Full Season Farm Apprentice Swallowtail Farm
- Date Posted November 08, 2018
- Location Alachua, FL
- Category Agriculture
- Job Type Internship/Apprentice
Swallowtail Farm is a young aspiring biodynamic farm entering its ninth season of growing. Each season, from October through June we raise food for 150 families in our Community Supported Agriculture program. We also work closely with Gainesville area chefs to distribute our food in local restaurants, and to collaborate for our Farm to Table dinners. Each season we host two big lovely festivals on the farm and invite the community to come experience diverse workshops, delicious food and drink, great music, art, and tour the farm. We also host many groups visiting the farm throughout the season, including two 3rd Grade classes that camp out at the farm, veterans, schoolchildren from local schools, and many others.
The farm is situated on some of the most beautiful land in Florida, on rolling hills of fertile pasture and forest. The land entire is 30 acres, and we cultivate about 7 acres of vegetables, herbs, flowers, perennials and fruit. We also manage about 10 acres as pasture for our livestock. We tend a flock of 300 laying hens that are rotated on pasture behind our dairy cows. We have a mixed herd of Jersey & Dexter cows for milk & meat. We have a flock of Katahdin /gulf coast sheep who act as the farms lawn mowers and are used for meat. We raise pigs for meat and rotate them through the forest regularly. We also have a motley pack of dogs including our two farm guard dogs/love bugs Falcor (Maremma) & Yeti (Great Pyrenees).
Our long term goal is to cultivate the farm as a model of sustainable and appropriately-scaled agriculture and as a whole and self-sustaining organism.Job Description
The Swallowtail Apprentice Program is designed to empower the next generation of farmers. Apprentices should be passionate about farming as a career and will learn to carry out all aspects of farm operations – soil amendment and revitalization, propagation, planting, weed management, pest management, floriculture, irrigation, the use of tractors, implements and other machinery and tools, customer relations, packing, delivery, billing, groundskeeping, maintenance, communications, & pastured livestock management. The position begins September 1st and ends June 30th. Orientation is September 5th - September 7th. There will be a one month trial period during which time both farm managers and apprentices will determine whether the fit is right for all.
Skills & Qualifications
- Passionate about a career in farming
- Able to lift and carry 50 lbs and work outside in adverse weather conditions
- Patience, flexibility, strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Current driver’s license and a solid driving record
- Familiarity with power tools/carpentry a plus
- Tractor familiarity a plus
The daily work schedule is 6:45 AM-4:30 PM with these notable exceptions:
Animal chores often begin as early as 5:00am. Apprentices will rotate through animal chores.
Breakfast preparations begin at 5:30, to be shared at 6:15. Apprentices will rotate through breakfast preparation.
This may be adjusted according to seasonal workflow with slightly shorter work days in the first and last month of the season. Each week the task of preparing breakfast is rotated among the team. Everyone is expected to be finished eating and ready for the morning planning meeting promptly at 6:45AM. We will enjoy one hour for lunch. Preparing lunch is rotated among apprentices and is expected to be prepared in 1 hour. This can be challenging. Cleanup from lunch is the responsibility of the cook, but everyone will wash their own plate, utensils, mugs and cups. Cleaning expectations are posted in the barn and will be reviewed in detail.
Apprentices are expected to work 5 days per week on the farm, at least 1 Saturday market per month and all Saturday Farm to Table dinners and Fall & Spring Festivals. Apprentices can expect to work with Nicholas, Mattie, Noah, Mariana or Joelle, about 60% of the time and expect to work independently about 40% of the time.
We host dinners monthly beginning in October and ending in June, with the exception of our festival months, November and April. Farmers Market and CSA distributions occur on Wednesday evenings from 4-7, Fridays from 4-6, and Saturdays from 8:30-noon. Farmers Markets and CSA distributions are rotated among apprentices and staff, and apprentice responsibilities will grow during the course of the season.
Apprentices take part in our weekly chore rotation including, greenhouse management, animal care taking, preparing breakfast, preparing lunch, and maintaining cleanliness in the barn, and general tidiness of the farm as a whole. Detailed expectations for each of these chores is posted in the barn. Some chores, such as animal care taking and greenhouse management, carry through over the weekend. Apprentices are free to barter or exchange with one another to cover those chores. Morning farm chores take place outside the scheduled work day. On certain days, the farm team will put in extra hours to accomplish a time sensitive task. We will do our best to give advance notice of this whenever possible. We value both our working time and our leisure time, and will do our utmost to cultivate a high quality of life for all at the farm.
Swallowtail strives to serve as a robust educational resource to the community, and maintains an open door for volunteers at the farm Monday-Friday 8-4. Apprentices will have the opportunity to work with and direct individuals or groups of volunteers on small or large projects throughout the season.
There are opportunities for additional paid work experiences on the farm, including weekend and evening educational programs and events, weddings, etc. These opportunities are encouraged but not required.
Apprentices can take 10 days off for personal reasons and 5 days off for illness/emergency without impacting their compensation. It may be possible to trade weekend/evening work for additional personal days off as needed, but this is on a case by case basis.
Fieldwork will begin promptly following the daily 6:45am meeting. Our main harvest and processing days are Tuesdays and Fridays, although small amounts of harvesting may take place each day to keep up with our CSA, market, and wholesale orders. We race the sun to get as much product out of the field before noon! Afternoons are spent processing, packing, delivering and catching up on fieldwork. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to everything else that needs to happen on the farm including seeding, weeding, planting, irrigation work, and other projects.
There is much more information on our website. Please be sure to read it thoroughly before applying!