We’re now accepting applications for 2014 full season apprentices.
We believe that apprenticeships are a great way to learn to farm. Justin and I learned to farm by apprenticing and hands on learning. Many of our past apprentices are now managing farms (see them here.) Each season we accept two full season apprentices that work by our side and take part in all operations of the farm.
How to apply:
First read the description and fill out the application questions. Email us with a resume and 3 professional references. If we think you’d be a good fit for our operation we will contact you via email to set up a phone call and then an in person interview.
2014 Serenbe Farms Apprenticeship Description and Application
Serenbe Farms is an intensive 8-acre certified organic diversified farm located in Chattahoochee Hills, GA, just 30 miles south of Atlanta, GA. We grow over 50 different vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs in over 350 different varieties. We have shitake mushrooms, honeybees, and fruit trees.
We market our goods through our 100+ member CSA program, the local Serenbe restaurants, restaurants in Atlanta, and our own Serenbe Farmers Market.
Serenbe Farms is a part of the Serenbe community, a unique sustainable village consisting of 75% preserved green space, Earth Craft homes, restaurants, shops, artists, a bakeshop, and an equestrian center. The village of Serenbe lies in the heart of 40,000 protected acres of the newly formed city of Chattahoochee Hill Country. More on the community can be found on Serenbe’s website.
Serenbe Farms three-part mission includes:
- Providing nourishing food for our local and greater community
- Offering meaningful hands on education for all generations
- Building community through food and farming
This apprenticeship opportunity will allow you to learn how to grow high quality vegetables on small acreage throughout the seasons. Our weathered clay soils are still in need of remediation, so soil management and protection plays a large role in how our farm operates, with compost management, intensive cover cropping, and crop rotation as high priority.
Marketing our produce:
Our diverse marketing plan includes CSA, farmers markets, and restaurants.
About 50-60% of what we grow goes home with our 100+ CSA members. CSA (community supported agriculture) is a mutually beneficial relationship between growers and eaters, where members receive produce weekly throughout the growing season in exchange for ensuring the farmer a living wage and providing production costs up front. The CSA members learn about organic agriculture and share in the risks and rewards of our hard work.
Our Serenbe Farmers Market is held in the village green in the community from May until November. In its eighth season, we attract many local vendors, farmers, artists, and craftsmen, and host weekly events including live music and chef demos.
Serenbe is home to three restaurants, The Hil, The Farmhouse, and The Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop. Each of these restaurants features our seasonal produce in their menus. The chefs and the farmers have close connections and discuss crop plans and harvests. We also currently sell to the following restaurants/outfits in Atlanta: Restaurant Eugene, Holeman and Finch, Turnip Truck, Bacchanalia, Abbatoir, Floataway Cafe, the Vegetable Husband, and more.
Two full season apprentices:
We will be accepting two full season apprentices for the 2014 season. Both positions are 9 months. Apprenticeships run from March until November (with some flexibility).
Living accommodations and compensation:
Full season apprentices will receive a stipend of $800/month. Housing and farm produce is included. Intern housing is a shared three-bedroom house with kitchen, lounge, dining area, and a large yard for recreation. Utilities and Internet are included. The house is approximately 1/3 of a mile from the farm, a pleasant walk or bike ride. No pets allowed.
Vacation time is one day per month (can be consolidated and used all at once). The farm manager must approve of time taken off ahead of time.
A contract will be signed at the start of each season highlighting details of the apprenticeship. There is a two week trial period to make sure that apprentices are a good fit for the team.
Who are we looking for?
While organic farming experience is preferred, it is not necessary as long as good work ethic and interest is exemplified.
Our ideal candidate has:
- A serious interest in farming as a lifestyle and livelihood
- A physical ability to carry out all farm related tasks
- Lots of energy and is highly motivated
- A mind for efficiency and a sense of urgency
- Open and positive communication skills
You will be dealing directly with your consumers: market customers, chefs, and CSA members, so you must be friendly and able to market the products through your knowledge of their production. We prefer nonsmokers. Finally, you should love to laugh and have fun!
Work hours and description:
Our usual spring and summer workweek is around 45-60 hours, consisting of 8 – 10 hour workdays, and work as needed on the weekend including our Saturday morning market (we rotate weekends off). We start early to beat the heat. Hours may vary from day-to-day and week-to-week, so flexibility is a must. Some work will exceed normal hours including care of chickens, irrigation, and greenhouse duties.
Our CSA delivery and pick up day is Tuesday. On Tuesdays, interns will rotate delivering to our Atlanta CSA members and restaurants. A clean driving record and the ability to drive a large van or vehicle in a city setting are requirements.
The work can be physically demanding, so only those who enjoy hard work need apply. However, many hands can make light work and on most difficult tasks we will all be working together.
A quality, learning environment:
We are committed to creating the best learning environment as possible. This is a true “hands on” program as farm managers work alongside interns daily. We work hard but we also work intelligently. To make the most of this experience it takes openness, a curious nature, a mind for efficiency and a desire to learn and grow. The more initiative you take, the more responsibility we’ll give.
Interns will be exposed to and expected to competently perform all farm operations and will be responsible for managing the farm’s volunteer crew.
Greenhouse management, transplant production, crop planning, infrastructure development, tillage, cultivation, weed control, composting, and careful efficient harvesting for maximum crop quality are just some of the many things you will learn. You will not perform routine tractor work, but you will have a chance to learn the operation and functions of each of the tractor implements. You will learn to enhance soil fertility through the use of composts, manure, and cover crops. Farm rotations and insect and disease control will be discussed and implemented. You will be exposed to the organic certification process, farm budgeting, and record keeping.
Seasonally, we will offer ‘classroom’ discussions and presentations that coincide with our field lessons. A farm library will be available.
2014 marks a year of expansion and some of our time will be amending and preparing a new 3 acre plot. This is a good opportunity for an apprentice to see what it’s like to start up on sub-par soils.
We are involved in the state organic association, Georgia Organics and will have opportunities to visit other local farms.
Our farm is directly located in the 1000-acre Serenbe community, with over 600 acres of hiking and biking trails, complete with forest, streams, wetlands, waterfall, and beautiful overlooks. Our city Chattahoochee Hills’ quiet and manicured backcountry roads offer excellent biking and running routes. Nearby parks Cochran Mill, Hutcheson Ferry, and Chattahoochee Bend add to the areas to explore. The farm is located about 40 minutes from Atlanta, the capitol of Georgia, where many recreational and cultural opportunities abound. Serenbe hosts many fun seasonal events and there are other local festivals to attend.
How do I apply?
If you think that Serenbe Farms may be a good fit for you than we encourage you to apply.
Please supply us with the following information. After we review, we’ll contact you and possibly set up a visit or interview. A farm work day/interview is required.
- Please tell us about yourself (hobbies, interests, long term goals, etc.).
- Why do you want to work on a farm? How does farming fit into your future plans?
- Do you have any gardening or farming experience?
- What do you hope to learn?
- Please share a few things people should know about working with you.
- Do you have any relevant medical conditions or physical limitations that would affect your ability to do farm work (kneeling, squatting for hours, heavy lifting, long days, etc.)?
- What sort of physical shape are you in? Can you carry and lift 50 lbs?
- Do you have any other related work experiences or skills? (examples: education, carpentry, cooking)
- Do you have transportation?
- When would you be available? Any flexibility?
Please include a resume and 3 professional references.
Thanks for your interest in this opportunity at Serenbe Farms.