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Permaculture Farm Immersion and Whole Farm Design Practicum

Category: Blog Published: Monday, 28 March 2016

 

 

We seek individuals for part time (25-30 hours per week) of farm work, planning and design starting now through 2016. You will receive regular instruction in a number of areas including assessment and analysis, planning and design, planting, propagation, water catchment, appropriate technology, greenhouse maintenance, animals and more. Apprentices live on site and are provided with a small meal stipend and/or food from the farm when available.

We also have volunteer days for individuals who just want to come and participate in farm life for a day or two. 

 

The farm is located north of Tampa on the West Coast of Florida. We are with 30-40 minutes of several major wilderness areas, within a few blocks of the longest bike trail in Florida, and near some of the best beaches in the country. There are a number of other farms and permaculture sites in the area to visit.

We have preserved a section of our farm for wilderness, and there are a number of rare species that we are designing so as to co-exist with. We strive to live in harmony with the land and work with the beautiful but delicate natural systems of Florida sandhill region. We find this to be rewarding and interesting work.

We strive to create a “salon” type atmosphere, with creative and inventive people visiting regularly and a constant willingness to try new things and push the edge. We are informed about what we try - we do not want to reinvent the wheel especially with systems that have failed, so we do a lot of research before we jump in and try something. But we are always trying something, tweaking what has already been done and working to better it. Our regular contributors have a wide range of skill sets from soils to plants to built environment to energy/appropriate tech to economics, invisible structure and community building and they like to share. We enjoy working with creative individuals who are yet disciplined enough to do the research work that will make their creativity really pay off.

Design and Study Practicum

We will hold practicum sessions most weeks. We will review and analyze farm systems and planned designs using permaculture principles and other regenerative systems tools.  No previous experience is necessary, although graduates of reputable permaculture courses will have an opportunity to increase their skill sets.

Work Life

Responsibilities may include care of greenhouse crops, field crops, food forest and animals, prepping market garden and perennial areas, planting polycrop systems, working with greywater and other water catchment systems, soil building (multiple methods), working with appropriate technology, building systems, research and careful record-keeping.  Your assistance may be needed at times to help prepare the site for classes or events, such as Farm to Table dinners.

You are expected to give 25 hours minimum per week to the program. Some apprentices may want to put in more hours to gain more skill sets.  Others may hold part time jobs off the farm or use their time to explore other areas. 

We have both long and short term apprenticeship programs. We ask for a trial period of 1-3 weeks to get to know each other and determine if we are a match - that you can get what you would like to get from the experience, and that you are a fit for us.

The farm offers:

  • Food grown at the farm plus a small meal stipend. We sometimes buy together in bulk to keep food costs down.
  • Sleeping arrangements in a bunkhouse or tents. We are planning a build of a screened living area as well as other spaces which apprentices may help build..
  • Access to outdoor showers, toilets and a full service outdoor kitchen that is being built (and that you can help create).
  • Instruction in a number of different areas of regenerative small farm production. We have many projects and potential projects. We endeavor to match projects to the interests of the apprentice, where we can do so, but we also do have schedules and seasons to respond to, and certain tasks that must be done at certain times of year so there will always be some of that work to be done.

An ideal candidate will have good communication skills, initiative, maturity, honesty, flexibility and the physical strength to work on a range of carpentry or farm infrastructure projects.  It is essential that candidates are willing and able to do the hard work that a small start-up farm requires.  You should expect to work outside in all weather conditions including rain and summer heat of 90+ degrees. In the summer, we endeavor to work outside early in the AM and/or late in the afternoon and take free time or do indoor research during the hottest hours. Nights and mornings are much cooler in our region than in some parts of Florida - it is not unusual for evenings to dip into the 60’s and for temperatures to not rise above the low 80’s until noon. We are blessed with many trees which provide natural air conditioning through their transpiration process. We have an office space where people can cool off, outdoor showers, and a pool, which is available at specific times.

Previous farming experience is valued but not required. Handyman skills, gardening, photography and many other talents are also valued.  .A vehicle is not required, but is strongly recommended, as it will allow you greater access to the beautiful environment and cultural life available in the area. We are 90 minutes from St Petersburg, Orlando and Gainesville areas.

In addition to apprentices, we are also looking for students who would like to do research projects on our farm. Suitable projects would be documentation of specialized crops suitable for West Central Florida, polyculture and agroforestry systems, sustainable greenhouse production, ethnobotany/native medicinals, and integration of natural systems with farming. There may be other subjects that would also be appropriate - ask, if you are interested!

Aside from our apprenticeship program, we have regular permablitzes and volunteer days. If you would like to work at our farm for a day or two, please send us an email with the time you will be available, skill sets, and interests.

We do not allow recreational drug use, cigarette smoking, or excessive use of alcohol on the farm at any time. We are mindful of neighbors and of others on the farm in regard to loud music or other noises. If any of these are a regular part of your lifestyle, please do not apply as you will be asked to leave the project.  

Please provide the information requested in the list below and email it to <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>. We have up to 7 positions available. We will consider applicants until we have found qualified candidates.

  1. Name
  2. Birthdate:
  3. Phone:
  4. Email:
  5. Postal address:
  6. Please attach your resume.
  7. Please provide at least two references, preferably previous employers, who can vouch for the quality of your work and communication skills, reliability, maturity and integrity. Include their names, where you worked for them and for how long, and a brief description of your responsibilities. Please list their phone numbers (and an email address if available).
  8. What dates will you be available?
  9. Why are you interested in this position?
  10. What previous experiences are you bringing to this position?
  11. What practical skills do you hope to acquire?
  12. What are your personal goals related to agriculture?
  13. What are your experiences living and working on a farm?
  14. Do you have camping experience and/or a tent?
  15. 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?
  16. Please describe interesting qualities and experiences about yourself (hobbies, pastimes, travels, research, work, etc.)
  17. Please provide any additional information that you would like us to know.

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