Our farm is listed with WWOOF and due to the diverse nature of our operation we get a lot of interest in internships, apprenticeships, and job opportunities. We do accept one or two workers at a time from mid-April through at least the end of September and sometimes through October. Workers contribute about four to six hours of labor each day and are compensated with room and board. Housing is in the cabin where we lived during our first few years on the farm – there is no running water and limited electricity, but amenities are available at the farmhouse. Prospective workers are encouraged to consider the following:
1. We do not pay first-season workers an hourly wage. For one thing, even if you have previous farm experience you do not have previous experience on our farm. We view this as a learning opportunity and do our best to supply information and a variety of experience, not just a pile of menial labor. Secondly, our farm is still young and growing and our cash flow is not very reliable. We are lucky if WE get paid much of anything to work on our farm, and we work longer hours and have tens of thousands of dollars invested in the operation.
2. Farm life is wonderful but more challenging than idyllic. The cabin has no running water and limited electricity. This means it is more of a hassle than usual to cook your food and wash your dishes, and you probably won’t have internet access. We eat primarily food that we grow or that is purchased locally, supplemented by a few basics like coffee and pasta. In September this is far from a hardship, but in April it means very little fresh food and the freezer-burned dregs of last year’s garden. Farm work is useful and satisfying and generally occurs in beautiful surroundings – but it’s usually hot or cold or wet and the bugs will drive you crazy. Hay bales, water buckets, piglets, and sacks of potting soil are very heavy, and carrying them will make your back hurt. Working outdoors is not beautifying: your nails will break, your skin will dry out and get sunburned, and your clothes will get manure on them. Broodsows and finishing hogs are big animals and not at all shy: they will push you around at feeding time. There are a million different things to do on a farm, but all of them have to be done over and over and over and over until you are quite bored of doing them.
3. We discourage vegetarians from applying, even those who think they are open-minded. Pigs are raised for one purpose only, and it’s not wool. We regularly slaughter pigs, veal calves, rabbits, and chickens on the farm for home consumption. Even the necessary on-farm veterinary work, such as castration, is pretty unappealing to the squeamish.
If these warnings are not off-putting, please contact us to inquire about openings in the current or upcoming season.