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Scratch-a-Lot Farm Intern Manual
Our farm is located in the Columbia River Gorge about 15 miles east of Hood River, OR but on the Washington side of the river, in the small but friendly community of Mill A. We are now in our fifth year of farming on our own property and 4 acres that we are leasing nearby. We are currently THE place to buy pastured poultry in our area. We raise both conventional Cornish Cross and Heritage Delaware, some of which are free-ranged and some which we pasture raise in tractors, with organic GMO free feed, and butcher in our own on-site Washington State Department of Agriculture certified butchering facility. This year we expect to raise 850 chickens and approximately 150 turkeys for meat. We are also raising 60+ hens for laying, have a one-acre garden for market vegetables, vegetable CSA shares, produce homestead staples for the family (such as kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, corn meal, and dried fruit), and a 30′ x 70′ poly greenhouse which is used for extended season growing. Although we have a tractor, much work is done by hand. We feel strongly about working with the soil food web and will be attempting to convert a significant portion of our garden to no-till. We sell at two farmers markets, a local hospital, a local grocery store and have several vegetable and poultry CSAs. This year we are intending to add microgreens to our farm options and perhaps smoked poultry as a value-added product.
To be economically viable
To provide quality humanely and sustainably grown food for the surrounding community
To be an educational resource for surrounding area
To strengthen community ties though shared work and food
We have two-three internships available, depending on the applying interns there are seasonal full time and seasonal part time options. (Schedules may vary or be traded between Farm Personnel depending on skills, amount of work desired, and aptitudes)
Seasonal Full Time – 5 ½ days a week will receive room and board and $100 a month stipend with an end of the season bonus commiserate with the farm’s income and intern involvement. The position will run part time three days a week with no stipend from March 1-April 31st and will then turn into Full Time May 1 – Thanksgiving. A typical day is 8 hours during spring and fall and 8-14 hours during peak season. Intern will be participating in one of the two markets each week. Typical Daily schedule may likely be
Sunday: In charge of all farm operation while farmer is on Regularly Scheduled day off. Monday: Intern Day off Tuesday: Morning chores, harvest, afternoon CSA prep and White Salmon Farmer’s market or bird chores Wednesday: On butcher weeks Intern choice ½ day off in Morning or Evening and butcher Prep or field work. On non-butcher weeks. Intern Day off. Thursday: Morning chores, Butcher or field work, Evening Chores Friday: Morning chores, harvest, CSA prep, Evening Chores Saturday: Morning chores and evening chores, or Stevenson Saturday Market.
Seasonal Part Time – 3 ½ days a week. Will receive room and board. An end of the season bonus commiserate with the farm’s income and intern involvement is possible. A typical day is 8 hours during spring and fall and 8-14 hours during peak season and may look something like the following.
Sunday: Intern day off Monday: Intern day off Tuesday: Morning chores Harvest and CSA prep, field work, Evening Chores. Wednesday: Intern day off Thursday: Butcher and Morning and Evening chores or Field work and Morning and Evening chores Friday: Morning and Evening Chores, Harvest, CSA prep, Saturday: Morning chores and Field work or Morning and Evening Chores, Intern ½ day off.
Short Term – Short term volunteering and Internships may be available for a day, a week, or more. Short term people will most likely be camping on site. Inquire as to availability.
Living Arrangements: Interns will be housed either in a separate small private sleeping cabin (with electricity, but no heat,) or in our residence in one of two rooms in our upstairs loft. They have limited access to a bathroom, washer/dryer, Internet, and house phone that they will share with the owners. Alternatively, they may also choose to camp on site. One meal a day is made communally and shared. Interns are responsible for other meals in the provided modest cooking facilities. Owners are omnivores, the household is largely processed sugar and processed foods free. Interns are responsible for their own special expensive treats (such as coffee, alcohol, or gluten free) Interns use the farm vehicles or bicycle to go to and from the leased pasture, but will need their own personal transportation for personal errands that can’t be combined with other farm travels.
Surrounding Area: We are on the wet side of the wet/dry divide between eastern and western Washington at an elevation of about 1200 ft. The area is an old logging town and many of the inhabitants here still engage in that activity. There are also lots of professionals and tradesmen and women that commute to larger towns and cities nearby. The area is wooded with kayaking, hiking, windsurfing, and other water sports nearby. Fishing, mushrooming, walking, and hunting are local favorite pastimes. The nearest small cities and entertainment are Bingen and Hood River about 14 miles to the east and Stevenson and Carson 15-20 miles to the west. The largest cities are Portland and Vancouver about an hour away. The community has several events that happen yearly that much of the community attends. Volunteer opportunities include the local Fire Department and Search and Rescue, and a K-8 grade School. There is a small, warm and inviting, community church.
Intern Skills and Temperament
Interest and enthusiasm for the farm and animal welfare are an absolute must. Intern should have some experience in one area of farm operation: garden or animals, permaculture, irrigation, sales, education, marketing or some other aspect of farming. Creative problem solving, a sturdy work ethic, good observation skills, and intuition are important. Ability to work independently or with a group. Sales requires being personable and engaging with customers. Working with volunteers requires sense of humor, patience, and tolerance for different backgrounds and views. Work is exceptionally strenuous; must be able to carry 40 pounds repeatedly throughout the day. Must be able work in hot, cold, or wet weather, and be flexible as to work day schedules which will change with the seasons. Early morning work is the norm during peak season.
Skills that will be learned and practiced
Animals: Chores Rotational grazing/Pastured poultry Compost creation and management Care of Turkeys, Bees, Chickens
Butchering: Scalding, evisceration, packaging, cooling, killing Knife sharpening
Soil Management: Use various techniques including bio-char, compost tea, use of mycorrhizal spores, cover cropping, crop rotation, huegelcultures Pasture grass management techniques such as grazing, mowing, root harrowing, PH management, plant species management.
CSA: Growing for CSA Distribution Management Recordkeeping
Farm Planning: Crop Plans, Field Plan, Seed Orders, Planting Schedules overall farm budgeting Prioritizing farm tasks
Field Work: Use of row covers and other season extension techniques Use of hard and electric fences for animal management Use of mulch Planting, transplanting, harvesting techniques Tool use and Maintenance Weed Management
Greenhouse: Scheduling of seeding Planting soil creation and management Watering, thinning, irrigation, and hardening off needs
Irrigation: Installation of drip systems Crop irrigation needs Maintenance of system
Machinery: Driving and using a tractor Using farm vehicles Using hand tools for building and repair
Education: Working with volunteers and students to teach skills
Market: Set up and running of a successful market booth Sales
Supervisory: Organizing individuals and groups for efficiency/speed/care/fun.
Food: Cooking nutritious local meals Food preservation
Marketing: Creation of marketing materials, newsletters Managing e-mail lists, and social media
Interns shall have a personal project that they work on throughout their time at the farm. They use personal time and/or up to eight hours a week of regularly scheduled work time for full time interns. Project should be compatible with the farm’s goals, and be cleared with owner before they are chosen as successful applicant. In the first two weeks Intern will create a timeline of tasks, expected expenses, and benchmarks for their project. Farmer may be willing to contribute up to half the cost of the startup materials. Profits from the project will be split with the farm in tandem with the amount of capital or resources invested by the farm. Intern will be allowed access to farm resources and space and to limited amounts of market space for the sale of their project. Farmer will check in with Intern regularly as to their progress on their project. Farmer is willing to help mentor the intern in writing a business plan or marketing for a future project. Examples of what a personal project might be…. raising a pig, making and selling baked goods, farm activism, growing mushrooms, elementary classroom agriculture related education. Any number of things are possible, however the idea is that when an intern is done working here, they will have a good idea if their project is feasible, if it would make money, and how to market their idea.
Intern will be encouraged to visit and volunteer or work on other area farms and businesses related to their interests. Farmer will help facilitate such visits as time allows.
Rules and Expectations:
– Smoking is allowed only outside of buildings – Illegal drug use is not tolerated – Background checks may be performed before working with children – Share in the domestic cleaning and cooking duties and participate in shared meals – Guests and Pets should be cleared with the owners before arrival. Owner has right to refuse either at any time before or during their stay. – Firearms must be cleared with the owners before arrival. Owner has the right to refuse at any time before or during the internship. – Internship is an at-will opportunity; as such, owner may choose to terminate the arrangement. – Full time intern will be in charge of farm operations while owner is on regularly scheduled days off. – Health Care is not provided. Interns will assume the considerable risks of working on the farm and be responsible for their own safety. – Intern responsible for providing their own special treats and dietary needs, such as coffee, snacks, alcohol, drinks, gluten free products. – Intern should give clear indication of their beginning and end dates and honor their agreed on time commitment.
Required Certifications and Immunizations:
Food Handlers License (Owner will pay to obtain after arrival) Proof of Tetanus Immunization (available at local health department) Valid Driver’s License
Additional Information About our Farm:
Our Facebook Page is https://www.facebook.com/ScratchALotFarm Here is a video article that was done on our farm http://www.chewnorthwest.com/scratchalotfarmfinal.mp4
Send Resume, three references, and a letter of Interest via e-mail or post including the following information Date, Name, Address, Phone, e-mail, Available dates, and the answers to the following questions. If your qualifications meet our standards, we will contact you to schedule a phone or on farm (preferred) interview.
- Why are you interested in Scratch-a-Lot Farm and this position?
- Are you interested in Part or Full time?
- What previous experience are you bringing to this position and what practical skills do you hope to acquire?
- What are your personal goals related to agriculture?
- We raise and butcher animals for meat on the farm. What is your perspective on the role animals play on a small farm?
- Do you have any allergies, food restrictions, or physical limitations that might affect your ability to live in a rural setting and do farm work?
- Please tell us something interesting about yourself (hobbies, pastimes, travels, etc.)
- Tell me about one particular adventure you have had in some detail.
- What Personal Project might you be interested in doing?