APPRENTICESHIP: PEMBERTON, BC – Rootdown Farm

Posted by Michalina Hunter on February 04, 2019

rootdown farm

Rootdown Farm in Pemberton, BC is seeking an intern for the 2019 season! 

About Rootdown Farm

We are an organic farm nestled in the Pemberton Valley among the Coast Range mountains of BC. We grow a variety of vegetables and market them locally to the Pemberton and Whistler communities through a weekly CSA Harvest Box program, restaurants and grocery retailers. We are committed to providing the finest of Pemberton produce and enjoy good food and hard work.

Our farm team is responsible for planting, weeding, harvesting and processing 25+ varieties of vegetables. Additionally, we grow about 1 acre of seed garlic.

Rootdown Farm is Certified Organic and has been in operation since 2009.  We are a female owned and operated company who believe in providing quality produce and service to our farm family and our larger customer community.  We enjoy hard work, team effort and strive for balance in an intense growing season.

Desired Qualities

We are in search of a hard-working, self-motivated, teachable individual (or couple) for a season-long internship who is keen to learn about the details of small-scale organic vegetable farming and marketing. The discipline of farming requires a diverse set of skills, including resourcefulness and a positive nature. We desire team members who enjoy the satisfaction of a job well-done, and are committed to providing a great product and service to our customers in a timely and efficient manner.
All farm-team members work outside regularly doing repetitive tasks with dirty hands, and/or sweaty labor in soaking mud. We rely on everyone to be able to contribute in all environmental conditions (rain, heat, bugs, etc.). We require folks to be healthy and physically fit- capable of lifting 40lb loads, and working long days in all weather. Previous experience in these challenging conditions is an asset.

rootdown farm

 

Internship Tasks

Basic Expectations of an intern:

  • Displaying a task-focused and detail-oriented approach to daily duties.
  • Maintaining a strong work ethic.
  • Effectively communicating; being open and honest and displaying a commitment to resolving conflict in a productive and mature way.
  • Arriving punctual and prepared to work while being aware of our flexible schedule as the weather and daylight change (Start times vary throughout the season from 6 to 8 AM depending on temperature and daylight).

What your days will be like here:
Vegetable farming tasks are always in a dynamic flow with the passing seasons. Initially, the focus of the work will start with seeding and field preparation, then progress to the weeding and watering of mid-season, and continue to ramp up as the harvest abounds. Farming requires a constant change of skills, and the intern’s learning curve will be steep, especially at the beginning, with the introduction of many new concepts, techniques and practices.

Although, many of our staff will not start until early May, we offer the earlier mid-April start for the internship to allow time to learn our crop planning process and an understanding of the flow of the season. This spring-start will begin with seeding in the germination room and maturation in the heated greenhouse, followed by bed preparation, transplanting. Most of the farm area is planted in May while eagerly waiting some small harvest of early salad. Since we have many generations of transplants this basic process continues into mid-summer.

As spring turns into summer, we switch focus to the watering and weeding month of June. Harvesting, washing and packing increase exponentially as days lengthen. In the height of the summer, we focus on harvesting the majority of our crops, while also continuing the management of seeding, weeding, and watering of future generations. We begin the garlic harvesting, sizing, and drying by mid-July, while cleaning and storage is complete by the end of August. Mixed vegetable harvest continues through September and October, although orders begin to slow down and we start preparing fields for the winter and following spring. Garlic is planted in mid-October and this typically marks one of the last large projects of our season.

Throughout it all, we try to maintain a positive, open-minded, and fun work place with the flexibility to learn many farming techniques. We support diversity and inclusivity. Our neighbours are our friends.

Areas of Focused learning:

  • Crop Planning- individual crop plans, season long schedule and field maps
  • Greenhouse Seeding- germination, potting mixes, watering, etc.
  • Transplanting in field and pots
  • Bed amending and preparation
  • Direct seeding
  • Weeding tools and techniques
  • Irrigation systems
  • Crop plant maintenance, mid-season nutrient management, pruning and trellising, etc.
  • Pest Identification and management
  • Harvesting, cleaning and packing vegetables, post-harvest care and efficiencies
  • Harvesting, drying, cleaning and cultivation techniques of garlic for seed sale and culinary use.

rootdown farm

Internship Details

Duration

April 15-October 15, 2019
Sundays-Thursdays (Friday and Saturday are days off).

Hours

Generally, we expect that interns will work around 40 hours most weeks, although this may be less at the very beginning of the season, and a little more at the peak harvest of July and August.  Our work week will go from Sunday to Thursday (Friday and Saturday off). Start times will begin at 8-8:30 but will graduate to earlier as the day length gets longer and temperatures hotter.

Accommodation

We will provide a one-room accommodation- simply furnished, alongside a covered outdoor kitchen, composting toilet, and shower with on-demand hot water. Although there will be lots of free farm vegetables available, interns are required to purchase their own groceries, as to simplify any dietary preferences or allergies. Our operation spans a 10km distance from the town centre and the living site is 3km from town- bicycle transportation on the flat, paved, road is reasonable.

Initially there will be a two-week trial period to ensure expectations and arrangements are being met for the farm and the intern.

Stipend

Interns are paid a graduated monthly stipend ($500 for the first two months, $1000 for the following two months, and $1500 for the final two months).

rootdown farm

 

Instruction & Education

An early spring start allows for focused one-on-one time for the intern to gain a good foundation of skill. Likely, the first 2-3 months will provide the steepest learning curve for the intern and the time of greatest growth. Initially, working along side the farmer with lots of coaching and formal learning on crop and farm organization and seeding will provide a good foundation to build upon.  As we have been farming for 10 years, we have systems for many things around our farm.  Though, we are always striving to develop better systems and greater efficiency.  Farming is a life-long learning profession and although we have lots of experience to share, we are continue to learn as well.  Coaching and mentorship will also come from other farm staff as the season ramps up. We have a team of 5 returning full-time staff who offer a variety of farming  backgrounds to share.  By mid-season, the intern should feel competent and confident enough to do some basic skills alone, and should begin to provide their own observations, comments and dialogue to morning meetings and planning sessions. The ability to improvise, critically analyze problems and ask higher-level questions will also increase their learning.  Throughout the season, there will be bi-weekly check-in’s to establish focused areas for growth and resources for the intern.

Learning Resources

The farm has an extensive library on numerous small farm topics. We are also very lucky to be part of a community of local small-scale organic producers who are also available as a resource and there are opportunities for farm visits with the neighbours.

To Apply

Please include a cover letter describing your motivation to apply for this internship, and the specific skills/experience you have that match the work-description of organic vegetable farming.

Email to Simone at simone@rootdownfarm.net.

Thank you!

Learn More About Rootdown Farm

Websitewww.rootdownfarm.net

Facebookwww.facebook.com/Rootdown-Organic-Farm

Instagram: @rootdown_organic_farm

View other farm jobs and apprenticeships here. 

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