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Self-sufficient farm apprenticeship in Industry, ME  RSS feed

 
John Paul Rietz
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Time period
Preference will be given to applicants who can start June/July/August and stay until November 1st. Also available is a September 10th-November 1st position.


Description of Farm Operation
Khadighar is a homestead farm that started in 1971 with the goal of self-sufficiency. Our work focuses on:
--eco-efficient/veganic agriculture (see explanation below),
--seed-saving,
--extensive and innovative companion planting,
--small-scale grain growing (wheat, spelt, oats, barley, flint corn, etc.),
--staple legumes (dry beans, field peas, favas, chickpeas, etc.)
--fruit (apples, pears, plums, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries),
--many unusual crops (chufa, amaranth, quinoa, hardy kiwis, hazelnuts, pepitas, etc.), and
--terrace agriculture.

Eco-efficiency refers to the relationship between all the abiotic and biotic inputs into a food crop (water, space, energy, fertility, etc.) and the outputs from it. This has implications for diet (eating lower on the food chain), but also for how we maintain soil fertility. As an ecosystem, a grassland is relatively efficient (large output with minimal input), and is only surpassed by the efficiency of the forest. Thus, grass, leaves, and woodchips (rather than manure) are the driving components of our soil maintenance program. Livestock do not “create” fertility with their manure—the fertility comes from the plants they eat. Eco-efficiency is about cutting out the middle-man (livestock) and getting the fertility straight from the plants and composting them or mulching with them.



Description of Physical Setting
The farm is located in Industry, Maine, on 85 acres of mostly hardwood forest (8 acres cleared). We have all kinds of “garden” spaces around the property: intensive vegetable beds, intensive terraces, field crops, perennial crops, etc., totaling about 3/4 of an acre. In addition, we have roughly 1.5 acres of “orchard” spaces, which includes pome and stone fruit trees, fruit vines, nut shrubs, fruit bushes, and cane fruits.
Finally, there are the Scatterseed Project plots, which amount to almost an acre. The Scatterseed Project is an ongoing effort to preserve the genetic diversity of our crop heritage, including many hundreds of varieties of potatoes, peas, and other species. Apprentices have opportunities to be involved with it, but the focus of the apprenticeship is on the self-sufficiency/homesteading aspect of the farm.
From our driveway on our dirt road, it is a 10 minute drive to Farmington (a university town), and a 2-hour drive to Portland. Clearwater Lake is 1.5 miles away (good swimming). There are other organic farms/homesteads in the area, some hosting apprentices. There are also regular contra-dances that apprentices can drive/carpool to.


Education/Skills/Work
Apprentices will be exposed to all aspects of homesteading and growing staple crops (grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts). Because we're focusing on self-sufficiency (instead of marketing crops), there is more flexibility and variety in the apprentice's educational experience.

Summer work:
planting, cultivation, mulching, weeding, chipping/shredding (brush and leaves), making compost, building dry-stone walls, making stone drains, and much more

Autumn work:
harvesting of vegetables, grain, fruit and nuts; sowing of winter grains; food processing and storage; cider making; leaf gathering for compost; firewood; putting away the gardens for the winter, etc.

Most of the time, the apprentice will be working alongside the farmer and/or other apprentice/s. We work Sun-Fri; work is flexible and highly variable; most of the work we do is not particularly strenuous. We can negotiate time off. We do a lot of talking, singing, storytelling, and joking while we work. We would like to be able to pay a stipend, but we can only afford to offer the educational experience. Apprentices share a cabin (with stove, fridge) and provide their own food, although we provide as much as we can from the gardens.



Please contact:
wabonsall@gmail.com or (207) 4916642
rietz.jp@gmail.com or (614) 448-6626
 
Dmitry Markov
Posts: 20
Location: Dallas TX
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Would you mention the hours volunteers are expected to commit to? 20 hrs/wk? 40 hrs/wk? Something else? Variable hrs/wk?
 
John Paul Rietz
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40-50 hours per week immersion experience. Up to 10 meals per week are shared by the farmer.
 
Alexandra Budz
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Hi my name is Alexandra Budz,

I am a recent graduate of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. I have always loved gardening , and my family tries to use organic produce, meats, etc. and I have become very interest, in doing more. I don't not really have a great deal of experience with permacullture farming, but have done a great deal of research and I would love to learn more.

If you have any opportunities please let me know,

Thank you in advance for your time
 
I child proofed my house but they still get in. Distract them with this tiny ad:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
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