Hiring: Farm Apprentice – Just Roots
Just Roots is committed to making healthy, local food accessible to everyone in our community. Our mission is to increase access to healthy, local food by connecting people, land, resources, and know-how. We accomplish our mission in many ways, including: growing approximately 7 acres of produce at the Greenfield Community Farm and providing educational programs for all ages, community garden plots, financial assistance, and advocacy for healthy, local food as an equity builder. We are working to begin a conversation with healthcare providers to offer healthy, local food as a health benefit. We offer our food through a 200-member vegetable CSA, farmers markets and wholesale, and extend our CSA year-round with a soup share. Each season, 60-70% of our CSA shares are subsidized by community giving to make our produce more affordable for income-qualifying households.
We are not certified, but follow organic practices. We seek to increase biodiversity, and foster an environment where beneficial insects, fungi, and microbes can thrive. We use practices that protect the diverse ecology on the farm, and minimize environmental harm both on and off the farm. The farm is managed by Aaron Drysdale, and is entering it’s fourth growing season. For more information about the farm and other Just Roots projects, visit www.justroots.org .
As an apprentice with Just Roots you and your two other apprentice cohorts will learn both how to sustainably grow high quality produce and how a community farm’s work weaves into the fabric of our local food justice movement. We are a small team, so you will come to know all its members and the work of the farm intimately. From seeding and cultivating, to marketing and educating, you will have the opportunity to explore and rotationally manage aspects of the farm that interest you most.
HARD AT WORK
The apprenticeship runs 7 months from April 4 – October 30. The work week will average around 50 hours, working 7am-5pm on most weekdays with an hour lunch break, and with rotating weekend chores once each month (greenhouse care and CSA distribution). The core farm team (farmer, assistant farmer, apprentices) will meet briefly each day to collaboratively plan the day’s work, and more extensively each week where we will all report back with the updates/needs/statuses of our current areas of management. For those with more experience, we hope you proactively take the lead on your management area. For those with less experience, we will more closely guide you. Weekly field walks to identify work projects and priorities will also be done as a team. Having all eyes paying close attention to the rhythms and happenings of the field leads to a smoother workflow, better leadership from us (the core team) to the farmhand crew we will all lead on rotation, and ultimately, better quality produce.Tractor work will be a part of the job for the right candidates. We always try our best to respect people’s schedules by starting and ending the workday on time, but on rare occasion may ask for extended days if a sudden storm will be passing through or an early frost is upon us.
While learning opportunities at Just Roots will be heavily learn by doing, we also make it a point to offer more formal training and education. Apprentices will have the option of attending frequent educational sessions. About half of these sessions will be visits to other farms through Western MA’s CRAFT program. We encourage apprentices to take advantage of this opportunity to see beyond our fields and gather farming techniques and wisdom from a variety of sources. For more info about CRAFT visit craftfarmapprentice.com. The other half of the educational sessions will be organized by Just Roots and our friendly network of experienced farmers, activists, herbalists, soil scientists and more. They will include field workshops like tractor operating and pest identifying; “office” workshops like crop planning and diversity training; and visits to key collaborators of our local food system.
We are seeking apprentices with a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and who know when to ask for help. Communication skills are key when working with a small team. Apprentices should be prepared to work physically everyday, in a variety of (safe) weather conditions. Applicants should be at least 18 years of age, and have a valid Driver’s License. Previous farm experience is preferred but not required. The more experience you have, the more management and leadership responsibilities will be available to you. Folks who are eager to learn, enjoy spending their days outdoors, and have an interest in food justice are strongly encouraged to apply.
We will give preference to apprentices who can stay the entire season, but encourage all those interested to apply. We also encourage apprentices to consider spending more than one season with us (no multiseason commitment necessary!), gaining responsibilities over the course of time with the farm.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
Each year our apprentices’ unique experiences, skills, spirits, attitudes and dedication shape the soul of our farm. We value our team immensely! In return for your hard work, you will receive:
- all the farm produce you can eat
- 1 week paid vacation
- paid sick days + personal days
- free access to Just Roots workshops
- participation in Western MA CRAFT & a variety of educational opportunities
- Just Roots supplied registration fee to NOFA/MA Summer Conference
- Access to Mass Health healthcare
- Workers Compensation Insurance
***Unfortunately, we cannot yet provide housing, but the surrounding area is beautiful and reasonably priced.
NEW TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD?
If you’re new to the area, you’re in for a treat! Greenfield and the surrounding areas are filled with scenic and cultural treasures alike. There are endless places to go hiking, swimming holes abound, great music, and friendly people who care a whole lot about being a part of a local community. Its definitely easier to get around this area by car. Greenfield itself has a number of bars, live music, restaurants, and parks and the greater region (within 45 mins) has a plethora of cultural offerings. The five colleges also provide a constant stream of events. You will not be bored! But you can also easily escape into the mountains if that’s more your style.
Please send a letter of interest, 3 references, and your resume to farm manager, Aaron Drysdale, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you! We will start interviewing candidates in the beginning of January, and will fill the positions on a rolling basis. A farm visit is strongly encouraged, but phone interviews can be arranged for candidates who live far away.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit our website: Justroots.org/farm-employment
Be sure to check out testimonies (http://justroots.org/testimonials/) by former employees and apprentices and explore our website to get an idea of the projects we hope you get involved in!