Farm Apprenticeship Amber Waves Farm
- Date Posted January 06, 2022
- Location Amagansett, NY
- Category Agriculture / Education
- Job type Full-Time
Amber Waves Farm is a mixed vegetable farm on the easternmost end of Long Island. The farm operates 25 total acres on three fields, raising 20 acres of vegetables, 5 acres of grains, and a small flock of laying hens. The farm’s production serves a 250+ member CSA and on-site retail farm market and kitchen, a nearby weekly farmers market, and local restaurant wholesale accounts. Amber Waves is located in downtown Amagansett and is a popular destination for families and foodies who visit the farm to shop in the retail market and tour the fields. The farm is deeply involved in intensive educational work with nearby schools and the public, which includes frequent field trips, tasting tours, demonstrations, and public events at the farm. While the farm is not certified organic, we do subscribe to the Northeast Organic Farmers Association’s (NOFA) “Farmer’s Pledge” program of growing fruits, vegetables, and grains sustainably and responsibly.
Amber Waves Farm is a fun, fast-paced work environment where we champion good ideas, hard work, common sense and cooperation. The physical nature of the work is both challenging and rewarding, as is the considerable time we spend interacting with the public both on and off the farm. The entire organization at the height of the season includes a staff of 70 people including farmers, educators, retail market staff, and kitchen staff. The farm crew typically consists of 10-15 people, a Field Manager, Crew Managers, first and second year apprentices, and part-time seasonal help.Internship description Position Details:
- Full-time (40-60 hours/week); one guaranteed day off/week
- $16/hour; covers paid learning/instruction time on-farm
- Farm housing available for rent (not on-farm but within walking/biking distance)
Amber Waves Farm apprentices will spend a season (early spring through late fall) at the farm learning how to grow food organically and sustainably by working hands-on in all areas of the farm's activities. Apprentices will coordinate with farm managers about day-to-day farm operations, from field work to farmers market preparations. In the field, apprentices will work towards mastering technical skills associated with plant propagation in the greenhouse, crop successions and rotations and soil health, harvesting and post-harvest handling, and tractor work.
In addition to field work, apprentices are actively involved in community outreach and education by preparing for weekly on-farm CSA pick up, representing the farm in our on-site retail market and the nearby Montauk farmers market, and distributing produce to local restaurants and food pantries. If desired, there is also the opportunity for apprentices to have greater involvement with school field trips, community workshops, and other public on-farm events. The intensive production of vegetables requires considerable hand-labor (weeding, harvesting, trellising, etc.), which is accompanied by mechanized (tractor) tillage, cultivation, and preparation of beds. The field work will be very physically demanding, and will require that apprentices are motivated and have a good attitude, can tolerate working in inclement weather, and able to lift at least 50-lbs at a time.
There is a tremendous amount to be learned in a first season at Amber Waves Farm, where hands-on fieldwork dominates the workday and daily repetition of critically important tasks are what drive an apprentice's holistic understanding of the farm operation. To supplement fieldwork, we provide an apprenticeship curriculum and handbook that outlines weekly educational topics throughout the season. We begin with topics associated with getting the season started: including pruning, mulching, plant propagation, seedling care, and equipment and safety overview. As the season progresses, topics include plant and soil health in the field, irrigation, harvest, post-harvest handling, marketing produce successfully, and finally whole-farm planning, budgets, and a season review. Apprentices will explore topics with farm managers during a weekly meeting, group field walk, and recommended reading assignments.
The farm also participates in the local CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) Program and throughout the season apprentices have the opportunity to attend workshops and lectures led by other farmers, tour neighboring farms and food operations, and participate in work exchanges. Attendance at the NOFA Summer Conference in Amherst, MA is also encouraged and paid for by the farm. Upon completion of the farming season, the aim is for each apprentice to have the foundational understanding and skill set necessary to move on to more advanced work in agriculture or food policy elsewhere, or to remain at Amber Waves Farm for additional seasons in a more advanced role at the farm as many past apprentices have done. Since 2012, more than 35 young farmers have completed our apprenticeship program, many staying on as farm staff for multiple seasons.
Ideal candidates will have the following qualifications:
- genuine interest in agricultural production, with the intention to continue a career in food or agriculture post-apprenticeship
- strong physical and mental work ethic and sense of pace and self-awareness
- ability and willingness to collaborate and work well with others, including coworkers and the public
- desire to learn and improve one's skill set and knowledge base
- prior agricultural experience is not required, although any work or study in the field of food or agriculture is a desirable attribute to apprenticeship applicants