WE ARE NOT OFFERING A FORMAL APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM IN 2020. WE DO HAVE OPENINGS FOR HOURLY EMPLOYEES, AND WELCOME APPLICATIONS FROM PEOPLE WHO WISH TO GAIN FARMING EXPERIENCE THROUGH WORKING ON OUR CREW AND BRING A LEARNING MINDSET TO THE POSITION
SIMPLE GIFTS FARM FIELD CREW POSITION
Simple Gifts Farm is a small, diverse market farm located in Western Massachusetts. We run a 250-member CSA program and were 18-year members of the Amherst Farmer’s Market. In 2017, we opened a full-service farmstand on-site to converge our CSA and retail marketing efforts. While vegetables are our main crop, we integrate pasture managed with livestock into our production system to build soil fertility and to produce meat and eggs.
We lease a total of 30 acres from North Amherst Community Farm (NACF), a nonprofit formed by a coalition of passionate farm neighbors who own the land and have preserved it in perpetuity for farming. NACF selected us as farm tenants to ensure that the land remains an organic farm, a wildlife corridor, and a place for local residents to enjoy nature and walking trails. We run the farm as an ecological unit, working to improve the health of micro and macro-organisms alike, and connecting our CSA members and neighbors with their local food supply. While we no longer offer a formal apprentice program, we provide many opportunities for learning on the crew, and value employees with a strong sense of curiosity and who are willing to take on responsibilities on the crew.
We devote 10 of our acres to vegetable production, 5 to forage crops, and the rest to more permanent pasture. Much of our vegetable production is mechanized, though most of the harvesting occurs by hand. We have four season-extension hoophouses and four greenhouses heated by woodchips, a renewable energy source, which allow us to provide a winter CSA share and to keep our farm store open year-round.
We are seeking up to four motivated, task-oriented, dedicated and fun individuals to work at Simple Gifts Farm for the 2020 season (March 1 – Thanksgiving). Candidates with a year of farm or other outdoor work experience are given strong preference. All applicants must be able to demonstrate a passionate interest in farming and agriculture. Our employment positions are physically and mentally demanding, but also provide the opportunities for long-term employment and farm management training to those who are motivated, task-oriented, and capable. Strong employees are highly encouraged to continue through the winter and on for a second season.
The work week consists of approximately 40 hours, with 8-hour weekdays, and rotating weekend chore duties, particularly for those living on-site. We start work as early as 6AM, especially during the heat of the summer. Work outside of normal work hours will be required for some projects, weekend greenhouse and livestock chores, and staffing the farmstand.
Housing is potentially available onsite in an historic farmhouse. Our farm is located in Amherst, MA, within walking distance from conservation land, a swimming pond, restaurants and other businesses. Downtown Amherst is an easy bike or bus ride away and hosts a plethora of cultural activities. Crew members will be responsible for whatever food they need in addition to free vegetables produced at the farm. Farm meat and eggs are available at a reduced price, along with numerous local food products we stock in our farm store.
Hourly rate starts at $12/hour, with the possibility of raises as people add skills and responsibilities to their tool belt. Worker’s compensation is provided; health insurance is available through the Massachusetts state program. A higher wage is negotiable for applicants with more than one full season’s prior farm experience.
We encourage a collaborative work environment, and like to have people who are able to work effectively in a team and to balance taking initiative and responsibility with the following instructions and the need to work in a coordinated fashion. We also value training people to take ownership of individual tasks, and find that those who thrive here are those who are able to effectively take responsibility for aspects of the farm. Learning and leadership opportunities are assigned to those who demonstrate an ability to excel at higher levels of responsibility.
Positions will be filled on a rolling basis. Please send a resume, list of three work references, and a cover letter with your top three concentration areas, in order of preference. We will contact candidates by phone or email to arrange an interview. Farm visits and working interviews are strongly recommended.