Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kingbird Farms seeks a full time farmer

Kingbird Farms seeks a full time farmer (or couple) to conduct and oversee all aspects of the farm operation beginning as soon as October. Farmer receives room and board, a guarantee minimum income, and all profits. This is a potential long term opportunity and preference will be given to applicants who could (after a trial period) envision a long term commitment. 

Kingbird is a diverse, year-round growing operation about 25 miles south of Sacramento, in the heart of California's Great Central Valley. Kingbird is a long-time WWOOF host site. Kingbird sells direct to consumers through a Shopify-based web store and sells to a cafe and caterer in Sacramento and a restaurant in Galt. Kingbird is active in "Slow Food" and received a "Snail of Approval" from the local chapter. 

The work varies by season including soil prep, planting, weeding, harvesting, customer box assembly, compost management, greenhouse work, and orchard maintenance. We use sustainable and chemical-free practices. Production is intensive, substantially greenhouse-based, and year-round. We are semi-mechanized, with a larger BCS two-wheeled tractor and Hoss seeder. We have a 120-tree fruit orchard and a large "insectivary" of native plants. 

About the owners: Mike Eaton and Charity Kenyon have been married for 38 years. Mike worked for The Nature Conservancy and other conservation organizations and has been a passionate farmer/gardener for forty years. He serves on the board of the Delta Conservancy, a state agency. Charity is a retired attorney who specialized in First Amendment, environmental, and appellate law. Both are active in Slow Food; Charity is currently the Slow Food USA Governor (liaison to the national organization) for the Central Valley and a US delegate to the international organization. Both of us are serious amateur naturalists and birders. 

About the place: Kingbird is a 5-acre inholding within the 50,000-acre Cosumnes River Preserve (www.cosumnes.org). The Preserve is a world-renowned refuge for a variety of resident and migratory birds including the Sandhill Crane, which winters here. It is one of the best remaining examples of the Valley landscape as it used to be. Kingbird Farms takes its name from the Western Kingbird, our most colorful and abundant summer migrant songbird. We are six miles west of the small town of Galt, CA, about 25 miles south of Sacramento and 90 miles east of San Francisco. 

Kingbird's farmer will assume responsibility for Kingbird's third season of commercial operation. The owner (Mike) provides advice, capital, and a substantial amount of labor. Farmer will largely have autonomy to continue to shape the operation in directions that reflect his or her values and sense of commercial potential. The farmer for 2014 has been Katie Koch, who will be leaving to start a family in Davis, CA. Katie will be assisting in the review of applicants, will be available for consultation with serious applicants, and will be available to advise and answer questions in 2015. 

The ideal candidate: 
• Has substantial growing experience in California 
• Has worked on a farm 
• Has managed people 
• Is computer and web savvy 
• Is outgoing and self-promoting 
• Comfortable dealing with complexity 
• Has an eagerness to learn 

Interested applicants should do the following: 
Send a cover letter including statements of interest, qualifications, experience, and any specific questions to kingbirdfarms@gmail.com 
Qualified candidates will be asked to provide references, scheduled for a phone or Skype interview, and scheduled for a farm visit. We will respond promptly to queries. 

For additional information: 
- Review the Shopify web site (www.kingbirdfarms.com) for additional details of operation. 
- Review http://www.kingbirdjournal.com/, Mike's journal of the place and the farm going back 5+ years.