As passionate supporters of community agriculture, we swing our doors wide for anyone interested in learning how to grow food. From one day visitors to full season apprentices to 2 school busses of students, we structure our work to be inclusive of anyone crazy enough to pick up a hoe and wonder what to do with it.
Working here is an eye opener for many who previously had taken their food for granted. We try to share a meal or at least a snack of the farms' current offerings with everyone who stops by and lends a hand. While at times its hard for us to accept unannounced guests, we try our best to be hospitable and welcoming, no matter which days are good for you.
This year we will be piloting Intensive Weekend Training Sessions for aspiring farmers. This work is based on a skills checklist that we've been developing in conjunction with our past apprentices. With a farm as diversified as Blackberry Meadows, we can offer a very wide range of experiences, and general knowledge across many different areas of agriculture. Please keep a look out for these intensive weekends and sign up early to ensure you take full advantage of the education and experiences we are offering.
Daily Volunteers are folks (usually neighbors) who enjoy stopping by on random workdays to help with the chores and mob special projects. They are the most ecclectic group and conversations range from absurd to esoteric. They take home some random tidbits and goodies from the farm... whatever we have available.
Workshares are regular volunteers who mainly comprise the 'field crews'. Throughout the season, they begin to form deeper relationships and even friendships as we share the ups and downs during harvests and some of the 'dirty jobs' in the vegetable fields like hand controlling insects... yuck. Workshares trade 4 hours of labor per week for a share of the harvest and a meal (usually lunch). We serve our lunches potluck, so everyone has a chance to test out and compare their own culinary delights!
Interns and apprentices are similar in that these folks seek a more immersive farm experience, usually moving into our home for the duration of their stay. They work along side us all hours and learn to not only run the farm chore routines, but to lead crews of volunteers and workshares. Interns typically stay for under 3 months and work on a personal project as well as learning how the farm is run. Apprentices stay for 8 months from April to November.
Apprentices receive the most intensive education we offer. Besides annual crop production in our vegetable fields, Apprentices are exposed to and immersed in perennial fruit, nut and herb production, animal husbandry (with poultry, swine and ruminants), Building and construction techniques, mechanics and tool maintenance, and homesteading (including DIY cleaners and meal planning). We offer the most complete training program for anyone interested in operating their own farm or homestead in the future. We even train apprentices on bookkeeping and financial planning too!
As active barterers, we often think about trading CSA shares and other farm produced goods for professional services (such as web and graphic design, legal work, marketing, etc), construction labor and mechanics. For many people, their daily lives are so busy, they can't physically work here on the farm, but their passion to be a part of the movement leads them to reach out to us and offer up a trade. We are always glad to entertain and negotiate a good trade!
If you think you might be interested in joining our farm team for the 2016 growing season – get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org