Do you have a passion for food production? Did this summer’s HRT 134 Food Production course start a passion you’ve yet to professionally explore? Well if so, Oak Spring Garden Foundation has the opportunity for you! Oak Spring Garden Foundation’s Biocultural Conservation Farm is now accepting applications for two (yes that’s right TWO!) full-time seasonal farm apprentices! This could be your opportunity to satiate an educational hunger while feeding others! This position is also eligible for HRT 297 Cooperative Education Credits, so if you’re still looking for something to fulfill this graduation requirement, look no further!
Biocultural Conservation Farm – 2023 Farm Apprenticeships
Oak Spring Garden Foundation is now accepting applications for two full-time seasonal farm apprentices to work on our Biocultural Conservation Farm. These positions will begin early January 2023 and will go until December 2023. The selected individuals will work at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation’s Biocultural Conservation Farm (BCCF) to assist with the production of vegetables to be used on site, for our small Community Supported Agriculture ‘CSA’, and to be donated to local food banks. In addition to working on the BCCF, both positions will work with our Arboricultural, Conservation and Landscape team for the months of January and February to assist with winter fruit tree pruning and invasive species management. These positions are ideally suited to recent college graduates (not required) with a passion for food, farming, plants and landscapes who are looking to gain hands-on experience with small-scale, ecological farming practices.
|Schedule:||Full-time (40 hours/week); January 2023 – December 2023|
|Pay Rate:||$16/hour +optional onsite housing (see note below).
Paid holidays and up to 10 days of PTO are also provided.
Please note – onsite accommodation is provided in comfortable housing that will be shared with other apprentices/interns. Visitors are welcome, however, no pets or significant others are allowed to live in onsite housing. Additionally, the selected individuals are required to bring a vehicle.
|Location:||Upperville, VA; The Oak Spring estate is located in rural northern Virginia, 15 minutes from the nearest town and approximately 1 hour west of DC.|
|To Apply:||We will begin reviewing applications October 1, 2022 and will continue until both positions are filled. To apply, please email a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “BCCF 2023 Farm Apprenticeship”.|
ABOUT THE OAK SPRING GARDEN FOUNDATION + BCCF
The 700-acre Oak Spring estate is located in Upperville, VA – which is nestled in the Virginia Piedmont, between the Blue Ridge and Bull Run mountains. The foundation’s mission is to support fresh thinking and bold action on the history and future of plants, including the culture of gardens, and landscapes and the importance of plants for human well-being. Our Biocultural Conservation Farm (BCCF) plays an important role in fulfilling this mission. Established in spring of 2019, the BCCF’s current objectives are rooted in food production, conservation and education.
To date, the BCCF has donated more than 50,000 lbs of fresh produce to several food banks and initiatives in our community. Additionally, we run a small Community Supported Agriculture (‘CSA’) program over 25-weeks from May-October in which customers pick-up a curated share of fresh vegetables once a week on the farm. The BCCF also focuses on providing our visiting artists and scholars in residence with access to produce grown on the farm during their stays here.
Due to our unique geographical location and the agro-biodiversity and cultural foodways that exist within this region, we are very interested in growing and preserving heirloom crops that have a cultural and historical significance. In addition to the high-intensity, ecologically grown vegetable production on the farm, we also have several plots dedicated to production of seed as well as plants used by humans for natural dyeing, papermaking, fiber, medicine, and more. Much of the work week is focused in annual food production, however, applicants should expect to spend a portion of their time in the seed saving/natural dye/fiber/medicinal herb gardens – harvesting and processing materials, planting, weeding, etc.
Apprentices will work 40 hours/week Monday-Friday, January – December. Each apprentice will additionally work one weekend per month, which would be followed by time off later that week to compensate for the hours worked over the weekend. CSA distribution days are managed by two team members each Wednesday, May – October, and are rotated monthly. On these days, team members should expect to work a longer day, followed by a shorter work day the immediate Friday.
Both farm apprentices will begin working with our Arboriculture, Conservation and Landscape (ACL) Team for the months of January and February. At Oak Spring, the ACL team works to manage and maintain our estate in an environmentally conscious manner so as to provide habitat for diverse plants and animals. We seek to actively manage the land to exemplify sustainable practices, promote biodiversity, and provide opportunities for the people who engage with us to learn about horticulture, and arboriculture. Since 2016, we have reforested 15 acres, planted over 10,000 trees and shrubs, restored 12 acres of abandoned horse pasture to native grassland ecosystems, removed invasive species from over 50 acres, decreased our regularly hayed and mowed acreage by over 50%, and have installed over 20 birdhouses, while setting aside over 100 acres of grassland for nesting birds.
During their time with the ACL team, the seasonal farm apprentices will gain experience with winter pruning of fruit trees, invasive species removal, and general winter landscape maintenance. Additional Biodiversity Management tasks may present themselves including sorting images from camera traps deployed around the property, monitoring and cleaning bird nests, etc. During this time, the individuals will spend 1 day/week with the BCCF team on the farm, and will be expected to help with chicken and greenhouse duties one weekend a month. The apprentices will transition full-time with the BCCF when the vegetable season kicks up again in early March.
Work closely with the Biocultural Conservation Farm (BCCF) Farm Manager and team in all farm-related responsibilities, to include:
- Proper care and ongoing maintenance of the production fields, production greenhouse and hoophouse, seed-saving and utility plant plots, cold frames, native pollinator plots, appropriate trees and open spaces.
- Actively participating in all facets of small-scale food production including: bed preparation, planting, watering, weeding, pruning, spreading compost, mulching and propagation of cultivated species.
- Harvesting, washing, packing, weighing, and delivering of fruits and vegetables.
- Managing CSA pick-up for 8-10 weeks out of the 25-week CSA season with one other team member, and in rotation.
- Maintaining a clean and safe workplace within the BCCF Pack House (outdoor wash station, pack room and walk-in cooler), as well as the greenhouses. Maintenance to include: sweeping, mopping, cleaning and sanitizing of tabletop surfaces, harvest bins and tools, sinks, wash tubs, etc.
- Assist with the maintenance of the seed-saving and utility plant plots (bed preparation, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting and cleaning of seed, etc.)
- Assist in the proper care and maintenance of our pastured poultry flock to include: feeding, changing water, harvesting eggs, letting the flock out of the coop in the morning and putting them up later in the day, observing for injuries or illnesses, etc. This may also include assisting in taking some of the birds to be processed for meat.
- Work one weekend a month from January – December – weekend duties include taking care of chickens, managing field and greenhouse irrigation, light harvesting and washing of vegetables (depending on season), mowing, etc.
- Willingness to learn the use of light and heavy equipment and exercise safety precautions when using. Equipment may include: farm pick-up trucks, a BCS two-wheel walk-behind tractor, weed-eaters, tractors, leaf blowers, riding lawn mower, etc.
- Willingness to assist in any OSGF and/or farm-related ticketed events as needed.
- Engaging with the BCCF volunteers while they are here for their weekly shifts in a positive and welcoming manner. Assisting in answering their questions and demonstrating proper techniques for the assigned task.
- Assist in sharing photography and BCCF updates with the Farm Manager and the OSGF Communications Team.
- Other projects as assigned by the Biocultural Conservation Farm Manager.
- Demonstrated interest and passion for food and farming. Experience working on a farm/university farm/market garden/etc. is a plus, but not required.
- Ability to meet physical requirements of working outside, in varied weather conditions (including extreme heat and cold, rain/snow/humidity) in a working farm setting.
- Ability to do repetitive tasks for long periods of time (e.g., weeding, mulching, etc)
- Ability to work quickly, efficiently and thoroughly in every assigned task.
- Ability to work independently and also as part of a team.
- Excellent time-management, communication and organizational skills.
- Dependable, collaborative and supportive team player.
- Ability and willingness to operate machinery.
- Must have physical stamina to participate in rigorous outdoor activities.
- Ability to exhibit safe and responsible conduct in outdoor environments.
- Willingness to adhere closely to COVID-19 working practices, and must be willing to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
- Ability to lift at least 50 pound
- Must have a Driver’s License and a vehicle.
To be considered for this apprenticeship, please email a resume and cover letter to email@example.com with the subject line “BCCF 2023 Farm Apprenticeship”. We will begin reviewing applications October 1, 2022 and will continue until both positions are filled.
Oak Spring Garden Foundation is an equal opportunity organization and will not allow discrimination based upon age, ancestry, disability, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, race, religious belief, sex, sexual orientation, marital st