Farm Internship Opportunities in Connecticut

Beautiful Farm PanoramaInternship Opportunities at Marble Valley Farm in Kent Connecticut, 2013

Marble Valley is a small-scale, highly diversified organic (not-yet-certified) vegetable farm on land trust property in northwestern Connecticut. 2007 was its first cash-cropping year. Four acres in production at this point.  Marble Valley has a wonderfully receptive community, to whom it markets its veg via a small CSA (56 shares in 2012) and also a weekend farmstand open to the public. In addition to its produce, Marble Valley (MV) sells grass-raised beef and pork and other products, incl. honey and low-spray apples and pears, from local farming friends.  MV donates to the Kent Food Bank weekly as well. Owner/operator Megan Haney has training from UCSC's organic farm school and 19 years' experience since.  MV also sells to some restaurants and the local hospital.  The farm uses a Massey Ferguson for primary tillage and an Allis Chalmers G for weed control; much work is done with hand tools.  The farm lies on bottomland of the Housatonic River, just across from the Appalachian Trail (great swimming/kayaking/hiking opps.). Marble Valley Farm is located in a rural area (only 3,000 people in town) and over 1/3 of the residents are weekenders from New York City.  There are not many locals looking for seasonal work on a farm, hence the intern program is crucial to the farm's vitality. To learn details and find information about how to apply click "read more"

Internship starts: Any time between early April and mid May

Internship Ends: Late October or late November
Number of Interns: 2
Minimum Length of Stay: 5 Months

Skills Desired:

Accepting applications only from those who have worked at least one full season on an organic farm.  Looking for those who might want to farm on their own someday, with following attributes:

–Willingness to work physically hard under occasionally challenging conditions (heat, humidity, dirt, bugs, cold, wet);

–Reliability (ie showing up on time, fully ready to work);

–Pro-active communication skills regarding issues like requested schedule changes as well as suggestions for improvement;

–Ability to work unsupervised at times, which entails ability to retain instruction sets, ability to seek us out and raise questions when the realities of the field and the advance instructions don’t jibe, and tendency to keep up efficient pace even when working alone;

Good powers of observation;

Strong basic math skills (incl. ability to use a calculator);

Love of food and produce;

Desire to work and live in community and to share knowledge with others.

Educational Opportunities: Propagation of seeds in greenhouse, soil preparation, transplanting, direct-seeding, cultivation/weeding, harvesting, marketing (CSA/farmstand/other), cover-cropping, field planning skills all taught with “big picture” v. “do this now” approach (though some of the latter has to prevail at times).  Owner is also willing to share financial aspects and recordkeeping files (including templates for seed orders, field plans, etc.) with interns.

Marble Valley participates in a local CRAFT (http://www.bloomingfieldsfarm.com/cft_frameindex.html).  Every 3 weeks, interns from 10 farms in the region gather at one farm for a learning and social experience.  The format is: one hour of farm tour, one hour of instruction on a specific topic (e.g., irrigation systems; mechanized weed control; greenhouse propagation), followed by a potluck.

Interns will learn how to drive and use MV’s tractors and various attachments (basket weeder, rototiller, Lister plow, bush hog, etc.)  Other motorized tools: weed whacker, chain saw, metal grinder (for sharpening tools), power drill, impact driver, reciprocating saw, and other light construction tools. Highly helpful non-motorized tools include wheel hoe, collinear hoe, and Hatfield transplanter.

In mid-summer, work flow and training are 100% task-oriented, with some time (while thinning carrots etc.) to discuss the broader issues, but with focus on work.  In early spring and late fall, it is possible to devote an hour or so a week exclusively to education. In addition, owner has an extensive library of farming-related books which interns are free to borrow and read on their own time.

Stipend: $1000 per month plus housing for 45-hour work weeks; plus $8.25 per hour for any overtime; plus produce (as described below in ‘Meals’ section); bonus at completion of season (which varies according to farm profitability in a given year as well as intern performance).

Housing: Provided.  Housing for 2013 is still under negotiation with the Land Trust.  May consist of on-farm housing in the form of a trailer with bedrooms, kitchen, and bathroom OR 10′ x 12′ platform tent cabins for sleeping (with indoor kitchen in another building, outdoor shower, and composting toilet in the barn), OR off-farm housing in a nearby ranch house rented for interns.

Meals: Organic produce from the farm is part of the reimbursement; interns may also purchase at our cost the items the farm gets from other farmers (grass-raised beef, pork, low-spray fruit, eggs, honey).  Interns are responsible for providing their own meals, but share a weekly potluck dinner at the farm.  The community of local farmers has a strong potluck tradition as well as some other community events (eg the occasional bonfire) which embrace the participation of seasonal interns as well as farm-owners.

How to apply: Initial contact via e-mail, including summary of work experience and reasons for wanting to do farmwork.  Farmer will follow with phone interview and reference checks.  A visit and trial work session is desirable but not always possible.  Applications/inquiries accepted at any time.

Megan Haney, Owner/Operator

marblevalleyfarm@gmail.com

 

860-592-0020

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