Please review the How to Apply section for application instructions.
5 Dec 2023

Internship Vegetable Apprentice

Sisters Hill Farm – Posted by SistersHillFarm Stanfordville, New York, United States

Sisters Hill Farm logo

Job Description

Sisters Hill Farm is a beautiful, 400+ member vegetable CSA located in the Hudson Valley. Now entering our 26th year, we are seeking 3 apprentices for the 2024 season.   Apprentices will take part in all aspects of the farm, from seeding and transplanting, to tractor work, to harvest and customer relations. We take pride in being well organized and get great joy out of the beauty of the fields, the quality of what we produce, and the efficiency with which we gather and distribute it to our community.  Over the past 25 years, we have grown and shared more than 1.85 million pounds of high quality organic produce on less than 5 acres.  We are able to attain this level of production because we are keenly focused on creating systems that fit our particular site, customer base, and—importantly—our temperaments. 

But we are not only interested in efficiency; we care deeply about developing a healthy and equitable community.  The farm is owned and operated by the Sisters of Charity of NY, and we continue their 200 year mission of caring for those in need.  A central part of the farm is making delicious vegetables available to people from all walks of life, and each season we donate 10 percent of the harvest to low income families and soup kitchens. Our CSA members stick with us and become part of the farm family.  Our average member has been with us for nearly a decade, and we have some members still with us since 1999!

Ultimately, a farm apprenticeship can be your stepping stone to creating a future life growing food for a grateful community.  We’d like to be your guide in that journey!  Farming can be all-consuming, so we’re all about helping you find a way to envision a future farm that creates balance.  

Many things about Sisters Hill Farm are streamlined to help attain this balance. We started as a CSA in 1999 and it’s all we have ever done; we don’t go to farmers markets or sell to restaurants, and we don’t do home deliveries; 90 percent of our members come to the farm to pick up their shares, and the rest come to a single offsite pickup; members weigh and bag their own shares. 

With so few off-farm distractions we can focus our efforts on growing great vegetables efficiently.  We have a trusty fleet of 2 and 4 wheel tractors that make weeding a breeze, and our wash and pack areas are designed in such a way to minimize extra lifting and processing of produce.  There is a lot to do and a lot to learn for the apprentice ready to dig in and invest in their own experience. Check out our website for more information on the farm and the apprentice role.

 Desired Skills and Qualifications

– A strong work ethic with a sharp eye for detail and efficiency. Timeliness is important both for starting the day on the right foot and getting done all that must be done on the farm.

– Upbeat, able to find joy in simple moments, willingness to laugh and have fun.  We work closely together and camaraderie is part of the pleasure of farmwork.

– Proactive, both in tasks and your own education. Even if there is no explicit instruction happening, there are always opportunities to learn. Apprentices should be thinking ahead to next steps to help the whole team move efficiently.

– Team player. Communication is vital for understanding instructions and maintaining a comfortable work environment. We all work together and we all take turns with farm tasks.

– Able to perform physical labor. There are often long days spent in uncomfortable positions in a variety of weather. Apprentices should be able to lift 50 lbs, kneel for long periods, and be comfortable with repetitive tasks.

– A driver’s license and clean driving record.

Educational Opportunities

Farm Workshop Series: Every third week (10 sessions) we will have a one to two hour teaching session highlighting topics and skills that will be valuable to your progression as a farmer.

  • Designing solutions–how to approach solving problems and bottlenecks through the design/build process, how to think about efficiency and flow
  • Principles and practices of effective weed control
  • Metalworking basics–Measuring, marking, cutting, drilling, grinding, shaping, sandblasting, bending, and welding
  • Soil health–Principles and practices on vegetable farms
  • Basic woodworking–Essential tools and how to use them
  • Advanced woodworking–Starting from rough lumber or a log how do we make rough lumber square and true
  • Buying a tractor–considerations and what to look for?
  • Small engine maintenance
  • Crop planning, crop rotation
  • Bookkeeping 101–How we keep track of members, payments, and purchases
  • Optional open topic, apprentice choice!

Farm Management Practice:  Starting in  August apprentices will have the opportunity to implement what they have learned throughout the season by being “in-charge.”  After a Sunday afternoon consultation with Farmer Dave, you will manage the farm.  These management practice sessions will last for a week and will alternate between apprentices.  To best prepare you for running your future farm, there will be feedback sessions to evaluate your performance in order to help you better understand your strengths and challenges.

CRAFT:  The CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) program is a cooperative effort of local organic and biodynamic farms organized to enhance educational opportunities for farm apprentices.  Throughout the season different farmers will host the apprentices from participating CRAFT farms.  The host will give a tour and a presentation on a unique aspect of his/her farm operation.  

The farm visits last 2 hours often on Thursday afternoons, about every 2-3 weeks.  As it is an important learning opportunity, apprentices are encouraged to attend all events.

 Compensation

Apprentices are paid a wage of $15/hr, given free access to vegetables on the farm, and provided free housing on site. Work week hours vary as needed depending on weather and harvest conditions, though they generally are 40hr/week at the start of the season and become 45hr/week at the end of May. 

How to Apply

How to Apply

To apply, send the following to [email protected]

1) Please address these questions:

  • Tell us about yourself: your interests, your long-range plans, why you want to work on a farm.
  • What do you hope to learn?
  • Are you capable of long days of physical labor, often kneeling?
  • Any special considerations we should know about (diet, health)?
  • Do you have any previous related work experiences?
  • Tell us what you think of our program, our policies, and how you would fit into our farm.
  • When would you be available? Any flexibility?

2) Please include a resume.

3) Please provide 3 references we can contact regarding your learning and work style.

Job Categories: Farming. Job Types: Internship. Job Tags: csa, DIY, hand tools, tractors, and vegetable production. Salaries: See posting for details.

Job expires in 3 weeks.

Apply for this Job

Subscribe to Green Jobs List, our free jobs newsletter!

X