Updated: March 28, 2021
:: Farm Apprenticeship – 1 Position available for 2021
Broadfork Farm is a small, intentionally multi-generational, family operated, full time Certified Naturally Grown vegetable farm (plus a part time old-world style, woodfired bakery specializing in Organic, naturally leavened bread). Since 2011, we have intensively cultivated just a few acres in order to grow abundant food for our nearby community, whom we reach through our 200-member Farm Share, on-site FarmStand, two farmers’ markets, and select grocery stores. We grow 50 different vegetables each season. We use only biological/ecological farming methods – no chemical fertilizers or pesticides ever.
~* We are a welcoming business, committed to embracing diversity
of race, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, and ability.
We welcome applications from those that also embrace this diversity. *~
We love delicious, nutritious food, and we love community. We combine these two passions through our vibrant, fun-loving, and very hard-working farm business. We live with our four young children on our farm, a quarter of our Farm Share members pick up their shares at our farm, and (except when there’s a pandemic) we host numerous events throughout each season. We are an oasis of old tyme, rural goodness…right on the outskirts of suburbia, and in close proximity to the city of Richmond and all the cultural opportunities it offers.
Farm owners/operators Dan and Janet have extensive backgrounds in biology, education, and business management, providing a well-rounded experience for motivated organic farming apprentices. We love organic food, positive people, and the satisfaction of honest, hard work.
Each year we seek four enthusiastic and hard working individuals to join us full time in this Apprenticeship program, March 15-December 15, 40 hours/week, Monday through Friday, plus Saturday morning farmers’ market one weekend per month.
Our crew is rounded out by two experienced Crew Leaders, and an additional part time employee or two. This means an average day on the farm has 8-10 of us here working.
We offer the opportunity to learn while working; we extensively teach and mentor while training and orienting apprentices to the tasks and philosophies used here. We provide “sit-down” educational sessions – formal classroom time – to appropriately examine more deeply the complicated subjects. We also provide reading assignments, topic discussions, and resource binders of critical material. We partner with Shalom Farms for a portion of the classroom instruction.
(photo from 2017…note the lack of masks and people sitting right next to one another!)
We provide 2-4 field trips to other similar-but-different farms during the fall in order to learn from other farms’ examples. We host and attend multiple gatherings with other farms’ staff each season, sharing potlucks and stories (pandemic status allowing).
The season culminates in an Apprentice Graduation in early December, celebrating all that has been learned and accomplished over the season.
Farm Apprentices are taught extensively about and participate in:
– Crop planning
– Soil test analyzing and relevant soil amending
– Seed starting & greenhouse propagation
– High tunnel and greenhouse growing; Season extension
– Transplanting and direct seeding more than 50 different crops
– Permanent raised bed management
– Irrigation and related management, drip tape and wobblers
– Intensive crop-management and rotation in a double & triple cropping bed system
– Analyzing & managing crops for nutrient density
– Harvest & Post-harvest handling
– Direct marketing products (through Farm Share plus online and physical farmers’ markets)
– Business strategies for small, diversified, organic vegetable farm providing a living for a young family, including start-up logistics and growth considerations
…and more, experiencing the distinct seasons of a farm year in the central VA climate.
We’ll teach you how to be…
- nimble in the field
- effective and compelling at market
- smart with spreadsheets
We also utilize Value-added production via Hearth Baked Bread in our Bakery, and Apprentices may learn about and participate in this process to a degree, though this is not the focus of our deliberate educational program.
Modest pay included ($900 per month after taxes and after deducting for lodging, food, and utilities), comfortable housing, and plenty of the best vegetables and bread around. Five paid sick or vacation days provided as needed over the course of the season, plus 3 paid holidays (Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and the day after Thanksgiving). Heat, A/C, Wifi provided.
Housing is completely furnished, including kitchen. Basics such as flour, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, and toilet paper are provided. Linens and towels are provided for anyone that needs them.
Group meals are not required but are encouraged as desired and determined by the community. Multiple potlucks and staff pizza-nights happen throughout the season.
No previous experience required. Must be strong enough to lift 40 pounds, enjoy eating amazing food, working hard for long hours outside in all kinds of weather, working around interesting young children, often laughing while working, and always cleaning up after yourself. We are a strictly non-smoking/non-vaping/drug free farm.
Most useful personal gear that we strongly recommend having:
Slip-on muck boots.
Layers of clothing you are willing to get very dirty.
How to Apply:
Please email a resume, contact information for three references, and a letter stating motivation for your interest and how you are qualified for the above stated skills to info(at)broadforkfarm.net We will follow up with additional application questions. Thank you!
What our alumni say:
“Dan and Janet *want* you to ask questions AND want to be sure you understand the answer. Other bosses of mine haven’t felt this way, which made it hard to learn.”
“Janet and Dan want you to understand the “Why?” behind the farming concepts and decisions they are teaching you.”
“I’m so grateful for everything you all taught me. I came here hungry for information and you all delivered. I can’t wait to keep building on this foundation of knowledge and also to share info and skills with others.”
“Dan and Janet think and process differently from each other. I was glad to have each of them and their different styles because it worked different parts of my brain.”
More about us…
- We are professional but not corporate.
- We teach and guide through gentle and patient explanation, but we also show how and when to move fast.
- We are soil nerds and business nerds. We’ll show you how to be smart about both.
- We stress kindness above most all else.
- We’re a family friendly farm and business.
- We are a strictly no-smoking, no-vaping, no-illegal drugs farm.
- We are committed to helping end racism as well as other social injustices. We welcome those who wish to have this spirit in the air while we farm as well as inform our work while not farming. (There’s so much to do!)