In addition to our apprenticeship, we are offering a one-week Black and Latino Farmers Immersion late June 2014. Read more and apply here.
Apprenticeship 2014 – Sustainable Agriculture, Food Justice & Community
from 2012 participants…
“Jonah and Leah have an unparalleled enthusiasm about being alive and loving their work, I was blown away.”
“Elen Cixous wrote about ‘the possibility of taking a mountain into one’s arms.’ This is the kind of big hope I dove into at Soul Fire Farm. Try this: raise two kids, build your own house (timber frame straw bale), teach full time, grow enough food to feed 25 families all summer, co-counsel, dance, cook, clean, pray, and engage people around you with deep compassion and intention.”
Who We Are: Soul Fire Farm is a family farm that taps deep into our commitment to justice and dismantling oppressive systems and structures. We are a mixed race family of 4 living rurally in a natural straw bale, solar house that we built. Our work at Soul Fire Farm is connected to the dismantling of oppressive structures that surround us, and particularly in our food system. SFF is a space where people of color and women in particular have access to the powerful connection to the land. We have a commitment to developing and supporting leadership of POC within the food system. Our small, production hand-scale farm and homestead that feeds our family plus around 60 families in the nearby cities of Troy and Albany, NY. We intensively cultivate 1 acre in vegetables and fruits, and 5 acres of pasture for egg and meat chickens. Hudson Valley Natural Building is our business that occasionally designs and builds homes, using natural techniques such as straw bale, timber frame, and natural finishes, as well as teaching workshops.
What to Expect: Apprentices work 32-40 hours per week (approximately 4-5 days @ 8 hours) in exchange for room and board. Hours are regularly more in peak season. Work is primarily farm work with occasional building and infrastructure projects on farm. There is occasionally an off-farm building project. Farm projects include sheet mulching, beds preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting, packing, delivering CSA shares, chopping firewood, media and outreach, caring for animals, and preserving food. Building projects may include general carpentry, assisting in workshops, working on straw bale house projects, designing, and building earth ovens, sauna, and outdoor kitchen.
Apprentices are integrated into our family, so in addition to farm work, are expected to regularly contribute to cooking and rotating household chores. We eat three, wholesome, hot meals a day. Our work starts at dawn and we work hard even in bad weather. Farmers, Jonah and Leah work 50+ hours a week, so we will offer support in carving out your own personal time. Last season’s weekly schedule can be viewed here. Each day starts with schedule overview and short personal reflection.
Apprentices are part of weekly farm planning and scheduling meetings. In addition, we offer a weekly skillshare, lecture or discussion on a topic of your choosing. The diversity of skillshare offering reflects our commitment to sharing all we know to help you grow as a farmer/homesteader and personally. See partial list here of skillshares. We also are deeply involved with community organizations and grassroots work in Albany and Troy, and love to connect you with a diversity of off-farm learning opportunities. See partial list here.
Participants have the option to live in our house, barn, or tent, and are part of our family and community. Room and board is included. We have lots of fun gatherings, and the house is often filled with trapeze practice, dancing, music, food, laughter, and kids.
What You Bring: Previous farming experience is strongly desired, or regular extended physical labor. The ideal applicant has strong understanding and commitment to issues of food justice, particularly POC. Other sought skills include comfort with using hand tools such as a shovel, hoe, rake, and pitch fork. Additional skills we are seeking include general carpentry knowledge and comfort using power and hand tools. Being an independent hard worker is a must. Also useful would be someone computer/media savvy. Being comfortable with cooking with whole foods is a plus, but also a place to learn during your internship. Having a car is recommended but not necessary, as we take regular trips to the cities nearby.
Application Process: Please fill out the online form or print it and send it via mail. Also contact us for an initial conversation and to find a time for an interview. You are welcome anytime from April-mid-November, ideally for a 4 week minimum.
Timeline: We will have a few dates for on-farm working interviews this winter. This is in place of remote phone or video conference interviews. If the visit is not possible, we will Skype or talk on the phone. We will offer applicants a place by late February and request a commitment shortly after. We have space for 1-2 full season apprentices plus an additional space that can be shared by a patchwork of shorter term volunteers. The program runs April thru mid November. We are also always on the lookout for people interested in longer term commitment.
2014 Application Form