Thursday, May 29, 2014

Program Assistanct Position and the California Farm Academy

Program Assistant, California Farm Academy

Application Deadline: June 13, 2014, or until filled

Start Date: as soon as possible

The Center for Land-Based Learning is dedicated to creating the next generation of farmers and teaching California’s youth about the importance of agriculture and natural resource conservation. The California Farm Academy is an innovative training program and farm business incubator on 5 acres at the Center for Land-Based Learning. The Farm Academy teaches and mentors adult beginning farmers in agricultural production, business planning and marketing of specialty crops, poultry and livestock.

Background: The California Farm Academy consists of a seven-month training program that meets part-time in the early evenings and on weekends, followed by a farm business incubator component. In the farm business incubator, qualified graduates of the training program are eligible to lease plots of land at less than typical market rates for up to three years. The Farm Academy also provides opportunities for participants to network with established farmers in the region, gain the experience needed to become an independent farm operator or farm manager, and to find appropriate farmland on which to continue their farm business enterprises.

Students engage in over 250 hours of classes, hands-on field experience and farm visits in order to learn how to run their agricultural businesses and pursue a career in today’s complicated and exciting farming and food system. Since 2012, 61 students have participated in the training program and nine of them have leased land in the farm business incubator to grow and market specialty crops.

The Center for Land-Based Learning is hiring a part-time Program Assistant to work with the California Farm Academy at its 5265 Putah Creek Road, Winters, CA headquarters. This position will be responsible for assisting the Program Director and Farm Program Manager in implementing the field work portions of the training and farm incubator programs. The Assistant will engage in a combination of on-site beginning farmer technical assistance and farm field work. This is a position that works primarily outdoors, with a desk available in the barn, as well as access to a regular office, with shared computer, printer, phone, etc., as needed.

The Program Assistant will help the training and incubator farm participants as they carry out the daily
operations of a year-round diversified vegetable farm, including answering questions, showing techniques and problem-solving issues involving planting, cultivation, soils, pest and disease management, harvest and post-harvest handling, and possibly marketing and distribution. It will be the Assistant’s job to coordinate infrastructure and equipment use and sharing by the beginning farmers and to oversee compliance with the. The Assistant will keep the farm spaces used by the program, including the barns, greenhouse, and wash area, clean, organized, and in working order. This may involve basic carpentry work. The Assistant will be expected to use and maintain drip irrigation, farm tools and equipment, including a walk-behind rototiller, ATV, a John Deere 900 HD tractor and various implements. Field work will consist primarily of assisting the Farm Program Manager and students in irrigating and harvesting one acre of mixed vegetables.

The Program Assistant must be able to interact effectively with the Program Director, Farm Program Manager, the beginning farmers utilizing the site, and the other staff and groups which regularly use the property and buildings. The Assistant should be organized, work well as part of a team and independently, and have a demonstrated dedication to engaging in sustainable agriculture.

• Experience in all aspects of farm production for small to moderate-sized diversified vegetable operations.

• Experience operating and maintaining vehicles, tractors, and a walk-behind rototiller.

• Knowledge of Sacramento Valley agriculture and production systems.

• Experience in basic carpentry and irrigation system set-up and repair.

• Ability to lift 50 pounds and work outside in the elements, such as heat, wind and rain.

• Previous experience running a farm as a farm manager or primary operator.

• Knowledge of organic certification and production, and food safety requirements.

• Moderate computer skills, especially with MS Office, web browsers and email.

• College coursework in agriculture, ecology, biology, or other closely-related field.

This is a part-time, seasonal position from June through October (potentially renewable for 2015 and 2016), consisting of 20-25 hours per week, with a somewhat flexible schedule. Days and time of work include: Monday through Friday for approximately four hours each day; Wednesday is a longer day, from 7 am – 3:30 pm. Some weekend irrigation may be needed. Hourly wage is $13 – 15 per hour, commensurate with experience.

Maureen Thompson, Farm Program Manager, 530-795-4146 (office), maureen@landbasedlearning.org

We highly encourage you to visit our website at www.CaliforniaFarmAcdemy.org

Monday, May 19, 2014

Job Announcement- California FarmLink North Coast Regional Program Coordinator! Come join our team!

California FarmLink is a statewide nonprofit whose mission is to link independent farmers and ranchers with the land and financing they need for a sustainable future.

Job Description:

FarmLink is looking for a temporary, short-term (5 months: July 14, 2014 - December 31, 2014) North Coast Regional Program Coordinator to oversee FarmLink programmatic activities along the North Coast of California while the current Regional Coordinator is on maternity leave. This position is half-time (20 hours/ week) and based in Sebastopol. Responsibilities include:

— Provide farmers, ranchers and landowners with information on land leasing, land purchasing/sales and alternative land tenure options

— Help farmers negotiate strong leases

— Coach farmers on how to find land for lease or sale, and help them find financing for land purchases

— Assist in maintaining an online hub of land for lease or sale, connect landowners and farmers, and facilitate farmland leases

— Work with and help develop a network of experienced farm service professionals, including attorneys, CPAs, family communications specialists, realtors, insurance providers, and business consultants

— Provide farmers with information on farm financing options, including FarmLink's own loan program, and credit education

— Organize and present workshops and seminars

— Assist in grant reporting

— Outreach to agricultural landowners and organizations to increase FarmLink’s capacity to offer quality land opportunities

— Outreach to beginning and underserved farmers to increase awareness of FarmLink programs

Qualifications:

— Experience in North Coast agriculture, emphasis on small and mid-scale farms

— Experience in farm financing and farm business management

— Familiarity with California agricultural organizations

— Experience working with farmland leasing, real estate transactions, and conservation easements

— Oral communication skills, including ability to present complex information to groups

— Computer skills include basic familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite, Salesforce or similar database, email, Google products, website, Internet and website updating

— Valid California driver’s license, ability to travel locally and regionally on a regular basis and spend overnights out of the area on occasion

— Spanish competency desired

— Ability to work in a team atmosphere

— Ability to complete self-directed projects with minimal day-to-day supervision

— Strong writing skills, including the ability to prepare professional letters, newsletter articles, and reports

— Experience in nonprofit project management

Compensation:

Compensation commensurate with experience. California FarmLink maintains a drug-free workplace and is an equal opportunity employer.

Position open until filled. Please send resume, letter of interest, and three references to Ariana

Reguzzoni: ariana@cafarmlink.org. No phone calls please.

Interns Wanted at Startup Organic Farm

Do you want to nuzzle a baby goat, learn to milk, ferment sauerkraut, save garden seeds, slaughter a chicken, prune an orchard, mix and apply clay plaster, make cheese, harvest produce for market, install drip irrigation, make tortillas from home-grown corn, change a diaper, graft fruit trees, pour a foundation, process and eat acorns? Spreadwing Farm in the Capay Valley (Yolo County, California) is looking for one more intern to start ASAP. We are a small organic farm and homestead being developed by Cathy Suematsu, Michael G. Smith, their 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. Our goal is to provide a healthy, balanced, and inspirational home environment for our family and visitors, while eventually generating enough on-farm income to meet our financial needs. A lot of our energy goes into food production and preparation and caring for our children, with farm infrastructure, permaculture and natural building projects fitting in whenever possible. We recently completed an earthen pizza oven, composting toilet, and a major expansion of our fruit orchard. Projects planned for the near future include a solar fruit dryer, a grey water system, a solar shower, and restoration of a century-old water tower. We'd like to share our decades of experience with others who are excited to learn these skills. We provide amazing organic food, beautiful surroundings, a small cabin or tent site, and endless learning opportunities in exchange for about 40 hours a week of your help. Some experience is helpful, but the most important qualifications are enthusiasm, compatible personalities, and a desire to learn and to work hard. We prefer interns who can commit to between six and twelve months, but we can sometimes take people for shorter time periods. We will need to meet you in person before we can commit to working with you. For more info please email michael@emeraldearth.org or cathy@emeraldearth.org. Thank you!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Local couple one of 10 2014 Savory Institute Hub candidates in the world

This year, 90 applications from 25 countries were submitted to the Savory Institute in hopes of bringing a Savory Hub to their region. Spencer and Abbey Smith were one of those applicants. They described a learning center and demonstration ranch called the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management that would serve Northern California and the Western Great Basin--exposing a method of land and resource management to people that regenerates land through production instead of depleting it. The method is called holistic management. 

“Our vision is of a hub that strengthens rural communities, decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfire in our forests, improves soil health and biodiversity,” Spencer said.

Spencer and Abbey qualified as finalists--one of 10 in the world. Other 2014 hub candidates are from the Southwest, Midwest and Northeast United States, Mexico, Ethiopia and Kenya.  The Savory Institute Hub program began in 2013.

Abbey (Kingdon) Smith grew up in Taylorsville, Calif.  and graduated from Greenville High School. Spencer andAbbey’s daughter Maezy is a seventh-generation Kingdon. Abbey credits her wonderful childhood and big, loving family with her deep commitment to improving rural communities and the land. Abbey graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and from the University of Nevada, Reno with a master’s in interactive journalism. She is a digital manager with Swift Communications, Inc. in Reno, Nev.

Spencer Smith grew up in Fort Bidwell, Calif. and graduated from Surprise Valley High School. His passion for ranching and land management started at a young age working alongside his parents on their cattle ranch. He graduated from Chico State with a bachelor’s degree in ag business. He is a livestock manager for Stix Cattle Co. headquartered in Fernley, Nev.

The couple lives in the Rancho Haven area north of Reno.

A hub in our region means connecting our communities--ranchers, farmers, land owners, urban farmers--to the methods, tools and practices of the Savory Institute. The demonstration ranch is located in Fort Bidwell, Calif. Workshops, bootcamps, one-day trainings and even month-long holistic management internships will be held at the ranch.

“We will offer our region the access to all Savory Institute training programs and help becoming an accredited SI professional. The ranch will allow people to learn by doing and to participate in a holistically managed operation,”Abbey said.

 The couple will also serve the region through off-site workshops and land management consultations. Their vision includes developing a labeling program for products from holistically managed lands.

“Our demonstration ranch will be holistically managed; producing beef in a way that helps improve soil health, decrease carbon emissions and slows climate change,” Spencer said.

The next step is to get Abbey and Spencer to Africa. Becoming an accredited Savory Institute Hub requires an intensive "hub bootcamp" at the Africa Centre for Holistic Management in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Also, they must become accredited trainers in order to effectively manage holistically and teach others these methods. They will be trained at the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado. 

 Tre' Cates, COO of the Savory Institute.Org said, "We are very excited to have Abbey and Spencer as members of the 2014 Hub Candidates.  Having a presence in Northern California and the Western Great Basin will be valuable to regenerating soils and local communities."    

The couple has set up a Kickstarter project to help fund this project and help our region host one of the first Savory Institute hubs in the world.

“This hub is bigger than Spencer and me,” Abbey said, “it will take the whole community to make it happen.”


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jack-of-all-trades, Capay Oaks Farm, Capay Valley, CA

We run a small family-owned organic farm being developed in Capay Valley, Yolo County. We currently have an olive orchard (7 acres - for oil production), an apricot orchard (very small +/- 120 trees), experimental wine grapes (again small, +/- 200 vines), hedgerows, native meadows and our stock plant garden (for propagation in our nursery – see www.chamisaridgenursery.com).  Future plans include cut flower production and additional specialty orchard, herb, and berry crops.  Our goal is to create a healthy, ecologically balanced agrarian environment for our family, co-workers, and friends that can support both the land cost, and the effort to manage the land productively.  We utilize about 50% of the 70 - acre property, and are looking for someone to help us manage the farm who is also interested in utilizing fallow land to farm for themselves.

 
It is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades job description and a sustainable agriculture background is closest to hitting the average of all duties.  It is a full time permanent job for one and perhaps best as a full time job split/shared by two. It is an opportunity to learn about organic ecological farming, native ecosystems, interesting and experimental regionally appropriate plants, work in a beautiful setting, join a community of organic farmers and gardeners, and receive olive oil bonuses! We'd like to share our many years of experience with others who are enthused to learn these skills.
 
It involves planting; orchard care including pruning, weed control, harvest and harvest management, product sales and delivery, record keeping, ground squirrel/gopher control; materials/parts ordering and purchasing; irrigation installation/maintenance/repairs; edible garden maintenance; light carpentry; and general repairs. 
                         
Experience can range from a recent graduate to a person experienced in farm work. The most important qualifications are enthusiasm, compatible personalities, a desire to learn, and a strong work ethic. Our farming model includes creating opportunity for someone interested in organic farming by providing a basic salary that removes the risk of start-up farming while providing the land to develop an autonomous business.  Compensation includes a salary (amount commensurate with experience), health insurance, and high quality land for use.
 
Contact –
 
Ron Lutsko, Jr
Ron@lutskoassociates.com

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Farm Assistant, Casa Rosa Farms, Capay Valley

Who we are

Casa Rosa Farms is a diversified family farm producing pastured meats, eggs and certified organic olive oil. We farm 55 acres in the Capay Valley and have grazing land in the Sierra Foothills near the base of Yosemite National Park. Our family has been farming in the Central Valley since emigrating from the Azores in the 1960's. The third generation (Casa Rosa Farms) has been certified organic since 2009. We manage our livestock through a combination of seasonal grazing on native grasslands, intensive rotational grazing using small irrigated paddocks and growing forage crops such as legumes (alfalfa, black eyed peas) for hay. We also produce other regionally appropriate orchard crops such as figs, pomegranates, pears, apricots on a small scale for our farmer's markets. We may rotate in other row crops, water permitting. We are committed to renewable energy, our warehouse cold room and freezers are powered by solar, and we will be powering one of our ag wells with 100% solar this year.
 
We proudly raise Limousin (Lim-Flex) cattle, which respond very favorably to a grass fed feeding regime, producing lean, flavorful, and very tender meat with a high carcass yield, which is very important when raising animals for retail cuts.
 
We also raise California Red Sheep, a hybrid cross with an established registry, of Tunis (fat-tailed sheep from North Africa, with a long history in the US, raised by Thomas Jefferson) and Barbados sheep. The sheep are red in color, producing medium grade uniquely colored wool, a mild meat and are hardy and good browsers, thriving on forage such as goats might. They tend to be high maintenance as far as fencing, but are good mothers with a strong sense of predators. We have neighbors that have lost up to 30 sheep per year through coyote depredations, so far, we have not experienced this.
 
Job Description
The farm assistant will apprentice with the farmer. He or she will be working alongside or independently on the same tasks that the farmer does. 
  • Fencing
  • Irrigation
  • Tractor Work
  • Mowing, Cultivating
  • Using a weed eater
  • Pruning
  • Spraying (OMRI approved substances only according to our OSP)
  • Animal Husbandry (stock movement, tagging, vaccinations, bottle feeding)
He or she may also be responsible for supervising seasonal workers such as WWOOF volunteers.

Skills Required
  • Some basic knowledge of livestock and farm work. 
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs
  • Work outside
  • Pay attention to details such as closing gates and keeping water tanks full.
  • Current California driver's license
 
Room and Board
  • 1 bedroom studio apartment included
  • Meat, eggs, fruit, vegetables from the farm and barter with neighbors
  • Bulk staples
  • Costco once a month
Hours
Wed-Sunday, 5 hours per day, start times will fluctuate with tasks and the time of year
 
Wage
Work is paid on a independent contract basis, commensurate with skill set and will be 1099'ed.
Average pay per month with value of room and board deducted: $900.
 
Perks
Beautiful scenery, peace and quiet. High Speed internet. Close to Full Belly Farm and located in an area with lots of young farmers. Pig roasts, dancing, community events.
 
Please respond to casarosafarms@gmail.com with a list of your qualifications, other jobs held, and two references. A young family may be considered, especially if they are interested in starting a pastured broiler chicken operation or small vegetable production.

New Land Opportunity in Siskiyou County!

Siskiyou #2037
20 acre property for purchase in Grenada. This highly productive certified organic farm is located in the heart of the Shasta Valley. The acreage is almost flat, with a slight slope rising from east to west. It is fenced and there are plantings of windbreak trees or lilac hedges on all boundaries. Nine acres are planted to orchard w/ approx. 2000 trees, 90% at production age. The majority are peaches, with also nectarines, cherries, plums, apricots, apples and pears. Remaining acreage is in cover crop or crop production (garlic, squash, raspberries, salad greens, u-pick pumpkins, lavender). Included in sale are all supplies, boxes, sprinklers, hoses, hand tools, aluminum hand line, drip and micro irrigation and organic production materials. Currently the farm accounts include retail stores, farmers’ markets, on-farm sales, and some wholesale accounts. All markets could be expanded and new markets tapped, i.e. restaurants, csa, schools. The farm-community interface would benefit from more on-farm events, educational opportunities, and celebrations. Farm stay or other agri-tourism programs could be created. The farm is ripe for what’s next. Login for more information.
Sierra Harvest is excited to announce that we are hiring a Development Director and we'd love your help finding the perfect person! This position will focus primarily on individual donor cultivation but will also oversee our comprehensive fundraising plan.  They'll work with the board, staff, and volunteers to fulfill our mission of educating, inspiring and connecting Nevada County families to fresh, local seasonal food.

View the full job description here: http://sierraharvest.org/about/jobs/

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Farm Manager position in the Capay Valley

Small family-owned organic farm being developed in the Capay Valley (7 acres olive orchard, small apricot orchard, experimental wine grapes, hedgerows, native meadows and a stock plant garden for propagation) is looking for help managing the farm. Part of the 70-acre property is fallow and the farm manager will be able to utilize this land for themselves. It is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades job description and a sustainable agriculture background is closest to hitting the average of all duties. It is a full time permanent job for one and perhaps best as a full time job split/shared by two.

The job involves planting, orchard care, harvest and harvest management, product sales and delivery, record keeping, ground squirrel/gopher control, materials/parts ordering and purchasing, irrigation installation/maintenance/repairs, edible garden maintenance, light carpentry; and general repairs. Compensation includes a salary (amount commensurate with experience), health insurance, and high quality land for use.


For additional information, contact Ron Lutsko, Jr, Ron@lutskoassociates.com