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The Benson Place is hiring! We are looking for fun, motivated and hard- working folks to join our organic family farm this growing season. Part-time positions available (1-4 days per week), 7AM-4PM (with a one hour un-paid lunch break). Daily work will include: weeding our certified organic wild blueberry fields, care of our small dairy goat herd and flocks of pastured chickens, establishment of a 6 –acre chestnut/elderberry silvopasture, helping in the perennial and annual gardens, participation in a SARE funded research grant and other tasks. Individuals with a passion or interest for regenerative agriculture preferred as well as those who like to have fun while doing hard work. $14/hr. Must be able to commit through mid-August (work is available through the end of October).  Ideal start date is April 26 th. If interested, please contact Meredith at info@bensonplace.org and let us know a bit about yourself as well as your weekly availability and available start date.

Sunderland Farm Collaborative Packers/Drivers

We are hiring packers and drivers for Sunderland Farm Collaborative, an online market offering local food from 50+ local farms for home delivery and pick up throughout the Pioneer Valley (http://sunderlandfarmco.com). Positions open immediately for 4+ shifts per week: Tues/Fri approximately 9am-6pm on the pack line, and Wed/Sat approximately 8am-4pm driving home deliveries. The Collaborative is based at Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland.

If you have a clean driving record, a love of local food, a strong work ethic and appreciation for details, please send us a letter and resume describing your experience and interest in joining our team to deliver high quality local farm products year-round. Must have a valid driver’s license and a sharp eye for detail to pack and deliver orders efficiently and carefully.

Wage is $15/hour plus overtime
40 hours, plus organic vegetables and pooled tips.

To apply please send a letter and resume by email to hello@sunderlandfarmco.com.

We are looking for someone immediately for the Spring 2021 season to assist with customers, pull orders, and work with our team to ensure that pickups and deliveries run smoothly.

Responsibilities will include —

40+ per week is the norm, Saturdays are usually a half day or the day off, depending on the how busy it gets. Our greenhouse season runs until June 30th, and we do have field work that may be a possibility as well to continue into the fall, but will require a separate interview with the field boss. Pay rate starts at $14.00/hour, but will pay more for an experienced individual.

Contact:

Harvest Farm of Whately
125 Long Plain Road
South Deerfield, Ma 01373
harvestfarmofwhately@comcast.net
Telephone: 413-665-2030
Fax: 413-665-7008

The Belchertown Farmers & Artisans Market is hiring a market manager for the 2021 summer season. This is a paid position. Email belchertownfarmersmarket@gmail.com for more information and to apply.

Duties include but are not limited to:

  1. Planning & Publicity (prior to market season)
    1. Recruit vendors with a goal determined by the Market Board; vet vendors for compliance with Market Guidelines and overall market balance
    2. Notify applicants of acceptance, deferral or rejection
    3. Keep application, product list and copies of insurance and licenses of vendors, as required
    4. Collect market fees from vendors; prepare bank deposit and deliver to bank
    5. Advertise and promote the Market, primarily in social networks
    6. Recruit musicians and other entertainment activities as may be required
    7. Gather and prepare materials, supplies and signs needed when Market is open
    8. Prepare Market map of vendor locations, separating similar vendors and keeping vendors in the same spot
  1. Market Day Management (throughout the season)
    1. Market hours are from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; vendors are permitted to arrive at 9:00 am
    2. Manager is expected to be present at Market location prior to vendor arrival to lay out and assign vendor spaces, monitor parking and moving of vehicles, and assist vendors as needed
    3. Set up signs and Market banners
    4. Set up activity tent and tables
    5. Assist with setting up entertainment and activities areas
    6. Be visible and available during market hours to answer questions and problem-solve
    7. Ensure that all vendor paperwork is complete, including application, insurance, and fee payment
    8. Take down Market tents and signs
    9. Remain at the Market until Market closing; ensure that all vendors have left the site and that The Commons is left in good condition
  1. Other Administrative Duties
    1. Maintain a weekly log of vendor attendance and estimated customer numbers; include comments on any events or issues
    2. Maintain a binder of all Market documents
    3. Create a weekly Market Newsletter; include news and pictures. Send through MailChimp and schedule for Friday. Post on Facebook
    4. Continue Market publicity throughout season; recruit new vendors and activities as necessary
    5. Check Market PO Box for applications and checks. This may be coordinated with a Board Member
    6. Keep all bookkeeping up to date
    7. Administer SNAP, HIP, and credit card functions as required
  1. Closing the Market Season
    1. Prepare final bookkeeping report
    2. Inventory Market materials and supplies. note items that need replacement prior to next season
    3. Return all records, supplies, and materials to the Market Board

Local Hero Profile by Sarah Lucia, CISA TerraCorp Service Member
Published in CISA’s April 2021 enewsletter

The Brimfield Farmers’ Market opens for its 15th season in 2021, serving a valuable role as a connecting point between the local community and local agriculture. In addition to providing fresh, local food for community members, the market functions as a fundraiser for Hitchcock Free Academy, a community center in Brimfield. The fees that vendors typically pay to set up a stand at the market go to the Academy to support free community programming for Brimfield families.

All of the vendors at the market are local, bringing produce, meat, dairy, and crafts from Brimfield and the surrounding towns. Everything that the vendors sell is either grown or made by their farmers and artisans. As a shopper at the Brimfield Farmers’ Market, you can expect to find locally raised meats such as beef, pork, and chicken, seasonal fruits and vegetables, herbs and edible plants, baked goods, honey, maple products, and eggs. Especially popular is Thompson’s Maple Farm, who brings ice cream to the market each week. Locally made crafts such as lavender soaps and sprays, quilted items, and other hand crafts can be purchased from the artisans and make great gift ideas. Plants, including flowering perennials, add a pop of color and round out the market.

The Brimfield Farmers’ Market plays a particularly important role in providing food access to the local community. Cindy Skowyra, the Executive Director of Hitchcock Free Academy, provides insight into why the farmers’ market is central to the town’s food system. The Town of Brimfield has limited access to fresh food, as there are no grocery stores within the town, so “you have to travel” to get to a grocery store. But, “six months out of the year, they can find some fresh, local produce” at the farmers’ market, within walking distance or a short drive away from their homes. For the six months that the farmers’ market is open, finding fresh food becomes a simpler task for the residents of Brimfield. Additionally, in the off-season when the market is closed, several vendors offer an informal pre-order and pick-up option at Hitchcock Academy to ensure that the local community can continue to get fresh food all year round.

For local community members looking for a place to use SNAP to buy fresh produce, two vendors at the market welcome SNAP customers. Both Hunt Berry Fruit Farm and Flourish Farm accept SNAP at their market booths. All SNAP customers also have HIP, the Healthy Incentives Program, which earns them an instant rebate on fresh fruits and vegetables purchased with SNAP at certain farmers’ markets and farm stands. Flourish Farm and Hunt Berry Farm can process HIP transactions, giving their SNAP customers an additional $40-$80 of fresh produce every month. For SNAP recipients in Brimfield, the farmers’ market is the only nearby location where they can earn HIP, increasing their grocery budget and their ability to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

This year, the Brimfield Farmers’ Market opens on Saturday, April 17th. The market runs every Saturday until October 30th from 9am until 2pm. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, masks are required, and customers must keep a six-foot distance from one another. To learn more about the farmers’ market or to find the most current updates, visit their website.

Mobile Market Manager

The mobile market manager will be the face of our new Mobile Farmers’ Market. This is a key position in establishing this new market and requires a passion for social justice and food access work. The mobile market manager will coordinate closely with the farm owner and community partners to roll out the mobile market program in July 2021. Work hours will be flexible in May-June for program development.  Once the truck is operating in July, the goal is for a 32-40 hour/week position through December or until it is too cold to operate the truck. There is potential to become a year-round position with a highly motivated market manager.  ay will be commensurate with experience, starting at $16-$18/hour.  Interested individuals should submit resume and letter of interest to info@rainbowharvestfarm.com.

Responsibilities

Qualifications

www.rainbowharvestfarm.com

Greenhouse Assistant

Rainbow Harvest Farm is seeking a Greenhouse Assistant to assist with production and sale of vegetable, herb, flower and ornamental plants for our local customers.

The Greenhouse Assistant is responsible for seeding, labeling, and potting up vegetable, herb, and ornamental plants and preparing orders for customer pick up.  The right candidate will be comfortable working solo and must have excellent observation and communication skills, a good sense of humor, positive attitude, and be eager to learn.  Pay is commensurate with experience (starting at $15-16/hour).  Part-time, seasonal, flexible hours through June with the possibility for other farm/market related work after that time period.  If you are interested in applying, please send a resume and letter of interest to info@rainbowharvestfarm.com.

Primary Responsibilities

Qualifications

www.rainbowharvestfarm.com

By JACOB NELSON, For the Recorder, April 7, 2021

Andy Cowles started growing plants in a greenhouse when he was 9 years old, back when potting mix and plastic pots were new on the scene.

“I was lucky enough to learn from a guy named Win Shumway,” Cowles says. “He really knew how to grow plants.”

“I lived next door to his place in Amherst,” he recalls. “There were eight kids in my family, and we all had farm chores we had to do. But if you went over and worked for Shumway, he’d actually pay you, and you didn’t have to do your chores at home. I started working for him as a young kid and I never left the greenhouse industry since.”

Cowles is now the owner and driving force behind Andrew’s Greenhouse in Amherst, which his partner, Jacqui, also helps manage. “We’re a grower-greenhouse,” he says, “and basically everything we sell here, maybe 98%, we grow here.”

After 45 years, the business itself has grown to include an acre of greenhouses, nine employees, and a large following of customers who are mostly, as Cowles describes them, “home gardeners looking for something different.”

Annuals, perennials, vegetable starts, herbs, flowering landscape plants — they have it. Cowles has been around long enough to see trends in popular plants come and go and come again.

“Of course, this time of year it’s the pansies that are selling,” he says. They’re a cold-hardy, staple flower for spring gardens. Impatiens used to be popular, but now it’s petunias, and annuals are becoming more popular than perennials.

Sales of culinary herbs and veggie starts have climbed rapidly, particularly last year during COVID.

“In past years we seeded veggie starts every other week. Last year we were seeding as much as we could each week, and we still c o u l d n’t keep up with demand,” Cowles says. “And we can never have enough herbs.”

Andrew’s Greenhouse is known for a vast inventory of plant species — several hundred at any time — and for carrying varieties that customers enjoy and can’t find elsewhere.

“When supply companies decide not to sell a plant anymore, but it does well for people, we keep on propagating it by taking cuttings,” Cowles says. “If customers really love something, we want to make sure we have it.”

What does it mean to propagate a plant by taking a cutting? “You trim the terminal (or leading) growth off a mother plant — 1½ inches or so,” he explains. “Then you take off most of the leaves towards the bottom, and root that in a pot.”

Though it works better with some species than others, this practice helps local lineages of plants such as beautiful red and fuchsia geraniums live on.

Cowles has learned a lot in his half-century of greenhouse growing, and his grasp of the nuances of this type of farming is extensive.

“I grow in a bigger pot than other places — 5 or 6 inches instead of 4½ — because the plant grows better and I can water less often,” he explains. “I save time, and the customer gets a healthier plant. We also trim many of our plants, so they branch out and have a better shape.”

“What we’re sowing each week and day is planned in advance,” he explains, “and we plant in batches, so we have fresh stock ready throughout the season.”

“Fresh stock” means plants whose roots haven’t overgrown their pots, which can stunt development.

When the operation is running smoothly, the result is joyous. “My favorite time of year is late Februar y,” Cowles says. “There’s starting to be more sun, I walk into the warm nursery greenhouse, and look at all the little plants coming up. They’re my babies, and when you see they’re doing well, you think ‘OK, I’m doing the right thing.’” This heightened attention to detail and care is what Cowles believes customers have come to expect. “Gardeners that really know their stuff, they come here because they recognize the quality in what we’re growing.”

Some customers are drawn from quite far afield.

Cowles says, “We have people come from Boston to the Berkshires, even from Connecticut and New York. People who’ve come here for years bring their friends and show them around ‘their place.’ It’s really fun for them, and for me. I’m proud of it.

“The reason I do it is to see the customers that come back every year and do something fun for them. It’s more than a business — it’s a tradition.”

Jacob Nelson is communications coordinator for CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture). To learn about more local businesses offering what you need to start a garden this year, check out CISA’s searchable online guide at buylocalf o o d . o r g /find-it-locally.

The Recorder, April 7, 2021. By CLAIRE MORENON

A year has passed since the COVID-19 pandemic changed nearly everything about our lives. For us at CISA, and the farmers we work with, this can be measured by the agricultural calendar and the ways COVID impacted each season.

The early days of the pandemic coincided with what are usually the busy early days of the growing season on local farms, so farmers were scrambling to adjust to a very uncertain future even as they welcomed spring lambs, set seeds into soil and boiled maple sap into syrup. This spring feels less frenetic and panicked than this time last year, certainly, but farmers are still juggling countless unknowns as we head toward the summer.

One big question is how changing pandemic circumstances will continue to shift consumer demand for locally grown food. Last year, consumer demand for local food spiked, especially for local meat, farm shares, vegetable plants, pick-your-own crops, and farms offering delivery or curbside pickup.

It’s easy to see how this interest was influenced in different ways by the pandemic: People were looking for alternatives to busy grocery stores, they were concerned about having regular access to food, and more time at home meant more interest in gardening and other outdoor activities.

For the farms that flexed to accommodate this increased interest, the question is: Will shoppers come back as the crisis passes? Should they plant enough crops, raise enough animals, and hire enough staff to meet last year’s level of demand, or will those investments be lost as life returns to a new form of normal? So far this year, the signs are promising — anecdotally, we’ve been hearing that demand is high for farm shares (so if you’re thinking about it, this is the time to sign up!), and some plant nurseries are already accepting pre-orders to manage increased demand. The hope is that people loved getting fresh veggies every week through their farm shares, or enjoying meat that was responsibly raised by a local farmer, or discovering the delicious fun of picking strawberries or apples on a gorgeous day, and will keep on enjoying those local pleasures in the years to come.

Farm worker vaccinations are another moving target this spring. Farm workers, along with so many other essential workers in the food chain, took on enormous risk over the last year to keep all of us fed, and it’s vital to ensure that they have real access to vaccinations. Farm workers are eligible to be vaccinated right now, but existing online appointment portals reward people with time and easy internet access, and many farm workers face barriers on top of that: transportation, language, and, for some, uncertainty about whether undocumented people are eligible for the vaccine (they are).

Some groups, like Community Health Center of Franklin County, are working directly with farm owners to ensure vaccinations for workers. CISA has been working with partners and legislators to advocate for timely and equitable access to the vaccine — this is a basic acknowledgement of their humanity and the central role they play in keeping all of us fed.

State funding for HIP, the Healthy Incentives Program, is currently in the budget process for fiscal year 2022 (starting this July). This program provides an instant rebate when shoppers use SNAP to purchase produce from participating local farms. In a time of both increased hunger and so much uncertainty, funding HIP at the full $13 million and ensuring that it runs year-round will mean that people who rely on the program can count on access to fresh, healthy food, and farmers can count on the income it brings.

The Massachusetts Food System Collaborative is leading the Campaign for HIP Funding — updates can be found at mafoodsystem.org. CISA is currently raising money to fund our support of SNAP and HIP at farmers’ markets and to expand our own anti-hunger program for low-income seniors, Senior FarmShare — you can learn more about the Local Food for All campaign at buylocalfood.org.

Farmers are used to uncertainty — it’s part of the deal in a weather-dependent, narrow profit-margin, globally-competitive business. A year of COVID-19 has shown how resilient our local farms are, and that we can depend on them to keep us fed during a crisis. If local farms have made this past year easier or more enjoyable for you — or your interest is piqued by reading this — consider how you can keep your support going as we head into spring and beyond. Find a farm share, your nearest farmers’ market, and restaurants and retailers that buy local at buylocalfood.org.

Claire Morenon is communications manager at CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) of South Deerfield.

2021 DELIVERY DRIVER AND GROUNDS MAINTENANCE

If interested please email a resume, cover letter and 3 references to employment@riverlandfarm.com

This position includes benefits of a half-hour paid lunch, allotted vacation time, select paid holidays off and use of vegetables for cooking and preserving!

All applicants will be considered for these positions but preference is given to those with prior delivery experience. You must have a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record to apply.

The Farm: Riverland Farm is a Women-run, Certified Organic Farm in Western Massachusetts. We grow high quality, organic produce for our community. We are invested in the health and viability of organic farmland in our region and continue to work to maintain and improve the land we farm.

We grow 40 acres of certified organic vegetables on prime agricultural soil along the Connecticut River in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. We take pride in the quality of our vegetables and the ongoing relationships we maintain with our customers, locally and regionally.

Our growing practices, inputs and systems reflect our high standards for healthy land, good food and worker safety. We use only sustainable practices and organic approved inputs. We are a USDA Certified Organic Farm, certified by Baystate Certifiers.

The Job: This is a key position on the farm centered around wholesale deliveries to multiple locations in Western/Eastern Massachusetts and beyond.  In addition to weekly delivery responsibilities this position will also involve some buildings and grounds maintenance and some other miscellaneous farm tasks. A person who is successful in this position is self-motivated, detail oriented, able to lift 50+ lbs, a good communicator and maintains a positive attitude with good mental and physical stamina.

Schedule, Pay and Benefits:

May 24th  – Dec 18th

Pay starts at $14/hr for 25 hours/week

Delivery Responsibilities include:

Buildings and Grounds Responsibilities include:

WRSI, April 5, 2021. Angela Karlovich, the Greenhouse, Annual, and Vegetable Lead at Gardener’s Supply at the Hadley Garden Center, talks about the higher demand for local plants and vegetable starts during the pandemic.

Farm Maintenance Supervisor: About Nuestras Raíces

Nuestras Raíces is a grassroots urban agriculture organization based in Holyoke, MA.
Nuestras Raíces’ mission is to create healthy environments, celebrate “agri-culture,”
harness our collective energy, and to advance our vision of a just and sustainable
future. Our programs span our 30-acre farm, La Finca, community gardens across
Holyoke, and our downtown commercial kitchen.

Description of Farm Maintenance Supervisor Role
Nuestras Raíces is seeking an experienced and enthusiastic Farm Maintenance
Supervisor to join our team. The incoming Farm Maintenance Supervisor will report
directly to Executive Director, Hilda Roque and will primarily oversee maintenance and
expansion of farm infrastructure and equipment. The ideal candidate possesses strong
knowledge of farm infrastructure and maintenance needs, experience in community
building with intergenerational leadership (elders, youth, families), and a strong and
aligned commitment to Nuestras Raíces dedication to “agri-culture.”

Primary Duties & Responsibilities:
+ Perform general maintenance to specialized barn, equipment and facilities
+ Perform custodial services and comprehensive facilities, equipment, landscaping,
and grounds maintenance
+ Complete farm renovation projects, including relationships with subcontractors
+ Provide routine care to designated farm areas
+ Design and development of farmsite, obtaining permitting, contracting services,
budgeting, composting and waste, irrigation systems, buildings.
+ Keep inventory for all farm tools and equipment up to date
+ Maintain farm maintenance records and monitor and order supplies
+ Prepare the farm for winter, including soil, equipment and tools stored, closing
irrigation lines on gardens and the water main line, etc.
+ Contribute to the planning and support of community events
+ Cultivate relationships with urban agriculture and local food systems partners
+ Complete farm renovation projects

Required Qualifications
+ Bilingual (English-Spanish);
+ Expertise with farm equipment and machinery;
+ Must be able to operate a tractor and farm equipment;
+ Carpentry and construction skills/work experience;
+ Detail oriented, flexible and highly motivated;
+ Professional maturity, commitment, and creativity;
+ Reliable transportation to and from farm;
+ Valid driver’s license & good driving record;
+ Ability to lift 50 pounds, and capacity to walk, bend, stand and climb stairs;
+ Required CORI Check

Preferred Qualifications:
+ A passion for food justice;
+ An understanding of how structural racism impacts the food system;
+ Experience with farm and/or greenhouse management;
+ Experience communicating with community, board, and project partners;
+ Ongoing commitment to improving systems and practices;
+ Community farm experience and/or non-profit experience;

Compensation + benefits
Farm Maintenance Supervisor is a part-time year-round position (25hrs/week),
compensated at $15 hourly pay, with two weeks paid vacation, federal holidays, and
with sick and personal leave accrued biweekly. Farm Maintenance Supervisor will have
room to build a flexible schedule as desired (and in agreement with the Executive
Director). Position requires willingness to work occasional weekends throughout the year,
as farm events arise.

Application instructions
Nuestras Raíces is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages applications from all
backgrounds. Latino, Black, Indigenous and People of Color applicants strongly
encouraged to apply. Interested candidates should submit a resume and three references to hroque@nuestras-raices.org.

Intended start date for Farm Maintenance Supervisor is May 1, 2021. Accepting
applications on a rolling basis until the role is filled.