Organic Farm in Pennsylvania Seeks Interns and Apprentices

Blackberry Meadows FarmBlackberry Meadows Farm is located just a 1/2 hour drive from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Their 85 acre Certified Organic Vegetable farm serves around 150 CSA members and provides for 2 farmers markets.  They are looking for both interns to help with the day to day operations on the farm and apprentices during the 2014 season. Greg and Jen are (relatively) new farmers and are still learning the tricks of the trade. For full season, live-in apprentices, they offer a small stipend and room and board (no stipend for part-time interns).  There are 3 major roles to fill at the farm: Homesteader (cooking, canning, cleaning, cheese-making, spinning, weaving etc), Cropper (all things vegetable/fruit related, running crews of volunteers, etc,) and Stockman (tending and processing cows, sheep, chickens, pigs and other animals on the farm).  Arial Farm PhotoThese roles will rotate amongst the apprentices weekly.

Apprentices will carry more responsibility on the farm than interns, sharing in the tasks of Animal Husbandry, Homesteading Skills, and Vegetable Operations. Each week the responsibilities will rotate amongst the apprentices – ensuring that everyone can become proficient at these various tasks. This is a great opportunity for someone who thinks they may want to be a farmer one day. They expect Apprentices to be able to work full-time and stay for the full growing season (April – November). Apprentices are expected to help keep the common living area clean and tidy, help with cooking and cleaning up after meals, keep the common bathroom clean, recycle, compost, and various farm duties.

Interns will still have the opportunity to spend time working with the animals, and learning homesteading skills, but the majority of their time will be in the fields. Interns typically work on the farm for the summer or as part-timers commuting from Pittsburgh. They are given fewer daily responsibilities while on the farm.

Interns are expected to work 5-6 days a week, beginning at 5 – 8 am and ending around 5 – 9 pm (depending on time of year).  You’ll have opportunities to spend time in the barn where they have the CSA distribution, at farmers markets and community events, learn food preservation, and animal management and processing (chickens and turkeys), seed saving, foraging, knitting and spinning, season extension, tractor operations, irrigation maintenance, record keeping, seedling production, welding, carpentry, and access to an extensive library of farming and homesteading books.

As new and young farmers, Greg and Jen are very interested in teaching you what they know and have learned.  They are a small enough farm, that they can take time to discuss various farming topics as you work, during the community lunches and in the evenings as you sit on the porch and listen to the spring peepers!

The majority of your time will be spent working with them in the fields.  They have 10 acres of land in cultivation at one time – so there is always a lot to do.  They are efficient with their time and accomplish as much as they can each day, but they also take time to enjoy being farmers too.  Farming is hard work  and they want you to be prepared for long days in the sun, or picking muddy carrots in the rain, and lots of heavy lifting, bending over, weeding, hoeing, pulling, picking up, and walking (just to list a few things!).  Be prepared to get blisters, a sore back, sunburns, bug bites, cold numb fingers, aching muscles, dry cracked hands and then go to bed exhausted and get up the next day to do it all over again (just trying to keep things in perspective).  It’s important that you be a self motivated individual and borderline workaholic. Interns are expected to accomplish tasks in a reasonable time frame (be efficient and work quickly), and may be asked to work on a single task for an extended period of time.  A positive attitude is necessary.  They are always looking for better ways to accomplish tasks and spend a lot of time brainstorming and improving on what they do – so new ideas are always welcome!

Preference is given to interns that can work a full season (April – November).  Come learn with them as they start this adventure of creating and contributing to Pittsburgh’s sustainable (and organic) food shed!  Feel free to email or call with any further questions. (724 226 3939).  Applications can be filled out from their website

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