Farming Apprenticeship at Jones Family Farms in Connecticut – 2016
Jones Family Farms is a respected destination farm located in Shelton, Connecticut, just 80 miles east of Manhattan and 15 miles west of New Haven, CT. Presently the farm maintains 400 acres of land, including 15 acres in strawberries, 15 acres in blueberries, 25 acres in pumpkins, squash, and gourds, and 200 acres in Christmas trees, all harvested by pick-your-own guests. The farm also manages 50 acres of hay land, 50 acres of woodlots, and over 5 acres of grapes which are in production for the farm’s winery. The newest addition to the farm is the Harvest Kitchen, which hosts hands-on cooking classes featuring seasonal, farm fresh produce. The Kitchen also maintains an educational vegetable garden that provides produce for our classes.
The primary learning objective for our farm-to-table apprenticeship is to be actively involved in following food from the field to market to plate while working closely with our kitchen. The apprentice will participate on a team that includes farm managers, other apprentices, seasonal staff and interns. Our goal is to provide hands-on experience to an aspiring market farmer, community dietitian, chef embracing farm cuisine, food system change organizer, farm and/or environmental educator.
On the Farm: Apprentices will gain an understanding of sustainable farming practices through hands-on field experiences such as weed control, harvesting, and post harvest handling. In addition to our production fields, apprentices will be responsible for the care of our kitchen gardens. They will also work closely with the harvest-your-own retail operations and vegetable stand to learn successful direct marketing techniques.
In the Kitchen: Apprentices will gain an understanding of production kitchen management and record keeping as key members of the team preserving and cooking with our summer fruits and vegetables as well as creating seasonal baked goods for our Winery and Harvest-Your-Own guests. Apprentices will also have the opportunity to share their experiences and learn alongside our guests while assisting with our hands-on cooking programs.
Desired Traits and Skills:
- We are looking for individuals with a sincere and strong interest in food and where it comes from. A college degree is preferred, although not required.
- Preference will be given to applicants with experience working in the field of agriculture, outdoor education, ecology, food preparation, nutrition or dietetics; however, applicants who have some background in food systems or experiential education are encouraged to apply.
- Applicants should be self-motivated, reliable, responsible, flexible, and communicative – both verbal and written.
- Apprentices must be in good physical health, able to lift 50 pounds, be willing to do a variety of different tasks, and able to work in all weather conditions including cold, rain and extreme heat.
- Being a team player and having a positive attitude and sense of humor is critical. We are looking for someone who works well independently as well as with teams, and able to learn quickly while supporting Jones farming methods. We are committed to teaching and learning through doing and we want our apprentices to be equally on board.
Farm Environmental Facts:
- Physical work is strenuous and of long duration.
- May spend long periods of time standing, walking, bending or crouching.
- Prolonged outdoor exposure – possibly in hot, freezing or inclement weather.
- Awareness that visiting guests and their farm expectations shape our work environment and require a constant attention to politeness and cleanliness.
- Living on the farm is essential and the work hours vary based on the conditions of Mother Nature and the harvest realities.
- On-farm education will happen through structured lessons as well as through project-oriented instruction.
- Our on-farm education will be complemented by the apprentice’s participation in the Western Connecticut Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program, which requires traveling to other farms in the region.
- Field trips to other farms and educational events will also be encouraged, based on the apprentice’s interest area.
- Apprentices will have access to the farm library with opportunities for discussion with farm managers, and will be encouraged to research and learn on their own.
The farming apprenticeship could start as early as late March/early April, although a flexible start date can be accommodated for the right candidate. Full-time commitment to the farm will be expected through December 21st, with a one-week vacation (typically in late August or early September). This apprenticeship opportunity has the potential to continue to a second, more focused year of farm experiences and/or a full-time position on our farm.
Compensation: The work schedule varies depending on the season, with apprentices working 40 to 50 hours per week, including many weekend and holiday hours. Compensation includes a room in an on-farm house with modern amenities, a biweekly stipend, and produce when available. Jones Family Farms provides health insurance through Worker’s Compensation for on farm incidents, but personal health insurance must be provided by the applicant. Apprentices must provide their own transportation.
To Apply for the farming apprenticeship: please submit a letter of intent addressing why you want to work on a farm, what you hope to learn by through a farm-to-table apprenticeship, and how your past experiences have prepared you for working with our farm and kitchen. Please also include a resume that summarizes your relevant experiences, 3 professional references, and an unofficial college transcript (if available). An on-farm visit is required as part of the interview process. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis; however interviews will begin in February.
Jones Family Farms
Attn: Emily Freund
606 Walnut Tree Hill Rd
Shelton, CT 06484
Questions and applications for the farming apprenticeship can also be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more, applicants are also encouraged to visit our website: www.jonesfamilyfarms.com