Farm Apprentice (3 Openings) | Posted May 25, 2020
Farm Apprentice (3 Positions Available)
Posted on May 25, 2020
Location: Bon Accord, Alberta (25km north of Edmonton, AB) Accommodation available
Term: June 1 – Nov 15, 2020
Remun.: accom. + food + stipend, more (see below)
Hours: full-time or part-time
Prairie Gardens vegetable farm is growing food for up to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 50 families on 25 acres devoted to vegetable and berry production, with over 150 varieties of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and herbs. We offer our produce at our farm market, to restaurants, and through a CSA membership program.
We are looking for three apprentices who want to learn natural market gardening skills and experience the market gardening life for a full season. We are offering a six month farm immersion on our 50 acres in Sturgeon County, 25 km north of Edmonton.
Apprentices are a key part of our farm. You help us grow vegetables, strawberries, rhubarb and apples for our two weekly markets as well as food for our CSA program, and staples for the farm and restaurants we serve. We also operate an inspected kitchen, with plans to make farm pickles, jellies and fermented preserves, along with sourdough bread!
There’s a lot to learn about the art of growing food naturally! In addition to growing vegetables, we keep a small flock of sheep and heritage chickens that provide the farm with eggs, 3 bee hives for honey, and we have a a small zone 2 apple orchard and several acres of strawberries which provide us with fresh fruit.
We truly appreciate the hard work of our apprentices and do everything we can to make sure their experience at Prairie Gardens is rewarding and fulfilling.
Our apprentices will learn about a sustainable approach to small family farming and develop a wide variety of skills: greenhouse seedling production, field planting, weeding and harvesting, CSA distributions, as well as building and repairing infrastructure, such as re-building a cob oven, and cooking class outdoor studio, which is part of our agri-tourism income stream.
Apprentices will help us with (and learn about) most aspects of running a market garden: farm planning, preparing beds, seeding, transplanting, weeding, thinning, harvesting, post harvest handling, seed saving, record keeping and selling at our farm market. Be prepared for physically active and demanding work, rain or shine. We grow a diverse array of crops and specialize in fall vegetables, pumpkins and winter roots, plus greenhouse heirloom tomatoes and year round greens and herb production.
Apprentices work between 40 – 50 hours a week. In general there are 5 work days a week with 2 week days off for a weekend , with an hour of food and refreshment breaks. On harvest days the work hours can be longer, as we are harvesting to a frost and ground freeze deadline. Apprentices help work our Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday markets at the farm, as well as assisting in our CSA distribution nights on Thursdays at Get Cooking Edmonton.
In exchange we offer accommodation, a monthly stipend of $600 and incredible produce from the farm to cook with. The team eats together a couple of times each week but otherwise apprentices are responsible for preparing their own meals. Each apprentice has a private trailer to live in and they share a common space that is a kitchen/living room with a shower.
We have weekly and daily meetings to discuss upcoming farm tasks. We also use these meetings to teach about farm related topics, to taste and compare new vegetable varieties, to share feedback, to take questions and suggestions and to keep track of personal goals and intentions. Monthly farm walks help us and apprentices view the farm as a whole as it changes throughout the season. Taking the time to do this keeps us all aware of crop health and any areas that need attention.
We produce good food for our community and ourselves by encouraging a healthy environment on our farm. Our flowers and crops provide food for birds, beneficial insects and pollinators.
2020 will be Farmer Tam’s 35th season operating Prairie Gardens. Tam is a horticulturalist, woman entrepreneur, food activist and lifetime learner. She and her daughter Laurel, who is a recent U of Alberta graduate and has a degree in English and German, operate this small sustainable farm, which marries food production with agri-tourism and working with local chefs, including Kathryn Joel who owns and operates Get Cooking Edmonton, a gourmet cooking school both at her studio and at the farm.
This mother daughter team’s favorite things about Prairie Gardens include working with plants, discovering new things to grow, and teaching farming skills to apprentices, learning about gourmet cooking shoulder to shoulder with the chefs that come to the farm, and sharing what she loves with the folks who come to the farm. They enjoy providing good food to our very appreciative CSA members.
Eating well is one of the greatest pleasures we derive from farming. We put a lot of care into our work and we are especially proud to offer our community beautiful and delicious produce. Working with in partnership with mother nature, weather cycles, and our environment throughout the busy growing season makes farming a wonderful and satisfying lifestyle with many rewards!
We want applicants to know that growing for market is challenging and takes dedication.
Growing transplants for the field, and field seeding
Field and greenhouse planting
Heirloom tomato greenhouse production (pruning, watering and harvesting)
U-Pick strawberry patch field production and management
U-pick Pumpkin patch field production and management
Cultivation and weeding and more weeding
Organic pest control application
Harvesting and crop handling
Post harvest washing, packing, and basic harvest record keeping
Farmers market customer service and cash register operation
Farm tours and cooking classes preparation and participation
Rotating farm chores (harvesting, propagation watering, mowing, feeding the rabbits and chickens and farm maintenance)
While some exposure to commercial agriculture is preferred, it is not required as long as one has a good attitude and work ethic.
Our ideal candidate has:
A serious interest in farming as a lifestyle and/or livelihood
Physical ability to carry out farm tasks (repetitive tasks, lifting 30 lbs. repeatedly during the day, crouching and bending for long periods)
Lots of energy and highly motivated and a great team player
A mind for efficiency
Attention to detail and ability to understand and execute quality standards
Open and positive communication skills
Willingness to learn
A friendly personality and willingness to spend time with customers, chefs, and CSA members
Class 5 Drivers License
Ability to work outside for long periods of time in all weather conditions
Be punctual; be prepared to work at the designated time, with the necessary tools, and proper clothing. Closed toed shoes are required at all times on the farm.
Sense of humour!
The Farm Hand position begins in May and ends November 15th. The work will vary during the season as each change in temperature provides a new focus for the work that needs to be done. We share a meal as a crew every week and this is an opportunity to ask questions and enjoy the bounty of the farm.
Two weeks advance notice is required for vacation breaks.
Please apply below with a cover letter and resume:
To apply, please send an email to email@example.com or apply online.
Your application should contain your preferred start and finish dates, your resume, two contacts for references and a cover letter describing what is motivating you to do a farm apprenticeship. We look forward to hearing from you!