Farm Apprentice & Intern Program
2017 Organic Farm Apprentice & Internship Positions
Apprentice positions are from April - October • Intern positions are from May - August
*Apprentice & Intern position experiences are similar, as described below, however apprentice positions are longer and therefore receive more in-depth training and experience.
Scroll Down for full position description below, we provide, housing, all the food from the farm that you can eat and a weekly stipend for living expenses.
About Devon Point Farm’s Apprentice & Intern Program:
Devon Point Farm is committed not only to growing healthy (chemical-free, organic) food and feeding our local community, but to educating the new farmers, agricultural entrepreneurs, nutritionists and agricultural policy makers of tomorrow. Our in-depth apprentice & intern program immerses individuals with a serious interest in sustainable food production, with more than theoretical knowledge… our approach is a practical, hands-on education that takes them from the soil and roots of a farming operation to the business fundamentals they need to know to make their own farming business a financially viable success. For others, this experience will help shape their ideas on government’s hand in agriculture or it will help them speak with credibility on subjects like sustainability, and food systems, nutrition and policy.
As the owners of this operation, we make a considerable time investment in carefully selecting and teaching only a handful of candidates that will truly benefit the most from this apprentice and internship experience. With over 300 applicants annually for just five positions, we screen for individuals who are committed to making the most of their experience on our farm, to help positively shape their future, and to foster an environment that encourages creativity and innovation in developing new, financially viable farm business ideas.
‘Sustainability’ is the buzzword in farming today, but a sustainable farm is not truly sustainable unless it is financially viable as well. Small- to mid-size farms must be creative and diversified to survive in today’s economy. It is absolutely critical to a farm’s economic success and long-term sustainability to constantly look for opportunities to diversify their core operations. While at the farm, our apprentices and interns are encouraged to think through, field-test, and lay the foundations needed to create their own agricultural business ideas and actually write their business plan. In some cases, we are able to provide the land, equipment and resources they need to start their own farming operation.
Many of our apprentices and interns come to Devon Point during the searching phase of their adult lives, having been inspired by Michael Pollan books, and movies such as Food, Inc., influenced by altruistic and idealistic college professors, and a craving for meaningful work in nature’s outdoor world. They also come weary of a bleak job market and depressing economy, or fatigued from an unfulfilling corporate office life or unsatisfactory career.
Our job is not to present a pretty picture of farming, but to give them the gritty, realistic, practical perspective of what a farmer’s body and brain must accomplish any given day in order to succeed in a challenging choice of vocation. We do not focus on nostalgic or sentimental aspects of agriculture, but instead the marriage of new ideas, and new business models to create tomorrow’s small business owners in farming… people who will directly create their own healthy businesses in their communities, be sources of local food, inspiration and jobs in their communities, and in turn educate others, both their customers and other future farmers about farming and food production today. Devon Point Farm’s apprentice program is meant to be an opportunity for individuals to test themselves in a career that they have dreamed of pursing and giving them the hands-on training, tools, experience and education, along with the possibility to use land as test plots for their fledgling businesses. Our apprentices and interns are taught how to preserve resources, grow healthy food, and work with nature, not against it.
We bring our apprentices and interns on private tours of other select farms where other farm business owners share their insights, successes and failures in their agricultural activities. They learn about large-scale traditional farming models, as well as more innovative small-scale niche farming activities that often rely more on agritourism (the fastest growing sector in agriculture); the creation of unique, niche farm products; or incorporating wellness and holistic healing education and activities with farming to create a complete farm-to-table-to-body business model.
Throughout the apprentice and intern experience at Devon Point, family life is emphasized… how to incorporate supporting a marriage and a family from the income and lifestyle of a small farm. Through our struggles and triumphs in farming, and those of other farmers, our apprentices and interns are made aware of the family side of what a farming lifestyle is all about.
From first hand experience we know the challenges new famers face, things like finding land, locating working capitol, procuring leases, managing the negative background noise from the critics and developing realistic goals. Like any business and maybe more so in farming, the upfront costs of purchasing land, infrastructure and equipment make for some pretty steep barriers to entry. The time-tested model of sharecropping (when a farmer who does not own land works a plot belonging to a landowner who receives a share of the harvest as payment) may be the best solution to getting started. And for the right candidates, we offer this.
One of our goals is to prove that a husband and wife team can make a living solely from farming (no off-farm jobs) while carrying a mortgage, not having inherited the land, and not having a trust fund or wealthy family’s support.
Our Apprentice Opportunity: Devon Point Farm offers an honest, accurate on-farm learning experience. We provide a beautiful, clean, safe, healthy setting to work hard, play hard, and learn valuable real-life skills. You can get in great physical shape while learning all the basic components that you need to strategically plan, operate, promote and manage your own profitable, sustainable and rewarding farm business. The work teaches about sustainable farming practices, economics of making a farm profitable, marketing, raising cattle, growing crops organically for profit, customer relations, and what it's like to work hard for a healthy lifestyle and successful future.
About Devon Point Farm: Devon Point Farm has a 200-member organic vegetable and flower share “CSA” share program, CSA stand for “Community Supported Agriculture” – a simple idea in which a CSA member buys a “share” of a farmer’s harvest at the beginning of growing season and then come to the farm on a weekly basis to pick it up. We also have a herd of rare heritage breed North Devon Cattle (commonly called American Milking Devons), which are sold for breeding stock and grassfed beef. The entire farm is farmed organically and we also raise heritage breed chickens for eggs and meat as well as pigs for pork. In the FALL, we do a "Winter CSA Share" vegetable program for up to 100 CSA members, this program would be one of the primary responsibilities of the Fall Apprentice.
Devon Point Farm is owned and Operated by Patty and Erick Taylor. The farm is located in Woodstock, Connecticut, an area is known for its rural countryside and classic New England setting. The farm is located 30 minutes from Worcester, 1 hour from Providence and Hartford, 1 1/2 hours from Boston and slightly over 3 hours from New York City.
The daily farm routine: The daily routine is Monday - Friday, 6 am – 6 pm. Saturdays are a half day. On a daily basis, there's routine chores like caring for chickens, moving cattle through rotational grazing pastures, and all the components of running the CSA like starting seeds, planting, weeding, harvesting, setting up produce displays for the share members, cutting flowers and making bouquets. We work 11-12 hour days, but if it's hot and we’re caught up on our workload, we’re the first to suggest running off to a nearby pond for a swim, then finish up with any evening chores and a great meal.
Special learning components for apprentices and interns: Apprentices and interns get a special learning opportunity about all the “behind-the-scenes” aspects of farm business management – all aspects of running a profitable and sustainable farm business including but not limited to understanding the farm’s bookkeeping, financial planning and management, grant writing, and the holistic approach animal and crop production planning. Also cattle herd management, our breeding philosophy, grassfed beef production, marketing and processing, grazing rotation planning, as well as overall herd health management. Also all aspects of the business management of organic vegetable and flower farm operations will be shared including field crop planning, crop management, equipment and supply decisions, product marketing and promotion, customer relationship management, as well as day-to-day operations management.
Housing available: For both apprentices and interns, we have room and board available. We have a brand-new house with very nice accommodations - a big room upstairs with a great view of a pond frequented by ducks and geese and the cows grazing in the fields beyond. A private bathroom shared only with other interns. Your "off time" (typically Sundays) would be your own and we would encourage you to explore the area and can set up other farm visits to round out your experience. We also have a boat and like to go weekly to the ocean for fishing and beach time - interns would be welcome to join us on the boat or get dropped off on a beach or at a scenic coastal town like Mystic for a day of shopping and sightseeing.
Stipend: We do not pay apprentices or interns for their work as this is a volunteer learning experience, but we do provide a weekly stipend for living expenses plus housing, in our home or in tents, and all the food you can eat that we produce on the farm.
The right candidate: We are only looking for dedicated, honest, hard working, down-to-earth, positive, teachable, fun-loving, clean-cut appearance, non-smoking and English-speaking, applicants. Like any experience, you will get out of it what you put into it.
Full-Season APPRENTICE positions are from the beginning of April through the end of October.
Mid-Season SUMMER INTERN positions are typically during the college break, from End of May through Mid-to-late August.
FALL Apprentice position runs from mid-October through mid-December.
How To Apply: Interested applicants may e-mail us at email@example.com with a brief description of yourself, a resume, a photo of yourself, what interests you about our farm business, what you would like to get out of your stay, how long you would like to stay with us, your related experience/background/education.
Contact us: Website: www.devonpointfarm. Phone: 860-974-9004 or best yet: Email us.