Food For Lane County Youth Farm Apprentices


Company: Food For Lane County Youth Farm
Location: Springfield
Compensation: 17/h
Employment Type: Full-Time, Internship / Apprentice, Part-Time
Job Categories: Agriculture
Region: South Willamette Valley
Date Posted: January 16, 2024

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https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/host-farms/fflc-youth-farm

Food For Lane County Youth Farm is the regional nonprofit food bank for Lane County. FFLC is a well respected and innovative organization with the mission of “Reducing hunger by engaging our community to create access to food”.  On the Youth Farm, we  cultivate 5 acres of diverse vegetable crops as well as approximately 70 mature fruit trees (apples, pears, Asian pears,plums), strawberries, thornless blackberries and a young blueberry patch. We are not certified organic, but we use all organic methods. We have two small tractors that we run on biodiesel that we use for discing, tilling, bed shaping and mowing.   Most other work on the farm is by hand, including transplanting, weeding, harvesting, and post-harvest handling.  We grow winter cover crops, and create our own compost.  Approximately half of our produce is delivered to the FOOD For Lane County warehouse for distribution through our network of partners to those experiencing food insecurity in our county.  The remainder we sell through a 170-member CSA, and an onsite produce stand on Saturdays, which includes an on-line store.  We also grow vegetable, flower and herb starts for two very large plant sale fundraisers each spring.

Our primary farm crew consists of a Farm Supervisor (20 years on staff), a Field Coordinator (11 years on staff), an Outreach Coordinator (4 years on staff) and an Assistant (1 year on staff), who work from mid-January-early December.  During the main growing season, we hire up to 16 teens to participate in a part-time work experience and job skills program where they attend classes and are trained to do farm work as well as operate our farmstand.  Some of our stellar youth are in leadership positions and return for up to 4 consecutive seasons. Our Gardens Program Manager oversees the program.  We also host numerous volunteer groups and individuals at our farm each year, which creates a dynamic and unpredictable element to our crew size on certain days of the week. Overall, our crew each day can range from 4-25 people, depending on the time of year.

The Youth Farm is located on a 10 acre site within Springfield city limits.  The land is owned by the local school district and is surrounded by single family homes, duplexes, apartment complexes and a city playground.  We share the land with a separately managed community garden as well as a garden project connected to Springfield School District. The only facilities on site are storage sheds, including several shipping containers, roofed, open-air structures, two walk-in coolers, and several high tunnels with over 16,000 square feet of growing space.  We are close to city bus lines and bike routes, and both downtown Springfield and Eugene are a 10 minute drive away.  The neighboring town of Eugene is a large college town with plenty of entertainment and recreation opportunities, including bike paths, fairly close-in hiking trails, lakes and rivers for boating.

Ted has been the farm supervisor/manager at the Youth Farm since 2004. He began his farming journey 25 years ago. Ted is always seeking ways to improve growing practices and systems while creating space for new leaders to develop and thrive. He really enjoys teaching the next generation of agricultural leaders and innovators. The other staff at the Youth Farm will also play a pivotal role in training and teaching Apprentices. As we like to say, “Team work, makes the dream work”.

The Youth Farm has been in operation for over 25 years, serving the community healthy food while creating opportunities for youth, beginning farmers and volunteers. We have worked with and trained well over 100 interns over the years. Many are still involved in agriculture, including some as farm owners.

$17/hr for 30 hours/week.  Vacation time accrual, sick time, and holiday pay are included. Farm Produce as available.

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.