Floyd County, Virginia
Seeking apprentices for 2018 at Weathertop Farm in Virginia
Weathertop Farm is a small 62-acre family-owned and operated farm located in scenic Floyd County, VA. We are located just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and 14 miles from the town of Floyd, renowned for a thriving artist, music, and local food scene.
We are dedicated to holistic regenerative agriculture through multi-species rotational grazing and intensive management. No antibiotics or hormones are used, and all livestock eat from pasture that is free of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. Our diverse business includes raising and selling pastured chickens, eggs, pigs, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and lamb.
Weathertop Farm accepts 2-3 apprentices each year for the duration of our May – November season. We’re looking for folks interested and passionate about preserving sustainable agriculture systems within our local food-shed communities. Apprentices must be ready to work hard doing manual labor in all kinds of weather. We expect apprentices to put in approximately 40-50 hours a week on average, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the season & farm schedule. You can expect to work alongside the farmers for some tasks, and independently for others.
What we expect of you:
no previous farming experience necessary, but these are qualities we’re looking for:
-a positive attitude
-willingness to try new things
-enthusiasm & flexibility
-cooperation for working with others
-ability to follow directions
-ability to do manual labor
-ability to repeatedly handle & lift 50 lb feed sacks.
-basic carpentry or mechanical skills are a plus but not required
-good people-person, comfortable in a sales setting interacting with customers.
-no smoking, no drugs
-not being distracted by personal technology (cell phone, etc) during the workday.
-Commitment to the whole season from April through mid-Dec.
-Having your own vehicle is a plus, though not required (no public transportation available)
Our farm encompasses a diverse multi-generational community of family, friends, neighbors & visitors, from grandparents down to young children, all of whom participate with the farm at various times and in varying degrees, so patience, flexibility and understanding are a must. We care a great deal about our farm community and value diversity and equality and welcome anyone who is kind and conscientious to join our team. Couples welcome!
- Work will include but is not limited to:
Daily care of animals (morning & afternoon)
- Collecting & cleaning eggs
- Daily portable-fence moving
- Daily pasture-pen moving
- Handling animal feed in 50-lb sacks on a daily basis
- On-farm poultry processing (on average once-twice/week)
- Occasional building projects
- Farmers markets
- On-farm sales
What you can expect from us:
To learn about the nitty-gritty details of raising animals first-hand, and what the daily work is like on a farm as well as the bigger picture of how we plan for the year and how a pasture-based system operates. You can expect a lot of time from us for conversations about farming and related issues, and ample opportunity to ask whatever questions you have. Through this experience you can gain an understanding of the daily ups and downs and ins and outs of a farming season, and because of the diverse range of tasks we require help with (from raising animals to butchering to sales & marketing) we hope you would gain an understanding of how the diverse multi-species grazing operation of our farm is integrated into one business and functions as a whole. When possible we will do our best to cater to individual preference and teach you more about whatever interests you the most.
Private 2-bedroom attic apartment with full kitchen & bath (including composting toilet), heating & wifi. Furnished with the basics. All utilities included. To be shared by 2-3 apprentices.
We welcome apprentices to join us for lunch daily, and sometimes for dinner, too, other meals you will be responsible for yourself. You will have access to food that is grown on the farm.
Day(s) off: alternating Saturdays/Sundays off, and occasional weekday afternoons.
Several vacation days allowed, but must be planned around farm schedule.
Opportunities for education:
-Access to our farm books along with some recommended reading assignments.
-Opportunity to learn all about pasture rotational grazing
-Opportunity to learn poultry processing as well as marketing and sales
-Chances to visit with other farms and alternative food systems in Floyd
-Possible occasional workshops in the area
-Possibility for part-time winter work after spending one season here. This could also include a trip to a winter farming conference.
-If things go well there may be potential for full-time employment, only after you’ve spent a full season with us.
Opportunities for recreation & entertainment
-Meet other apprentices in Floyd to socialize & network with them
-The nearby town of Floyd has a thriving food, music & arts scene
-Proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway offers lots of options for hiking & camping
-Nearby Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech, is a great college town with lots going on
-Nearby Roanoke is an up & coming city with a broad range of offerings.
-Please read through all relevant information here as well as on our website (weathertopfarm.com) so you are familiar with our farm and what is involved in the apprenticeship.
-In addition to the written application, whenever possible, we will require an in-person visit, (which could be an overnight or weekend stay if needed). If not possible then we require a Skype interview.
-Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.