Become a Craft Intern in 2013
Download a PDF of this posting
John Weatherhead and Colleen Ross and family
R.R. #1, Iroquois, ON K0E 1K0
Waratah Downs is a 200 acre certified organic farm nestled very close to the beautiful St. Lawrence River. We raise a small herd of beef cattle, a small flock of sheep and some laying hens for fresh organic eggs. During the summer we raise pastured poultry. We grow a variety of grains and organic soybeans, along with pasture and roughly 10 acres dedicated for vegetables. Interns will mostly be involved in the vegetable part of our farm.
We sell our vegetables from May through to mid-October through a growing local CSA. We sell through the Ottawa Farmers Market at Landsdown Park and Main Street Farmers Market each week. We also supply some local restaurants and stores, including the Green Door in Ottawa at
Zen Kitchen, The Piggy Market, Bridgehead and others. There are some farmgate sales as well. We are constantly growing our markets and have experienced considerable growth in the demand for the food that we grow. You will be a part of this exciting growing local food system.
What Interns Will Learn and Do
You will be working alongside the farmers doing various tasks that will teach you about all aspects of vegetable production. We also have livestock so you will be exposed to rotational grazing of cattle, a small flock of sheep and chickens. We have a few bee hives on the farm. Interns who are interested can assist with caring for the bees.
Each month you will join other interns in eastern Ontario for workshops at other farms.
Interns will meet with the farmers regularly to check in on how you are doing, and what we can do to make everyones learning experience better. This will give us all a chance to make sure everything is running smoothly, and that any issues are being addressed.
Horticulture tasks will include:
- planting seeds in pots in the greenhouse
- general greenhouse work such as watering, preparing seed trays and plant care
- assisting with soil preparation in the field- laying ground cover for example
- transplanting from green house to the field- by hand and using our tractor mounted transplanter
- assisting with weed control using mechanical and hand held tools
- assisting with pest control using organic approved methods such as row crop cover and certified organic products
- harvesting of vegetables- we will show you exactly how to harvest each crop and will work with you to ensure that it is done correctly. These tasks are very specific and not aseasy at it may appear.
- preparing vegetables for market - hydro cooling, washing, bunching, storage methods, packaging etc. This has to be done in a very specific way and we will work with you to make sure it is done correctly to ensure the highest quality food goes to our customers.
- Only the best leaves the farm and handling vegetables correctly after harvest has to be done just right.
- Farmers market stall- set up and sales. We would like you to assist with at least one farmers market/week
- CSA- organizing, packing and delivery of boxes to customers to their homes or drop off point
- Restaurants and other wholesale deliveries- you will learn about wholesale bulk orders compared to retail direct to customer. You will at times accompany us on delivery routes and learn how to work with chefs and other wholesale clients in order to maintain a mutually benefit relationship.
- Other tasks as required
We raised grass fed/pasture based animals. Your tasks will include:
- daily watering and feeding of chickens (and other animals when required)
- collecting eggs, cleaning and putting in cartons
- assisting with making of hay- unloading and stacking square bales in the barn
- observing livestock for herd/flock health
Other Farm Tasks
Our farm is very biodiverse, therefore the tasks and experiences you have will vary considerably. Depending on your proven ability we may ask you to drive a tractor, mow the lawn or assist with a building project. You may spend some time assisting with gardens around the house and buildings to keep the farm looking great. General tidy up and maintenance is important for a well organized busy farm to run smoothly and to keep the place looking nice. You may be asked to weed the flower garden, or help with an outdoor painting project. This is all a part of the whole-farm experience.
There is of course a lot of marketing and paper work to be done on an almost daily basis. We will show you what goes into marketing, sales and delivery of our food.
You will eat the food that comes from the farm. Each day you can bring home food for yourself and your family- within reason. When you eat with the family we prepare food together and enjoy it together. This is of course the most important task on the farm, and is what we are all about- good, nutrient dense, organic food for us and all people everywhere.
Working together as a team in a healthy environment is fun. Many of the tasks we do give pleasure. The farm is only 5 minutes from the St. Lawrence River, so we go swimming regularly, especially when it is hot and we are very dirty or simply need a break. You will rarely be working alone so there is always opportunity to get to know others on the farm while working. You will learn how to work efficiently, while chatting at the same time. You will learn the importance of working as a team, and the importance of good communication. The Farmer's Market is a lot of fun too- getting to know the people that appreciate the food you have helped to grow.
We can not provide transportation to and from the farm. If you are commuting you are responsible for your own accommodation. Accommodation is available
on the farm, which includes a trailer suitable for one person. If you want to pitch a tent there is plenty of room. For those who chose to live on the farm, we will ensure that you have a clean, safe, comfortable space. Accommodation is delegated on a first come first pick basis.
Stipend and work hours/conditions
As an intern it may very well be that you have never worked on a farm before. Compensation for your work will depend on your level of experience and your
proven abilities. The education you get on our farm will not only help you decide if you want to become a farmer but will equip you with skills that you will not learn at an agriculture college or university.
You will get food, free use of the trailer or other accommodation, and a stipend, to be determined. We would like you to work no less than 5 days/week. Priority is given to those who are able to stay until the end of October. We would like you to start work the first week of May at the latest. If you must start later, we can work with you. Pay days are every two weeks. We can not offer advances.
If you have allergies or serious back problems you may want to reconsider this opportunity. This is physically demanding. You will leave in great shape.
A valid drivers license is an asset.
Please send your resume, with a cover letter, telling us why you want this farm experience and what you can bring to our farm team.