What to Expect on the Farm

What to Expect on the Farm

The apprenticeship is, at its core, a working-learning experience. The primary method for learning how to farm is through hands-on performing of tasks throughout the season. Each Monday we meet to discuss the goals for the week. Apprentices will also participate in some more structured education, including some classes, demonstrations, readings, discussions, and a farm tour or two.

Work Schedule

The schedule will vary some depending on the season, weather and work demands, but in general:

May

Monday – Friday 8/9 am – 5 pm

General field work

June – August (or as long as needed)

Mondays – 7/8 am – 4/5 pm

Overview of week; field work day

Tuesdays – 6/7 am – 4/5 pm

AM: Greens harvest and wash for restaurants, stores, market, individual orders, CSA

PM: Finish greens packaging; field work

Wednesdays – 6/7 am – 4/5 pm

AM: Harvest for restaurants, stores, individual orders

PM: Deliveries (1 person); field work

Thursdays – 6/7 am – 4/5 pm

AM: Finish harvest for market & CSA; general field work

PM: Market 2:30 set up, 4-7 pm in Enterprise (2 people); rest of crew – field work

Fridays – 6/7 am – done (5/6 pm?)

Harvest for market

September – October

Mondays– 7/8/9 am – 4/5 pm

Overview of week; field work day

Tuesdays – 6/7/8 am – 5 pm

AM: Greens harvest and wash for restaurants, stores, market, individual orders, CSA

PM: Finish greens packaging; field work

Wednesdays – 6/7/8 am – 5 pm

AM: Harvest and delivery for restaurants, stores, individual orders & Joseph CSA

PM: Deliveries (1 person); field work

Thursdays – 6/7/8/9 am – 5 pm

AM: Finish harvest for market & Enterprise CSA; general field work

PM: Market 2:30 set up, 4-7 pm in Enterprise (2 people) (last Th market Sept. 16); rest of crew – field work

Fridays – 6/7 am – done (5/6 pm?)

Harvest for market (last market October 6)

In addition, during the longer days of the summer when we start by 6 or 7 am, we will take a 20 minute mid-morning break (around 9:30/10) for stretching, water, and snacks.

Farmers’ Markets

Schedule:

Joseph: Saturdays, June through October, 10am – 2 pm (set up 8:30 am)

Enterprise: Thursdays, June through September, 4 pm – 7 pm (set up at 2:30 pm)

You will have an opportunity to assist in vending at the farmers’ markets throughout the season.

Beth and the crew leader will primarily manage the Thursday market along with one apprentice each week. This is a fun market that coincides with the Courthouse Concert series. You are encouraged to come check it out, listen to music, and help out if you’d like after your regular work day

One of the primary weekend responsibilities is vending at the Saturday Farmers’ Markets. Throughout the season you as an apprentice will always go to market with another person to assist you. Beth will do the first couple of markets with each of you and then you will attend market with either Beth, the crew leader, another apprentice, or a volunteer. We will rotate according to a prearranged schedule.

Weekends

Weekend responsibilities include vending at the Saturday Farmers’ Market in Joseph and managing the greenhouses and field watering. The goal is, per month, to give each apprentice two weekends completely off, one weekend with full responsibilities of attending the farmers’ market and watering, and one weekend assisting with the farmers’ market only. Weekend responsibilities will be handled on a rotational basis with some adjustments for scheduling needs.

One weekend per month each person will be responsible for managing the greenhouses and watering the fields. The plants don’t take the weekends off, so neither can we. Depending on the time of year and weather conditions, this may include close monitoring, requiring you to stay near the gardens throughout the day, or less frequent attention. If you are the designated waterer for the weekend, you will usually also attend market on Saturday. When you work both the market and cover watering for a weekend, you will get the following Monday or equivalent day off. You do not get an additional day off if you have attended market only.

Compensation

Stipend

Apprentices will receive a $600 gross stipend per month for the months they have worked from April through July. The gross stipend will increase to $800 per month for August through October. They will be paid at the end of each month. Payroll taxes are deducted from this gross, so the total take-home pay will be less than the gross. If someone works only a partial month, the stipend will be prorated for that month.

Worker’s Compensation

All apprentices are covered by worker’s compensation, so if someone is injured on the job, some portion of the medical expenses would be covered. I highly recommend that employees have their own personal health insurance in case of non-farm-related emergencies.

Food

Crew are entitled to their fill of vegetables from Backyard Gardens. Please check in before harvesting a new or limited crop for your own use. Otherwise, everyone is welcome to a reasonable supply of whatever they would like from the field or leftovers from the markets.

Lunches

During the work week, we will share a mid-day meal. Food will be provided by Backyard Gardens, though food preparation will be a shared responsibility. Each of us will take a turn at preparing lunch for the day. You will have 45 min. to 1 hour to prepare the lunch. If you wish to make something that requires more preparation time, you are invited to take ingredients home and do some advance preparations from home. If there are ingredients that you would like to request for a specific lunch that we don’t have on hand (within reason), please get a shopping list to me at the beginning of the week. Food shopping will generally happen on Wednesdays after deliveries. In addition, we can order larger quantities of foodstuffs monthly through a buying club.

We will take a one hour lunch break, unless the particular demands of the day require that we shorten the time. Ideally, we share this time together, though this is also a good time to take care of day time business, if you need to make phone calls or run an errand.

Cell Phone Use

You are asked to keep your personal calls to a minimum during the work day and in most instances limited to break or lunch times. I understand that there are situations that may warrant an exception to this, but please check in when these situations arise. Always, please be considerate of your coworkers. There are times when it may be useful to have your phone available for communication between crew members, so you are encouraged to have your phone with you. There is also a farm cell phone that the crew leader will have, which is intended for farm use.

Housing

There is no on-farm housing available, since we don’t own the land that we farm.  Each season, we assist apprentices in finding housing in Joseph or the surrounding area, often times in exchange for a CSA share, utilities, or a small rental fee.  We are committed to assist apprentices in finding affordable options.  BYG owns a travel trailer that is available for one individual.

PLEASE – NO SMOKING IN THE HOUSE OR TRAILER!

Time Off

You get 5 personal days off during the course of your apprenticeship. You may take your days off consecutively or separately. You will need to give ample advance notice and get permission to take the particular days. You may be denied certain days depending on farm activities and scheduling.

Catering

Throughout the season, I will have occasional catering jobs that will require me to be away from the gardens. Catering is part of how I make my living and therefore enables me to sustain my gardening activity. It is also part of the mission of Backyard Gardens to provide healthy, seasonal, local food for the community. At times this means a greater load of the field and marketing work will fall on you as apprentices. While I try to limit the disruption to the gardening work, it is inevitable that at times you will be affected by my additional commitments. I thank you in advance for your help on these occasions.

This also means that at times I may be in need of additional catering assistance. I pay separately for such work. If you are interested in additional catering work, please let me know.

Check-Ins

I’m excited to have this season to grow together. The apprenticeship and this farm are both evolving projects that benefit from your participation and your input. Please, please let me know when you feel that something can be improved or if something is wrong. I encourage good communication between us to facilitate the best experience for all. We will have occasional group and individual check-ins to evaluate how we are all doing in the season, but you are encouraged to give feedback at any appropriate time.