We're a small, organic family farm in a happening community looking for 2-3 full time apprentices. Our season runs from April until mid November. We can accept some shorter term folks as well. We relocated our farm from Pennsylvania and 2013 will be our fifth season growing in Maine. We have been in the upswing of getting reestablished and are growing quickly. The 127-acre farm includes 40 acres rolling pasture and hay land, 3 acres of organic veggies and 75 acres of forest surrounding 3 sides of the property. Buildings include a farmhouse circa 1827 with attached propagation greenhouse, a barn with hay storage and livestock run-in, 3 greenhouses, brooder house, packing shed, potting shed and workshop. Modern ag has not touched this farmstead which still reflects and old way of life. Our western boarder is Wesserunsett Creek, a lovely wide waterway with canoe put-in and a still pond just a three minute paddle away. The town of Skowhegan, home of the Kneading Conference, is 4 miles down the road. The college town of Waterville is 18 miles southeast. We have a nationally recognized small, innovative farmers' market and community multi-farm CSA both running unique programs to increase access to local food. The Skowhegan Food Hub is up and going and becoming a model for others nationwide!
We are a low to medium tech farm that has used draft power in the past. Until we secure a team we cultivate with a funky, vintage Alis Chalmers G and do field prep with our 1977 John Deere. We normally tend Katahdin sheep and their lambs, however a new ram brought in a fatal disease which requires us to be sheep-free for two years. We integrate other animals in rotational grazing and fertility chains, namely 300 laying hens and several pigs each season. Andrew is a tomato grafting and protected culture consultant to greenhouse growers and we often use our hoop houses for interesting trials and definitely for season extension. All other work is done by human power along with moving our animals through their rotational grazing paddocks. We have an organic seedling production operation in the spring as well as hoophouse harvest, then our sites are set on field work, seeding, planting, harvest, harvest, harvest, pack out for market and wholesale, keeping crops healthy. Late summer and fall bring in the work of putting up as we have a line of sauces and salsas and dried herbs that we market locally. The work is diverse from day to day and might seem tedious at times... I like to say that farming is one non-glamorous task after another that, when you put them all together, make a beautiful, meaningful, feel-good whole.
We market at our local, active Skowhegan farmer's markets, our multi-farm CSA, area restaurants, local food shops, the regional hospitals and our soon-to-be on-farm store. We like to involve apprentices in market and usually have someone do the mid-week market on their own after a while. We are also involved with Transition Towns Skowhegan; a movement to re-localize our community's basic needs and increase its energy independence in the face of waning fossil fuels and climate shifts. We are sustainably minded and working each season to improve our self reliance. We just finished an earth bermed cold storage unit using the earth to cool most of the year and a coolbot in the hot months. Also, Ann sits as chair of the Maine Grain Alliance who puts on the annual Kneading Conference which supports the resurgence of grain cultivation and artisan breads in Maine and which inspired a similar conference in Washington state. www.kneadingconference.com This is exciting work and sometimes pulls her away from the farm, but sometimes pull the farm crew, too....wood fired pizza events anyone?
We apprenticed all over the country for 7 years before starting our own farm. We do not expect apprentices to do anything we haven't done a million times. That said, be prepared for hard physical labor, day after day. Some days are long, others aren't. We aim to give everyone one full day off per week. Often Saturday after market is free time, too. Farming is part of our livelihood based on what is actually grown and sold. All are expected to work quickly and efficiently and keep the pace of the farm. Expect to work in all types of weather and bring the appropriate work wear. We work 8-12 hour days varying throughout the season. Our son, Jasper, is starting to walk and will keep our farming mama busy so we are relying on our farm help heavily this season. Expect a lot of verbal instruction and expect your initiative, good attitude and common sense to be used and appreciated.
For full season folks, we offer a small stipend and access to produce, staples and items from our farmers market, our library, field trips, endless discussion and some beer. We accept short term/part time folks as well: work in exchange for immersion farming/farmstead experience and great room and board.
Living quarters is a Yome (yurt -dome, www.redskyshelters.com) or the upstairs of the farmhouse, a.k.a. the "apprentice wing. " The Yome has a propane cooking stove inside, water hauled in, sink, fridge, electric so is set up for meal prep. Formal bathroom and shower available in main farmhouse. Apprentices can cook for themselves but we encourage shared evening meals and rotate cooking duty and clean up. We are respectful omnivores (a.k.a. recovered veggetarians). All help out with upkeep of the common areas.
Visit us at www.onedropfarm.com
Love and dirt,
Farmers Ann and Andrew