West Virginia – Sprouting Farms hiring Apprentices

Talcott, West Virginia

Introduction:

The Sprouting Farms Apprenticeship is an advanced farm business training program designed to prepare students for the realities of owning, operating, and / or managing an agricultural business. We offer new and beginning farmers a supportive and intensive learning experience focused on economic, environmental and social sustainability. Apprentices matriculating into their second year can apply to the Sprouting Farms incubator farm where they can access land, resources, and guidance as they launch their agricultural business.

The Apprenticeship will run for a full farm season, between March 1, 2018 and October 31, 2018. You will complete 600 hours of paid on-the-job training over the course of the eight months, and spend another 200 classroom hours on related coursework and business development.

Participants will have access to a variety of growing spaces. Depending on your experience and your intention, participants will have access to outdoor growing space and / or a shared on-site high-tunnel. These spaces are meant to be used as a space to explore production techniques, potential marketable products, and any other approved business plans apprentices express interest in pursuing.

Sprouting Farms organizes farm tours and hosts educational potluck discussions to bring together friends from across the farming community. You will have the opportunity to meet and network with local farmers, community members, and agricultural professionals in the community.

Apprenticeship specifics:

The Sprouting Farms Apprenticeship is designed for individuals with a solid foundation of farm knowledge and skills; those who are looking to deepen their experience managing a successful farm business; and those with a goal of running their own farm enterprise. The majority of the apprenticeship will be focused on experiential learning, or learning by doing. Apprentices will be asked to apply diverse agriculture theories and practices, collect and analyze data, and use their findings to adapt and strengthen their final business plan.

The Apprenticeship is best understood when broken down into its three components.

1. Paid “on-the-job training.”

On-the-job training consists of learning the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed for apprentices to perform a specific task on a production site. This experiential skill development uses regular and existing workplace tools, equipment, and tasks to teach apprentices how to effectively observe, plan, evaluate and manage a production farm.

We are excited to offer our apprentices a small, subsidized wage for their on-the-job training. Apprentices will work approximately 20 hours per week at the Sprouting Farms production site and/or on mentor farm sites as the season progresses. Wages are $9/hour for up to 600 hours, or up to $5,400 over the course of the apprenticeship.

2. Related coursework.

In addition to the on-the-job training performed at the Sprouting Farms production farm and on mentor sites, apprentices will spend another 200 hours on related coursework. Related coursework is best understood as time spent in a more formalized, instructional classroom style learning. As an apprentice, your related training will have two main concentrations with additional space for electives that allow you and your cohort to pursue specialty and niche crops and production styles. Think of it this way:

Business courses. Business development courses are at the heart of the apprentice experience. We want to support you as you develop your farming enterprise. A six-module farm business course is taught by Dee Singh-Knights, an Agricultural Economics Specialist with WVU Extension, where you will learn to prepare enterprise budgets, evaluate market demand, and develop a five-page business plan. This course will be supplemented by workshops and presentations covering topics such as risk management, accounting, finance, access to capital for farmers, risk management and insurance, marketing and outreach.

Production courses. This classroom time is intended to augment your on-the-job training. You are expected to attend a carefully designed series of classes facilitated by WVU Extension Services, WVSU Extension Services, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Sprouting Farms staff, and other agricultural service agencies from around the region. Topics may include: soil fertility and integrated pest management; farm and production planning; succession planning, food safety and post-harvest handling; tractor and equipment safety and use; farm carpentry and building infrastructure; and the list goes on.

Elective courses. Apprentices will submit learning goals and a skills map at the beginning of the apprenticeship to be used as a guide for your experience. The Education Coordinator will review these documents alongside you and your cohort, and identify and connect you to experienced farmers and business owners in the area who can support your learning goals. This is a space to explore niche crops and specialty production techniques that you may not otherwise see listed in the syllabus.

3. Agriculture enterprise development.

Please think about this portion of your apprenticeship as personalized farm business support. The Education Coordinator is your advocate and will provide support and connect you to resources as you work through the business planning process. Over the course of the apprenticeship you will have the opportunity to connect with agriculture experts and local business owners in the region as you develop your business concept.

A business coach from the West Virginia HIVE, an initiative of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, will meet with you (individually and in group settings) on numerous occasions to mentor, guide, and support you as you develop your business plan. You are encouraged to use these resources to plan your business, develop creative branding techniques, and identify potential markets. At the conclusion of the apprenticeship, you will have the opportunity to present your business plan to a diverse community of your peers, mentors, and agriculture experts for constructive feedback.

A link to our application and website is here: http://www.sproutingfarms.org/apprenticeship.html

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West Virginia – Grow Ohio Valley hiring Sales and Aggregation Manager

Wheeling, West Virginia

Grow Ohio Valley is a non-profit social enterprise leading the charge to improve food access in the Upper Ohio Valley region.  We are looking for a Sales and Aggregation Manager to lead our sales team and oversee core income-generating initiatives. In this position, you will work closely with the executive director and a 5-member sales team, as well as a network of local producers and community partners. This is a full-time, salaried position in Wheeling, WV. Please review full description at www.growov.org/jobs and then send a resume and cover letter to sam@growov.org.

West Virginia – Sprouting Farms Appalachian Croft and Training Center hiring Apprentices

Talcott, West Virginia
Sprouting Farms Appalachian Croft and Training Center is currently accepting Apprentice and Incubator Farm Applications!
Sprouting Farms is launching our first season at the Sprouting Farms incubator farm in Talcott WV, located in the beautiful Greenbrier River Valley of West Virginia.
We believe that long-lasting impact is created by training new farms in quality and sustainable production techniques, and providing shared resources and educational opportunities to the whole farm community.
Our program focuses on providing farmers solid business management and production skills along with hands-on apprenticeship, mentorship, and the land and resources necessary to launch, experiment, and refine their farm businesses. Click here to download project overview.
Applications for 2017 accepted February 1 – April 29, 2017.

A Sprouting Farms apprenticeship offers:

  • Land and resource access
    • Growing space up to 1/2 acre and use of onsite hoop-house space
    • Access to tools, equipment, and other production resources through the Resource Sharing program
  • Farm business course
    • Course will meet twice a week throughout the season and includes hands-on classes and farm business, production, and record-keeping classes.
    • Opportunity to develop, refine, and field-test your farm business plan before launch.
  • Paid apprenticeship & farm mentorship
    • 400 hour paid apprenticeship $9/hr over the course of the season (up to $3,600)
    • Apprentices have the opportunity to complete apprenticeship with with mentor farms in the region
Qualifications & application: . Please visit: http://www.sproutingfarms.org/apply.html to learn more and download the  Apprentice Application Packet. Please send your apprentice application, and resume via e-mail to admin@sproutingfarms.org

Round Right Farm hiring Apprentices

Terra Alta, West Virginia

ROUND RIGHT FARM APPRENTICESHIP DESCRIPTION 2017

To farm is to believe in the miracle of birth, life and death. And to accept it all with grace.

OUR PHILOSOPHY

In its current state, the local foods movement needs more farmers. There is growing public demand for the quality and taste of locally produced foods, coupled with the recognition that current conventional farming practices lead to environmental degradation, loss of food culture and lower quality food.  Small farming, with its leaner footprint, focus on quality and diversification, and access to direct-to-consumer marketing, is re-emerging as a viable alternative to the “bigger is better” mentality that still pervades agribusiness.  But we still have lots of room to grow and improve our systems and numbers. Our desire to see this happen through a proliferation of ecologically responsible farms is what inspires Round Right Farm’s apprenticeship program.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Round Right Farm hires three full-season apprentices. Apprentices are provided on-farm housing for the duration of our farming season, which starts March 1st and goes through December 1st. We do not offer partial season apprenticeships.

Our main goal as mentors is to prepare our apprentices with the skills required to run a diversified farm and to demonstrate approaches that lead to success. By following our farming season from beginning to end, apprentices acquire the skills required to start their own farm. These include farming skills, as well as business and leadership skills. Learning takes place through a combination of hands on experience, intellectual-philosophical discussion and study.

Ideal candidates will show strong enthusiasm for food and farming, patience, persistence, consistent hard work, respect for teachers and teammates, humility, and an eagerness to put what is best for the farm and their teammates before their own personal desires. They will also view this learning environment as an investment in their future, understanding that what they get out of the experience will be in direct proportion to their investment in and acceptance of

Their responsibilities. One of the best (and hardest) parts of the apprenticeship lies in the amount of responsibility that our apprentices have. Although the environment is idyllic, candidates should also understand that this is not farm camp or simply an opportunity to escape the pressures of modern life. An economically viable farm is a production environment with high paced demands and expectations.

Apprentices work Monday through Friday, approximately 50 hours/week and are assigned to basic farm chores 1 weekend per month. If the weather does not permit planting on a Monday through Friday schedule, weekend planting work will be required. Harvest of time sensitive crops may also occur on weekends.

Apprentices are also assigned specialized roles for most of the season, and these roles will often have responsibilities that lie outside the normal workday. As our goal is to give our apprentices a realistic sense of the workload on a working farm, it is important that our apprentices cultivate the ability to view the day through goals accomplished rather than hours worked.

Housing and food are provided as well as a stipend of $350 every two weeks. One 4 day weekend vacation will be scheduled during Aug-Oct for each apprentice separately. Do not mistake this stipend as a wage for work performed; the stipend is provided to make it financially easier to attend this apprenticeship without increasing your personal debt. Take stock of your financial situation and make sure this will work for you.

Apprentice Roles on the farm

Apprentices are assigned to a leadership role in 2 of our 6 rotational veggie gardens. They start the season by laying out and planning these gardens on paper, finish the season by planting them into cover crops for the winter, and attend to all the details of vegetable production in between.

In May, apprentices are assigned to more specialized roles based on demonstrated aptitude and in consideration of the best fit for the needs of the farm. These roles are:

The Operator – Focus on equipment operation

The Nurturer – Focus on care of young plants and greenhouse/tunnel structures

The Provider – Focus on animal care and irrigation

Lessons and experiences vary over the course of the season, which offers many different opportunities to learn, practice and apply the acquired skills. What follows is a general outline of planned activities. Continue reading

West Virginia – Grow Ohio Valley hiring AmeriCorps Positions

Wheeling, West Virginia
Grow Ohio Valley is now hiring for AmeriCorps positions in Wheeling, WV!

Grow Ohio Valley’s mission is to transform the Ohio Valley through
improved food justice. This is achieved by a variety of programs,
including: organic urban agricultural production, school garden
programs, community supported agriculture initiatives, neighborhood
farm stands, and a traveling mobile organic market. The organization
emphasizes an innovative, agricultural approach to poverty and
encourages independence among its staff. Now completing its third
season, GOV has demonstrated a successful track record and proven
itself a positive change agent in the redevelopment of rust-belt
Appalachia.

Help improve social justice, community service and fresh, locally
grown food access throughout rustbelt Appalachia and sow seeds of
regional economic development. Grow Ohio Valley will be launching a
new 17-member AmeriCorps program in 2017. Members will integrate into
GOV’s core operations to expand initiatives. This will include
improving food justice and local food access, as well as facilitating
garden-based learning in schools and communities. As such, Grow Ohio
Valley is searching for an exceptional candidate to fill several key
roles.

Please visit http://www.growov.org/work-for-growov-.html for position
descriptions and to learn how to apply.

Mountain Springs Farm hiring Farm Manager

Pendleton County, West Virginia

Terms of reference: Farm Manager

Mountain Springs Farm

Background

Mountain Springs Farm and Heritage Center is a non-profit organization located in Pendleton County, West Virginia. The organization was founded in 1988 and our mission is to provide an experience that educates our community through sustainable agriculture & appropriate land stewardship.  We will provide opportunities to participate in responsible environmental leadership, growing chemical free food, & fostering a sense of community, while working together & enjoying nature. The farm consists of 561 acres in the Potomac River headwaters, and its facilities include a community center, a farmhouse from the late 1800’s, bunkhouses, barns and various other outbuildings

Mountain Springs Farm was formerly certified organic, used to be a cooperative school, a summer camp, and an experimental farm. In recent years it has been mostly vacant, but following the leadership of a new board of directors, the farm is poised to become a successful sustainable entity once again.

Objectives of the call

Our new board is seeking an entrepreneurial farmer or farming couple to carry out our mission and further several projects.

Duties and responsibilities

The farmer(s) would live at Mountain Springs Farm and oversee all aspects of the farm’s operations. Duties would fall in to two main categories.

  1. The farmer’s main responsibility is to manage the experimental production and marketing of products (crops, livestock, etc). The board will help the farmer develop a business plan and provide some start up resources. The profits of the operation will be the farmers to keep.
  1. The farmer(s) will also have 15-25 hours of volunteer work for the board each week. This work will fluctuate with the season and includes facility maintenance, educational outreach, seeking funding and partnerships for future growth. The stipend paid by the board will pay for this volunteer work.

Qualifications and competencies

Education: Bachelor’s degree in agriculture related field and 1 growing season on production scale farm, or 24 months or 3 growing seasons of experience farming at a production scale.

Skills:

  • Experience in all aspects of farming including planning, production and marketing.
  • Basic knowledge of mechanics including operation and repairs of farm equipment including tiller, tractor, chainsaw.
  • Basic knowledge of handy-man type skills like carpentry, plumbing, electrical work.
  • General knowledge of area and local farming practices.
  • Ability to maintain communication with board and partners, through written reports.
  • Self-starter who can work with minimal supervision.
  • Has own ideas for future growth and business ventures that would parallel farms mission.
  • Desire to become involved in the local food movement and community

Expected deliverables

The farmer(s) is expected to

  • Create business plan with input from the board. Said business plan will include 3-5 main agricultural ventures that the farmer(s) will focus on in the first 2 years.
  • Maintain farm buildings, grounds, and farm infrastructure (fence, water troughs, etc.) in a presentable and working manner.
  • Report monthly activities of business plan and farm maintenance.

Compensation

The farmer(s) lives on the farm for free and will be provided with phone, internet, electricity and propane. The farmer(s) will be able to use a portion of the farm for production at no cost for the first 2 years. The farmer(s) will also receive a monthly stipend depending on qualifications and experience. This will be for the 15-25 hours of volunteer work for the board.

Board

The board will provide oversight and guidance to the farmers. Our board members are all local community members and include faculty members from a graduate school, a public health expert, a wildlife biologist, a forester, the president of the local farmers market, a neighboring farmer and a local extension agent.

Duration of the work

2 year agreement with the possibility for a longer term contract. Start date is flexible.

How to apply

Qualified candidates are requested to mail their resume including contact information for three professional references, and letter of interest to Mountain Springs Farm at 41 Freedom Lane, Franklin, WV 26807 or email to mountainspringswv@gmail.com by July 31 2016. Please indicate your relevant experience and availability to undertake the terms of reference above. For photos of the farm check out our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/MountainSpringsFarmWV/.

 

Round Right Farm hiring Apprentices

Terra Alta, West Virginia

ROUND RIGHT FARM hiring Apprentices for 2016

Apprenticeship opportunity in Terra Alta, WV

We started Round Right Farm ten years ago, and have watched it grow from a 1/4 acre to 6 1/2 acres of vegetables, from 20 CSA members to 275, and from just a dream to a true reality. We are proud of having an economically viable small farm, and believe in the importance of passing on the skills we have acquired to others who are interested in making a living through farming. There are many skills that can be learned in the classroom, but farming isn’t one of them. We completed a six month apprenticeship on a farm before we bought our own land, and we feel strongly that the only true way to learn farming is to live and breath it.

Whether you’re someone who feels at home in the classroom, or someone who has always learned best through alternative methods, we can meet your needs. We offer an intensive hands-on learning environment, while we also provide access to our farming library, offer bi-weekly lectures and visits to other area farms, and encourage philosophical conversations about life and food on a daily basis. Our apprenticeship is based on the idea that you are trading your labor for our knowledge; instead of leaving our farm with college loans, you will leave us with skills that you can immediately put into action. Break out of your comfort zone, come see if farming is just what you’ve been seeking.  Check out our full apprenticeship description at www.roundrightfarm.com/pages/jobs and then give us a call.  We can’t wait to talk to you.

This is an eight month apprenticeship with a stipend.

Applications are due by February 15, 2016.