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How to Find a Farm Job: online resources for finding a job on the farm
Looking for a job, apprenticeship, internship, or volunteer position on a farm? Planting, seeding, shepherding, flower cutting, beekeeping, manure scooping…some sustainable agriculture and environmental groups and publications have classifieds section where you can find opportunities. Here are a few of the main resources. (And they're all free!)
What is the difference between an internship and apprenticeship?
A Civil Eats article gives a good explanation for the difference between the two:
"While an internship introduces inexperienced people to farming via hands on training, an apprenticeship eventually creates a farmer by passing on an entire set of skills."
A great resource (where I found my summer farm job at The Farm Institute) is the Comfood Listserve. Comfood, which as far as I can tell is short for “Community Food,” is run by Tufts University. The regular list serve is a resource for sustainable agriculture news and information sharing. But to get job alerts you must sign up for the Comfood Jobs listserve. Start the sign-up here: https://elist.tufts.edu/wws. You’ll start getting updates in your inbox, and can also see archives of past emails on the website.
2) ATTRA / National Center for Appropriate Technology
Better known as, ATTRA, the National Center for Appropriate Technology provides a very extensive library of publications on all things related to sustainable farming, including energy alternatives, water and pest management, etc…
Their directory of internship and apprenticeship opportunities can be navigated by state or keyword (egs., “dairy”).
3) The Rodale Institute
The Rodale Institute is considered a pioneer in organic agriculture research. Their farm and research center is located in Kutztown, PA, but their classifieds section posts opportunities across the country for internships, apprenticeships, farm hands, shepherds, you name it.
Sample ad in the Rodale classifieds
Here’s a recent example from the Rodale classifieds:
Apprentice Positions at Red Fire Farm
Three apprentice positions open for the 2008 season. Candidates should have some prior experience with vegetable growing. Apprentices learn how to farm vegetables and berries in an efficient and profitable way at the 25-acre scale. Each apprentice will operate tractors and other farming equipment, lead field crews, run a weekly CSA distribution and participate in the CRAFT farmer-training program. Candidates considering a commitment of 2 or more seasons are preferred. Compensation includes housing, food, stipend ($800/month), and health insurance. Contact Ryan: 413-467-7645, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.redfirefarm.com. MA
4) NOFA: Northeast Organic Farming Association
Useful if you're just looking for opportunities in the Northeast US. I’m not a huge fan of NOFA because it’s not so easy to navigate. But the best way seems to be to pick the state you’re interested in – for example the Massachusetts chapter - as there are far more options listed than under the general NOFA site.
5) Local Harvest
Local Harvest is a great online resource, not just for finding jobs and internships, but also searching for farmers markets, grassfed meat, and family farms near you. Their internship and job page is organized as a forum, and does not give an indication of location, making it not especially easy to navigate.
6) Orion Magazine
Short and to the point, this environmental magazine has a great classifieds section that allows you to narrow your search by type of job. It organizes postings with most recent first, and also shows the location, job title, and organization name, making it one of the more user-friendly resources.
Sample of job posting in Orion Magazine
Summer Garden Coordinator (Seasonal
Summer Garden Coordinator is responsible for caring for and nurturing a large garden as well as providing programming for Resident Campers and user groups throughout the summer. Must be able to demonstrate knowledge of plant, insect and animal life and be able to teach campers in their understanding of their natural and social environments. Dates of employment are May 21st - August 24th. Position includes room & board.
7) Other Resources on Farming Life
Civil Eats Young Farmers Unite is a great site for farming stories, commentary, government policy updates, eating culture, and more.