Feral Farm Apprenticeship


Company: Feral Farm
Location: Applegate Valley
Compensation: 14.20/h
Employment Type: Full-Time, Internship / Apprentice, Part-Time
Job Categories: Agriculture
Region: Southern
Date Posted: January 16, 2024

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https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/host-farms/feral

Feral Farm is spread across four isolation fields along a 5 mile stretch of Thompson Creek – a rural and fairly close knit community of homesteaders, farmers, and ranchers. Thompson Creek is located approximately halfway between the cities of Medford and Grants Pass. The home field is where I live as well as three other people including my landlord and his partner and another renter, and my house will be accessible during work hours to the participant. The other three fields do not have buildings except for one in which the landlord has opened her house for bathroom use. There are ample hiking trails to explore, rivers and creeks to swim in, proximity to Applegate Lake, and opportunities to connect with others in the farming community. We also have a pizza place just 4 miles down the road as well as a small music venue/lodge.

The majority of the farm is in wholesale vegetable and flower seed production (70%), seed garlic for wholesale and direct local sale (15%), and an on-site honor system farm stand selling garden starts and seed packets (15%). Everything is certified organic. All fields are drip irrigated and cover cropped in winter. Straw mulch is used on many crops. We use a small tractor for bed prep, electric walk-behind and hand tools for weeding, and mostly small/hand scale tools for seed processing, though some will be mechanized. Overall, a wide variety of tools will be employed to grow and process a diversity of seed crops – between 50-100 varieties per season, including flowers and herbs and a full spectrum of vegetables and a small amount of heritage grains. There is a nice seasonal flow, with early springtime being heavily focused on greenhouse work, seeding and transplanting; late spring being focused on weeding and crop supports like mulching and trellising; summer begins seed crop harvest; and fall continues harvest and begins seed processing and cleaning. Lots of opportunities to learn new skills!

Feral Farm has been in operation since 2017, and is run by Cacia Huff. It started with a small lease on the established farm I was working for at the time. Prior to that, I spent 2 seasons in the Puget Sound area of northwestern WA apprenticing at the Organic Farm School, where I learned business management, farm-scale vegetable and contract seed production. My background prior to that was an Environmental Studies degree at UCSC. My studies in agroecology led me to spend time in southern Mexico establishing school gardens and garden classroom curriculum, and opened my eyes to the worldwide struggle to maintain and preserve rapidly disappearing seed diversity. It then led to a few years of work with an organic certifier, before I decided that I wanted to be out in the field and on the ground rather than in the office. I’m passionate about being outdoors, working with my body, being surrounded by natural beauty, and expressing creativity in the work I do. I love pushing myself mentally and physically, and this type of work never fails there!

An Apprenticeship is part of Rogue Farm Corps’ beginning farmer training program. Hands-on field training at the Host Farm is complemented by a series of classes, farm tours, discussions, and networking events organized by Rogue Farm Corps. 

 

EDUCATIONAL EVENTS

Apprentices join other beginning farmers for an Educational Event Series facilitated by Rogue Farm Corps.

The full event series includes:

24 classes focused on foundational sustainable agriculture concepts, skills, and knowledge and the food system.

7-10 farm tours which showcase practical skills and individual farmers’ stories, as well as provide insight into diverse production and marketing systems.

3-5 discussion circles with topics including Food Justice / Food Sovereignty, and Next Steps for Beginning Farmers.

 

RFC strives to make all educational events inclusive and welcoming to people from all backgrounds and identities. Classes, tours, and discussions are led by Rogue Farm Corps staff, agricultural professionals, and expert farmers. Scholarships are available.