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Position: Intern - farmer
Type: internship with stipend, room & board (2017); followed by farming opportunity (2018)
Farm: Burdock grove
Location: Williamsford, Grey-Bruce, near Owen Sound, Ontario

Burdock Grove is a 30 acre mixed farm in Williamsford, Ontario. For the past nine years we have been raising vegetables, lamb, pork, chicken and duck for local families and chefs. This is our fourth year hosting an intern. Currently we grow vegetables intensively on 1/4 acre in permanent raised beds with two moveable greenhouses and extensively on 1/3 acre. We also intensively manage 40 acres of pasture with a small flock of sheep, a dozen hogs, several hundred broilers and a fall batch of ducks.

This year we are looking for an experienced person (or a couple) who would be interested in continuing on for the 2018 season as the principal farmer after completing the 2017 internship. For family reasons, we are not likely to be here very often in 2018, and the farm will be available for the right person(s) to steward.

This creates a unique opportunity.

For someone looking to incubate a farm business while gaining competence in some area(s) of farm management, this is a chance to do both of these things before owning your farm. We have hosted independent projects here in the past as part of our internship program, including turkeys and cut flowers. There are many others that could be good fits. This is an opportunity to supplement the modest stipend in year one while shaping your future business, which will then benefit from a second year of nurturing on our land base.

Ideally, the process would look like this:

Year One:

A fairly typical 6-month internship, learning the ropes of this farm.

  • 40 hrs /week from May to October working for Burdock Grove, engaging in all aspects of the farm: vegetable production and pasture management and all that those entail as well as marketing and administration tasks. The 40 hrs can be set up as 4 10 hour days, leaving the other three for your own project, and possibly also to have a life(!)
  • $100/week stipend, room and board provided (separate accommodation; most meals shared).
  • Mentorship in assessing your knowledge gaps and meeting your learning goals.
  • Access to existing farm infrastructure for use on your project: markets, tractor, garden or pastureland, tools, packing house, etc.

Year Two:

The farm is yours to use, and keep up while we’re away. On our end, at a minimum, we would require:

  • The garden rotations to be maintained, avoiding a buildup of weed pressure and continuing to improve the fertility status.
  • The health of grasslands to continue to improve.
  • Our Artisanal Chicken license to remain active.
  • Our seniority as a supplier in the food co-op to be maintained.

The income from the farm would be yours, as would the expenses. The farmhouse would be available for rent, and the mix of enterprises would be tailored to your needs and abilities. We would be available for regular check-in meetings during the season.

Additionally some time will be dedicated to the evaluation and planning of the farm’s future, both for the upcoming seasons and further ahead. This time will be split between meetings with the farmer and work done on one’s own, approximately one morning a week. Both can happen remotely, as this will be largely thru the winter months. This part of the job is a straight up work exchange: You gain the in-depth, on-paper case study to build your own business plan, in exchange for your help with some of the research/administrative tasks of the farm.

The Region

The farm is situated in the heart of Grey County, an area with much to recommend it to the upstart ecological farmer, including:

  • Reasonable prices for farmland and many opportunities for leasing land owned by others
  • A perfect mix of farms and forests drained by the Saugeen River
  • Access to decent sized local markets, and 2 hrs to the cities of S. Ontario
  • A rapidly growing network of young producers who are eager to co-operate and learn from each other
  • A burgeoning food culture and supportive clientele for local food.

The Farmer

Jason has 14 years experience in market gardening/farming, a degree in sustainable food systems, is a trained chef and is active in the EFAO and NFU. The farm was host to an EFAO farmer-led research trial last year, and hopefully will be again this year. Burdock Grove is also a founding member-supplier in an exciting new online food co-op that is exploring the next step in marketing local food.

If you are interested in the idea but not sure about both years, we would still welcome a conversation with you. While we hope you see the educational value of working a farm for more than one year, we acknowledge the need for flexibility in order to create an equitable arrangement for all parties.

If you think you might be the right person(s) for this situation, send a resume with references to:

Jason Hayes
cell 519 377 5025 mask*

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GoodWork ID: 37438       Date posted to Mar 1 2017