A season-long volunteer position at Sole Food Street Farms is for individuals with a serious interest in urban agriculture and social enterprise. The program provides each participant with the opportunity to spend a season working on an urban farming operation. Most of the education will be through hands-on experience and the skills learned will be focused on agriculture and social sustainability in an urban context.
About Sole Food Street Farms:
Sole Food is a Vancouver, B.C. -based social enterprise that transforms vacant urban land into street farms that grow artisan quality fruits and vegetables. Our mission is to empower individuals with limited resources by providing jobs, agricultural training and inclusion in a supportive community of farmers and food lovers.
Sole Food Street Farms is in its seventh year of operation with four and a half acres of land in production, 25 employees, and over 45,000 lbs. of food produced annually. We have four farm sites in and around the Downtown Eastside, including a privately owned parking lot and two city owned brownfields. We are modeling innovative ways of growing food in vacant urban spaces and in abandoned lots with contaminated soils. Our approach is re-envisioning and repurposing vacant lands to improve the food security of our local communities, while providing meaningful employment for people who face systemic barriers to accessing and maintaining traditional employment.
What does being a seasonal volunteer at Sole Food mean?
We have a diverse and innovative urban farming operation, which requires a wide range of skills: greenhouse seedling production, field planting, weeding and harvesting, produce deliveries, produce processing and preparing restaurant orders, serving our CSA shareholders and building and repairing infrastructure. You don’t need to have any background in farming or gardening but should be prepared for physically demanding work performed in all types of weather.
We aim to provide you with a well-rounded training in urban bio-intensive agriculture and farm operations, and expect you to pursue this learning. Besides the informal training that happens each day we will provide monthly seminars on various topics and opportunities for further learning off the farm.
- The program begins May 2nd and ends the week of September 26th.
- Your time commitment is approx. 24 hours/week, Monday through Friday, with some room for flexibility if help is needed at the farmers markets or with weekend chores. There will be weeks at the start of the season where days are very short and weeks in the middle of the season when days are a bit longer.
- The midseason work schedule starts at 6:30am with one-hour lunch breaks. We aim to end by 3:30 pm every day. The exception may be on harvest days or for special projects when we can work as late as 5 pm.
- We will go over the duties, classes and chore schedule at the beginning of the season.
- Be punctual; be prepared to work at the designated time, with the necessary tools, and proper clothing. Closed toed shoes are required at all time on the farm.
- A note about the seasonal volunteer program! Five months is a short time to learn about urban farming. Please make the most of this time and consider it a serious commitment of your time. You may request up to three days off during the season. In excess of those three days, we expect that you make up the time that you miss. Two weeks advance notice is required for time off requests.
- You will need: rain gear, rubber boots, a sun hat, and a water bottle.
- The volunteer stipend is $300/month and a weekly share of produce through our CSA. Our CSA shares are available for pick up on Thursdays between 2 pm and 6 pm. During your time as a volunteer, you will receive the employee discount of 50% off all produce at farmers’ markets.
- Stipends are distributed the last Friday of the month.
Our ideal candidate has:
- Physical ability to carry out farm tasks
- Lots of energy and highly motivated
- A mind for efficiency
- Open and positive communication skills
- A friendly personality and willingness to spend time with customers, chefs, and CSA members
- Interest in social enterprise
- Flexibility and a sense of humour!
Please submit a resume and cover letter that includes answers to the following questions:
- How does an agricultural experience such as this fit in with your future plans?
- What previous agriculture or community development experience do you have?
- What physical limitations might you have in performing farm tasks (bending over for long stretches, lifting, pushing heavy wheelbarrows)?
- Can you commit to five months?
- What other relevant skills do you have?
Please email a completed application and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Qualified applicants will be contacted for an interview.