Round Right Farm is offering several farm apprenticeships in West Virginia for its diversified, organic CSA in 2016.
In its current state, the local foods movement needs more farmers. There is growing public demand for the quality and taste of locally produced foods, coupled with the recognition that current conventional farming practices lead to environmental degradation, loss of food culture and lower quality food. Small farming, with its leaner footprint, focus on quality and diversification, and access to direct-to-consumer marketing, is re-emerging as a viable alternative to the “bigger is better” mentality that still pervades agribusiness. But we still have lots of room to grow and improve our systems and numbers. Our desire to see this happen through a proliferation of ecologically responsible farms is what inspires Round Right Farm’s apprenticeship program.
Round Right Farm hires three full-season apprentices. Apprentices are provided on-farm housing for the duration of our farming season, which starts March 1st and goes through the end of veggie and beef harvests in November, ending right before Thanksgiving.
Our main goal as mentors is to prepare our apprentices with the skills required to run a diversified farm and to demonstrate approaches that lead to success. By following our farming season from beginning to end, apprentices acquire the skills required to start their own farm. These include farming skills, as well as business and leadership skills. Learning takes place through a combination of hands on experience, intellectual-philosophical discussion and study.
Ideal candidates will show strong enthusiasm for food and farming, patience, persistence, consistent hard work, respect for teachers and teammates, humility, and an eagerness to put what is best for the farm and their teammates before their own personal desires.
Apprentices work Monday through Friday, 40- 50 hours/week and are assigned to basic farm chores 1 weekend per month. If the weather does not permit planting on a Monday through Friday schedule, weekend planting work will be required. However, this is a rare response to unfortunate weather circumstances.
Housing and food are provided as well as a stipend of $300 every two weeks. Apprentices are also compensated with an end of season bonus based on the farm’s financial performance for the season.
Apprentice Roles on the farm:
Apprentices are assigned to a leadership role in 2 of our 6 rotational veggie gardens. They start the season by laying out and planning these gardens on paper, finish the season by planting them into cover crops for the winter, and attend to all the details of vegetable production in between.
In May, apprentices are assigned to more specialized roles based on demonstrated aptitude and in consideration of the best fit for the needs of the farm. These roles are:
The Operator – Focus on equipment operation
The Nurturer – Focus on care of young plants and greenhouse structures
The Provider – Focus on animal care
Lessons and experiences vary over the course of the season, which offers many different opportunities to learn, practice and apply the acquired skills.
For a more complete description of our apprenticeship program, please visit our website at: www.roundrightfarm.com/pages/jobs. If you have any questions about our program, or are ready to start the application process, please call Sunshine at 858-805-1787.