Market Garden Apprenticeship in Maine

Market Garden

Paid 9-Month Market Garden Apprenticeship at Erickson Fields, Rockport Maine

About Erickson Fields & the Market Garden Apprenticeship:

Erickson Fields is a preserve of Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), a state-wide land conservation organization. The Trust maintains Erickson Fields as a working vegetable farm and educational center helping visitors deepen their appreciation for land conservation and sustainable agriculture. Erickson Fields also serves as a resource for individuals pursuing careers in agriculture.

Erickson Fields hosts a 4-acre market garden where local teens and volunteers grow fresh produce for the local food system, supplying mainly food pantries and schools. Last year, the crew distributed 25,000 lbs of fresh produce.  The Erickson Fields apprentice will learn all aspects of vegetable production as well as help the farm manager supervise youth and community education programs.

The lessons apprentices learn go beyond the logistics of farm operations. During their time at the farm, they engage with the community through educational agricultural programs, which teach about the local food system—food production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management– through the lens of environmental conservation and community well-being.

Erickson Fields is a 164-acre preserve located at 164 West Street, Rockport in the scenic midcoast of Maine.

MARKET GARDEN APPRENTICESHIP JOB DESCRIPTION

Department/Division: Stewardship

Reports To: Erickson Farm & Program Manager

Duration:

Up to nine months from mid-March to mid-November.

Compensation:

$1,000 monthly stipend, benefits, shared housing, training and supervision

Market Garden Apprenticeship General Summary:

Under the direction of the General Manager and Erickson Farm & Program Manager, the position assists with all market garden operations at Erickson Fields Preserve including crop planning; garden preparation, planting, maintaining and harvesting; managing volunteers; soliciting and filling wholesale orders; and hiring and managing the Teen Ag Crew.  The apprentice also assists with Erickson Fields agricultural programs: Kids Can Grow, Community Garden and other initiatives.

Essential Job Functions:

  • Directly works with teens in the Teen Ag Crew Program coordinating, teaching, and supervising students in their work part-time in the spring and fall, and full-time in the summer. Assists with ongoing recruitment and hiring as well as teaching skills including: business planning, planting plans, and all aspects of market garden production.
  • Helps students manage the 4-acre Erickson Fields Preserve market garden to fulfill a contract with the Good Shepherd Foodbank for vegetables that supply the food relief system as well as sales to other wholesale accounts such as local public schools, a retirement community and restaurants.
  • Assists with the management of other programming at Erickson Fields including Kids Can Grow, assorted after school and summer programs, and Community Gardens.
  • Works with food pantries and other partners including University Extension, Master Gardeners, local schools, and volunteers to develop the preserve as a viable community agricultural resource.
  • Assist with continuing design, landscaping, and infrastructure improvements at the Erickson Fields property.
  • Serve as representative of Maine Coast Heritage Trust for those visiting the preserve and assist with other MCHT related tasks as needed.

Education & Experience:

A degree in agricultural sciences, ecology, education or business management will be helpful, but real life practical experience is most necessary.  Prior work or related experience with market gardening and education is required.  Experience with gardening or farm-scale vegetable production, pest and weed management, and soil nutrient management are all useful as well as knowledge of various hand tools and tractor operation.  The ideal candidate will also have experience working with youth as an educator, camp counselor, youth organizer, etc.

Qualifications:

  • Excellent leadership, project management, organizational and problem solving skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to promote and maintain positive public relations and to interact with a wide variety of people.
  • Ability to supervise and effectively assume leadership role with youth, volunteers and program participants.
  • Ability to collaborate with peers and supervisors in the organization, this includes accepting positive feedback and constructive criticism to more effectively complete the job.
  • Computer skills –basic skills word processing and spreadsheet skills preferred.

Working Conditions & Physical Demands:

Work is primarily outdoors in the field, greenhouse and unheated barns and can be required in all-weather conditions such as hot sun, wind, rain, and cold.  Significant physical strength and endurance is required, including the ability to lift 50 lbs regularly.  Awareness, respect and care will need to be taken while working around equipment and agricultural machinery (tractors and implements).  While the majority of worktime is spent outdoors on the farm site, time is also allocated for office work to maintain records and for communicating with various stakeholders (program participants, buyers, etc.) as well as weekly produce deliveries as needed. Occasional assistance with community events for the preserve and MCHT will be required.

Contact:

Aldermere Farm

Attn: Joelle Albury

70 Russell Avenue

Rockport, ME 04856

207-236-2739

jalbury@mcht.org

Market Garden Apprenticeship Application Procedure:

Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association’s Apprenticeship Program is working with MCHT to provide apprentices with additional training and networking opportunities. To take advantage of these benefits, applicants may apply at www.MOFGA.org (listings are under Knox County, see KNX-27 for Erickson Fields).

Applicants may also submit a cover letter and resume directly to MCHT’s Aldermere office via email, jalbury@mcht.org.

 

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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