on site and high-speed Internet available.

Meals: The farm will provide all staple foods (grains, beans, cooking oils, spices, cheese, corn tortillas, bread, condiments, some fruit and nuts, nut butters etc), we try to source local organic food as much as possible. Apprentices will also help with some crew meal preparation and house chores. We eat a fair amount of meat and dairy and will try our best to cater to other diets, but we also expect people with special dietary requirements to provide some of their own alternative foods.

Skills Desired for Biodynamic Farm Apprenticeship: We are looking for people who have a passion for farming and a desire to be involved in an agrarian lifestyle. We ask that all applicants have a minimum of two years full season experience working on a commercial farm. We are seeking people who have good communication skills, who know how to ask for and receive guidance when approaching new tasks and who have experience working within a team. Farming is very hard work but also incredibly rewarding so a positive attitude and good work ethic are a must. We will also give preference to applicants who see farming as part of their long-term life goals. As we are a women owned and operated farm we are looking for folks who will be comfortable working with and taking direction from women. We also ask that you be open to working with people of diverse races, genders and sexual orientations.

Biodynamic Farm Apprenticeship Educational Opportunities: Educational opportunities will be both formal and informal and will happen throughout the season as apprentices become integrated into the farm. The hows and whys of our farming practices will be clearly explained and apprentices are fully encouraged to ask questions and take on personal projects that will be supported by the farm manager. Much of the learning of farming happens in the repetition of tasks day to day and throughout the season. We find that folks who have a good attention to detail and who enjoy the physicality and structure of the work tend to flourish on our farm. Our hope is that by the end of the season apprentices will leave feeling more confident in their ability to run a small diversified market farm and to manage various aspects of pasture based meat production.

To apply for the Biodynamic Farm Apprenticeship, use the application at Rogue Farm Corp – https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/apprenticeship

To learn more about farming jobs and internships or to post an opportunity on beginningfarmers.org, go to: http://www.beginningfarmers.org/internship-and-employment-opportunities/

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