Looking for a farming apprenticeship in the Kootenays? Check out Intentional Peasants in Edgewood, BC!
About Intentional Peasants
We operate an 80 acre mixed farm nestled in a beautiful mountain valley in the northwest Kootenays, blessed with great soil and plenty of water.
We are primarily vegetable growers, with an abundance of veggies through the summer and fall for a small CSA, local farmers markets, restaurants and stores. The focus is on storable root crops, which we continue to sell throughout the winter. We also have a small apple and plum orchard.
We have a small herd of cattle that we raise for grass-finished beef and home scale dairy. We use draft horses and human labour as the main power sources on the farm, but also utilize a tractor and power tools when appropriate. Much of the cleared property is in pasture and hay.
We follow sustainable farming practices, not using pesticides or artificial fertilizers. We work within the ecology and limits of the land, building soil with manure, compost, and cover crops.
We keep things simple, favouring low tech and human or animal powered solutions. The farm is off grid, and we try to keep our impact on the land light.
Do you want to learn some serious farm skills? Are you interested in eventually starting your own farm business on a small budget? This is a great opportunity to learn how to run a successful market garden, valuing labour over capital.
We are looking for an enthusiastic, high energy and hard working person or couple. Some farm, garden or manual labour experience is an asset but not essential. Ideally we are looking for someone who has worked on a farm before and knows that they want to pursue farming as a career.
Be prepared to put in long hours in all weather conditions with early morning starts. Good physical fitness and a positive attitude are essential. Having your own vehicle is helpful, both for attending farmer’s markets and for taking time away from the farm, which is fairly isolated.
We mostly need help in the garden. In the spring there is lots of planting by seed and transplants. Plenty of weeding to be done through the spring and summer by hand, hoe, and horse cultivator. Sprinklers often need to be moved daily in the dry season.
Harvesting begins in mid June with greens for our CSA and continues steady into late fall, by then we’re into the heavy work of taking tonnes of carrots and potatoes out of the ground. Apprentices can earn income by attending a small farmer’s market in another community independently, a great chance to learn marketing skills.
Helping with haying season in July is essential, much of the hay is dried loose for quality and we need a lot of help raking and pitching it.
There is opportunity to work with our draft horses in the garden and field, learning how to harness, lead, drive and care for them.
The primary work with the cattle is fencing. We always need help maintaining permanent fencing, an excellent skill to learn. We are also experimenting with rotational grazing, which means time spent moving electric fencing, monitoring pasture health and herding. If there is a cow in milk we also appreciate help with daily milkings. Cleaning manure from the barnyard is another cow/horse chore.
Other tasks might include maintenance and construction of outbuildings, maintenance of water system, managing invasive plants on property, and processing food for value added products such as sauerkraut and cheese.
Duration: We would like apprentices to start in April or May. A full season commitment is preferred. Harvest season extends into the late fall, usually mid-November.
Weekly hours: This negotiable, we expect a minimum of about 20 hours a week for room and board, but rewards are greater for people able to work full time of about 40 hours a week.
We start early in the morning for garden work, and often work split shifts in the heat of the summer, taking a mid day siesta and returning for evening tasks such as picking peas and beans and moving irrigation.
Stipend: For someone working full time we will also provide a negotiable modest stipend for basic living costs. You can earn additional income by selling produce at a small farmer’s market in a neighbouring community. You are welcome to get creative direct marketing produce in other outlets as well. There may be an end of season bonus for great work.
Accommodation will be in a camper trailer on neighbouring property a short walk away. Or you can get creative and bring or build your own shelter, such as a trailer, tent, van, yurt etc. We will provide food from the farm including vegetables, meat, dairy, and eggs from the neighbours, and bulk staple foods such as pasta, flour, rice and beans. Some meals will be taken with us, often lunch and sometimes dinner. We may be able to accommodate dietary restrictions.
We will generally be working directly with apprentices, especially to start. Over time with lots of instruction we expect that apprentices will be able to work semi-independently when needed. We feel that learning by doing is the best way, with plenty of discussion as we go.
We also have lots of farming books available. If specific skills are desired from other farms in the community we can help facilitate that.
Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 250-269-7595 some basic information about yourself, any previous farming experience, and what you hope to get out of an apprenticeship. We will set up a phone call and go from there. We won’t be able to commit to anything till we meet in person and spend time working together.
View other farm jobs and apprenticeships here.