Apprenticeship: 10 Acres Farm on Vancouver Island

Posted by Sara Dent on December 23, 2013 2 Comments


10 Acres Farm, North Saanich, Vancouver Island, BC (22 km from Victoria)

Position: Farm Apprentice


Overview: 10 Acres farm is seeking two highly motivated, positive, hardy apprentices to help our farm team with all aspects of field-to-table food raising on this unique restaurant-owned, non-certified organic farm.

The Farm: 10 Acres Farm is (surprise!) a 10 acre mixed veggie-fruit-livestock farm located on the Saanich peninsula, Vancouver Island, BC. The small orchard includes plums, cherries, quinces, figs, persimmons, lemons, limes, apples, pears, nectarines, peaches, and apricots. There are also table grapes, black currants, blueberries, marionberries, loganberries, kiwis, and some strawberries and raspberries on the way. The livestock includes 3 honeybee hives, a flock of 80 laying hens, 30 pastured turkeys, 15 pastured pigs, and 100+ pastured rabbits. The mixed field crops are grown on 1.5 acres and include mixed veggies, herbs, 2 seedling hoophouses, 700 asparagus crowns, and flowers. All food raised goes directly to the restaurant and we process all restaurant food waste on farm for compost.

The Neighbourhood:  We’re on a gentle north-facing slope, surrounded by trees and other small acreages with an ever-changing view of Mt. Tuam on Saltspring Island. Within walking distance (less than 2km) are many kilometres of hiking trails through John Dean Provincial Park, ocean (Coles Bay), Panorama Rec centre, The Roost Farm bakery, and public transit stops to Victoria. Within easy cycling distance (less than 6km) are Sidney and Saanichton, two little towns that provide most daily amenities (groceries, post office, coffee shops, drug stores, hardware, public library, doctors etc.). We’re 22Km from Victoria and between here and there are many small bays, beaches, and inlets, a vibrant sustainable farm community, an extensive network of rural bike lanes, great folk music events, and lots of natural beauty to explore.

The Job Description: Apprentices will work and learn alongside a farm family with 8 years of organic farming experience and a farm worker team of 4.  You’ll participate in most aspects of food raising on the farm including:

-Field prep, amendment application, seeding, transplanting, irrigation installation and management, weed/pest/disease/soil fertility management, low-tunnel setup, mulching, cover cropping, harvest, post-harvest processing
-Orchard pruning and trellising
-Livestock breeding and care (feeding, watering, managing herd/flock health, egg collection and washing, other daily tasks) 
-Rotational pasture and perimeter fence setup, maintenance, and repair
-Compost turning and spreading
-Small and large machinery and tool operation
-Infrastructure and tool maintenance, repair and improvements
-Maintaining a clean and aesthetically pleasing farm appearance,
-Field and sales record keeping and data entry,
-Supply runs, and other farm tasks as needed


Preferred Qualifications:

-Some prior farm-related experience required
-Undergraduate degree, ideally related to sustainable agriculture
-Must be very physically fit and deeply enjoy hard physical work outdoors in all weather (frost, rain, wind, heat) for long hours 
-Excellent oral communication skills and conflict resolution skills
-Ability to balance efficiency and thoroughness in all tasks
-Attention to detail, cleanliness, and good aesthetic sense
-Highly self-motivated, positive attitude, adaptable, organized
-Ability to work calmly, prioritize tasks, and complete them under tight deadlines
-Ability to work well alone and in a team 
-Ability to troubleshoot problems with sometimes limited supervision
-Basic familiarity with Microsoft Excel
-Willingness to bring livestock animals to slaughter
-Basic experience with mechanics, carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work an asset 
-Family-friendly: respectful neighbours, comfortable with young children and dogs present on site 
-Respectful roommate: can peacefully co-exist in shared living space with another apprentice
-Can be present on site 1 of every 3 weekends for rotating livestock chores 
-Valid Drivers’ license

Additional Details:

Accommodation: semi-separate housing with wifi, full kitchen (sink, stove, oven, fridge, basic utensils etc.), private bed, bath, and sitting room provided in converted barn/house.  Bathroom and laundry are located in adjoining farm manager family house, separated from main living space by a door. Clothes washer/dryer shared with farm family, but bathroom (shower/sink/toilet) shared only amongst farm workers and apprentices.  Apprentices will need to provide their own cell phone (no land line in place).

Food: In season farm veggies and eggs provided. Basic staples and meal preparation are apprentices’ responsibility. Possibility for sharing communal lunches if desired.

Hours: 8 hours/day, 5 days/week (more in summer, less in off-season), with minimal off-hours work required for rotating animal care duties 1 of every 3 weeks. Some early mornings required.

Term:  12 months (with some time off Dec/Jan). Preferred start March 1, 2014 to May 1, 2014. Possibility of longer-term work extension for right person or couple.

Stipend: $1100/month

Who can apply:

We are a family-friendly, queer-friendly farm. Everyone is welcome to apply, including couples, same-sex partners, friend pairs, and parents (single or pair) with children. Parents will need to arrange childcare during work hours.

No smokers, no pets.

Pending funding approval, funder stipulations may require that preference be given to candidates who meet the following eligibility criteria:

-Under 30 years of age
-Canadian Citizen
-Graduated within last 3 years from a degree program in or related to agriculture, plant biology etc.

How to Apply:

Applications are welcomed until Wednesday, January 22, 2014. Successful candidates will be notified by January 31, 2014.  Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted and invited to tour the farm. Please send a resume and cover letter with your contact information included and indication of whether you meet the 3 funding eligibility criteria listed above to Andrew Rushmere

Email :

OR by mail:  1402 McTavish Road, North Saanich, BC, V8L 5T3.

BISTRO + 611 Courtnay Street |Victoria, BC | V8W 1B7

FARM + 1402 McTavish Road | North Saanich, BC | V8L 5T3



2 thoughts on “Apprenticeship: 10 Acres Farm on Vancouver Island

  1. Hi Wondering if you need a volunteer. I am out in Ontario helping with an organic sheep and goat farm and will be returning to Victoria the first week in August. I came out here to train with National coaches in dragonboating and will be finished by the end of July. I live in my VW campervan and own a home which I choose to rent out down in James Bay. I used to own the horsedrawn carriages for 24 years and when I sold it I took up athletic endeavours. Love to be up early with the animals and realized how much I missed it. So I am very self sufficient and just looking to be on a farm for awhile and be able to contribute. You can call me at 1 250 415 3051 or email me or check me out on facebook. Thanks. Dianne Donohue

    1. Hi there, are you still looking for apprenticeship farmers?

      Thank you.
      604 816 4987

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