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Farm Apprentice Many Forks Farm
- Date Posted January 28, 2019
- Location Clarksburg, MA
- Category Agriculture
- Job type Internship/Apprentice
MANY FORKS FARM grows flavorful, nutritious produce using sustainable, environmentally-sound methods to create a healthy and diverse farm ecosystem. The farm is located in a beautiful setting in Clarksburg, Massachusetts, along the North Branch of the Hoosic River in the culturally rich Berkshires just south of the Vermont state line. The farm has 2 acres in intensive cultivation of more than 175 varieties of 50 different vegetables, as well as berries, flowers, herbs, and a small shiitake mushroom yard. With a community-centered vision for developing the local food system in the Northern Berkshires of Massachusetts and the surrounding community, Many Forks' produce is available through a 50-family vegetable CSA and local farmers markets. Partnering with local food access programs and individuals in the community, Many Forks offers 20% of its CSA shares at a reduced price to help make fresh, nutritious food available to everyone.
We work primarily with hand tools and the hand-tending of crops. Many of our methods are inspired by the approaches and tools developed by Eliot Coleman, Jean Martin Fortier and others — and working with these for our specific conditions, geography, climate, and community.
We are involved in a continuous process to improve and refine our farming practices. We use low-till practices and increase the fertility of our soil through cover cropping, the addition of compost to increase organic matter, rock powders to return lost micronutrients and minerals to the soil, and methods to increase microbial soil life. While not certified organic, we follow organic practices. No GMO seeds or plants are used, and we do use many open-pollinated varieties.
The farm has a propagation greenhouse for all our transplants and for an heirloom tomato seedling sale. Two rolling high tunnels and two moveable caterpillars allow us more protected culture for sensitive crops and possibilities for season extension. We will be in our 8th season in 2019.
For more information about the farm, visit the website:
FULL SEASON APPRENTICE: April - October
SUMMER APPRENTICE: May - September
Apprentices participate in all aspects of sustainable vegetable production, and work alongside the farmer while learning about crop planning, seeding, greenhouse monitoring and maintenance, direct seeding and transplanting, harvesting and prepping produce for market, weed control approaches, pest and disease ID and management, cover cropping, soil-building, compost-building & management, operating a walk-behind tractor, installing, maintaining and monitoring irrigation system and electric fencing, low-till and no-till techniques, season extension, CSA distribution, shiitake mushroom growing, microgreens production, selling at farmers' markets, promotion and PR aspects, community outreach and education, business & financial planning.
All apprentices should be interested in agriculture as a vocation, and in particular in intensive vegetable cultivation in a small farm setting with little mechanization. Some farm experience preferred. Flexibility in the context of the many factors that affect farming; enthusiasm for working with others as well as the public; valid drivers license and own transportation; ability to lift 50 pounds; a love of learning and working hard; valuing consistency and efficiency along with care and ambition to produce the highest quality product; and dedication to good humor in daily work even when the weather or repetitive tasks threaten to take you down. In taking on an apprenticeship, you are invited to enter the workings of a farm in all of its challenges, ups and downs, and moments of elation, heartbreak and disappointment, and of course, the great joy of growing food plants for others.
The apprentice work week is 45-55 hours/week with 1.5 days off. There is a shared rotation of weekend chore duties.
FULL SEASON APPRENTICE: $1000/month, plus housing, wireless internet, all utilities, laundry facilities, farm vegetables, workers compensation insurance, paid personal days.
SUMMER APPRENTICE: $850/month, plus amenities as stated above.
All apprentices living at the farm have a private bedroom, and a shared kitchen, bathroom and other living spaces. Other amenities include wireless internet, laundry facilities, and farm vegetables for personal use.
The farm is a member of the CRAFT (Collaborative Alliance for Farm Training) and the workshops offered at the participating farms through that program will be available to the apprentices as a part of their regular work time. Apprentices may request additional on-farm sessions targeted to specific interests that are scheduled outside of usual work time or for a rainy day. There is a small farm library and the farm subscribes to several publications. There will be dedicated time for feedback on the ongoing farm work and living situation as needed.