Apprenticeship

The Sustainable Agriculture Program at Tollgate is looking for two apprentices for the 2017 season. This is a full time job spanning late-May until mid-October.

The Farm

Tollgate is located on 160 acres in Novi, MI and includes pasture, hay fields, 40 acres of forest, a conference center and educational facilities. The sustainable agriculture field totals five acres with three under cultivation as well as a heated greenhouse for transplant production. We grow more than forty different vegetables for sale to our forty member CSA, at market and wholesale. Embracing organic growing methods and progressive growing techniques, our production strives to grow food that nurtures soil and human health.

The Apprenticeship

The apprenticeship is designed as an intensive introduction into the field of small scale sustainable vegetable agriculture, equipping participants with the technical skills needed to begin their own operation. Apprentices will be responsible for the day to day operation of the farm, including planting, weeding, harvesting and processing the produce. CSA distribution and market stands will also be operated by the apprentices. At the end of the season, the apprentices will have an excellent handle on the operation of the farm and dedicated participants would be qualified for the field manager position the next season, or the apprenticeship program at MSU's North Farm, an intensive 3 year program.

Apprentices will be supervised by the Field Manager, who in turn reports to the CSA Coordinator.

As part of the program, apprentices will engage with textual and online material as well. These more formal learning opportunities will connect the hands on technical training to larger concepts necessary to understand the operation of a farm. Topics covered in the apprenticeship include:

Crop and soil science

Financial literacy

Business and marketing

Pest and disease control

Operational management

Apprentices will also have the opportunity to visit other organizations that are involved in the local, sustainable food movement, including farms, processing facilities and other relevant businesses. The apprentices may also have the opportunity to engage with the animals on site, assist with educational programming and be involved with value added processing of the farm's produce.

Pay is $9/hour with some benefits. Apprentices will have access to and are encouraged to use the produce from the farm.

Qualifications

Previous farming or gardening experience is not required. Instead we are seeking candidates with a demonstrated interest in sustainability and indications that this experience will inform your future work. Making this connection should comprise the bulk of your application.

Applicants are expected to be physically capable as the job involves completing long stretches of strenuous labor in challenging working conditions. Previous outdoor work experience is preferred and the applicant should be able to lift 50+lbs. The physical nature of this job cannot be understated, as it requires physical work in the hot sun for months. Please indicate your outdoor experience in your application. Applicants with physical limitations should please indicate those in their application material and how they have overcome those challenges in their personal and work life, while understanding this does not preclude you from qualification.

 Applicants should have a demonstrated ability to listen to directions and execute them. This is a crucial element of this job as apprentices are relied upon to become more autonomous as the season progresses.

A positive attitude and solid communication skills are essential to success in this position. Those who have previously had difficulty working on small teams are encouraged to develop these skills before seeking employment as an apprentice.

Applicants are encourage to espouse the qualities that make them unique and how those qualities will contribute to a small team.

Those who have been charged with a felony should indicate the nature of the charge in their application material and how their experience will inform their work ability while understanding this does not preclude you from qualification.

To apply please send an e-mail to Will Jaquinde at jaquinde@anr.msu.edu with the follow material:

Resume, one page

Cover Letter, one page

Two References, work preferred, no family members or friends (who weren't employers).

The deadline is February 1st, although applicants may be accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants will be informed of an interview opportunity no later than February 8th.

MSU Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race,color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status.

 

 

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