POSITION FILLED: The Neighborhood Farm hiring Apprentice Farmers


Needham, Massachusetts

The Neighborhood Farm is a collection of market gardens in and around Needham, MA.  In 2008 we started growing in five back yards because we couldn’t find available farmland in the Boston suburbs.  Homeowners lent us a portion of their yards and we used them to grow vegetables herbs and flowers – all without synthetic inputs of any kind.  The number of sites and logistics made us decide against pursuing organic certification.  We had less than ¼ acre in production the first year, but managed to grow a lot of produce.

Since then we’ve grown a lot – adding and subtracting gardens from year to year as our needs and our garden hosts’ needs changed.  We now grow on about three and half acres and sell our produce at three local farmers’ markets, to restaurants, and through our Farmers’ Market CSA.  Currently, we have six gardens located in private yards.  We also lease a larger site from The Trustees Of Reservations.  Our gardens range in size from 400 square feet to about three acres.  For the 2013 growing season we will be based at Powisset Farm in Dover and will be working at garden sites in Medfield (on the Dover line), Needham and Dedham.

We do the majority of our work by hand or with a walk behind BCS tractor.  Even though we are growing on more land now, we still plant all our garden spaces intensively in an effort to maximize our growing space.  We grow a lot of food on a relatively small amount of land.

As a family owned small business, we are committed to helping others prepare to start their own farming and gardening operations.  We love to work with people exploring the possibilities of starting their own enterprises, and with people who are just looking for more experience in farming and gardening.

This year we are looking for 3 apprentice farmers.

The apprentice positions are designed for someone who is interested in learning, or continuing to learn, about gardening, farming and small family farm management.  Apprentices will work with the Farm Managers/Owners on all aspects of vegetable, herb and flower production and marketing.   These tasks will include, but are not limited to, planting, weeding, irrigation, greenhouse work, harvest, washing and packing, and work at farmers’ markets.
One of our goals is to educate and inspire new farmers and gardeners.  We aim to show apprentices the ins and outs of running a small market garden business that operates on borrowed/leased land.  The unique structure of our farm makes our operation somewhat different than other local farms.  We encourage apprentices to ask a lot of questions and take advantage of the books and resources we have.  We can also arrange for apprentices to attend weekly CRAFT workshops and farm tours conducted by a network of local farms.  CRAFT is a wonderful educational opportunity as well as a great place to network with other farmers and apprentices.

We are looking for someone who is flexible, easy to work with, open minded, responsible, productive, and who has a good sense of humor to see them through the challenges of farming.   Apprentices must also have reliable transportation.

The work can be physically challenging as we do the vast majority of our work by hand.   The workday is often intense, but is (generally!) rewarding.  We will be working outside in all weather conditions.  The hours will vary by season, but can be long (between 35 and 50 hr/week).  Apprentices will alternate between a Monday through Friday schedule and a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with weekend greenhouse duties once a month.
Our 3 apprenticeship positions have 3 different start dates.  A commitment for the entirety of the chosen period is required.  There may be an opportunity to make the season longer if desired, starting earlier in the spring and ending later in the fall.

The first position runs from April 29th through November 1st.

The second position runs from May 13th through November 1st.

The third position runs from May 28th through November 1st.

Compensation: $400/week, large farmers’ market CSA share, and Workman’s comp. insurance.  Additionally apprentices will have 5 paid sick/personal days to use over the course of the season.  Any unused personal days will be bought back at the end of the season at a rate of $80/day.  Unfortunately, we cannot provide housing.


To read more about our farm, please visit our website www.theneighborhoodfarm.com.  You can also a read a longer article about us on Farm Aid’s website www.farmaid.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=qlI5IhNVJsE&b=2723875&ct=12742697&notoc=1