Bluestem Farm is Hiring for 2016

In a few short years, Bluestem Farm has gone from duct tape and bubble gum to being asked to speak at farming conferences. We’ve got recent experience turning a neglected 80 acres into a growing and successful farm business, and also have significant experience farming on leased land as well as being workers on a non-profit farm: three of the most likely scenarios for new farmers just starting out.

Bluestem Farm is a year-round organic farm offering build-your-own CSA shares, engaging community events, value-added foods, pasture-raised proteins, and social outreach programs. With 80 acres of gardens, woods, and pastures to draw from, the focus of Bluestem Farm is our diversified CSA program. Market sales and wholesale clients, as well as a new line of value-added products, are also developing aspects of our business. 

This growing season, we’re looking for one extraordinary person to join our team. You’d be working sometimes alone, sometimes with a crew of people. Primary duties will involve morning harvests, handling and cleaning vegetables, as well as sowing, transplanting, and weeding. 

Known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, this part of northern Michigan is a regional tourist destination. We are situated in the countryside among rolling hills, woods, lakes, and fields, within driving distance of a number of picturesque towns. Great spots for hiking, fishing, biking, boating, and swimming surround us. 

Skills

One sort of ideal person for this job will have a happy and productive year of experience at another farm doing similar things. Another sort of ideal person will not have much experience, but will be able to show us how you have a perfect sort of disposition for this work: a willingness to be quick and hardworking and efficient with time, to be proud of the work and to honor it, even if it's humble, excited to absorb all the tiny and big lessons this sort of life teaches, and to have a positive attitude. 

  • Significant experience in organic vegetable production.
  • Consistently strong work ethic and excellent communication skills. 
  • Very consistent positive attitude.
  • Serious intentions to start a farm one day. 
  • A love of working hard outdoors despite physical demands and all kinds of weather.
  • Ease with being around our two small children. We would never ask you to watch them, but they are often around during working hours

Educational Opportunities

As a new farmer starting out, what do you need to spend money on, and what can you get by without? What can you do on a shoestring? How do you build soil fertility in a hurry? How do you go about finding a market niche for your new farm business, and go after it with everything you’ve got? We’re first generation farmers with very recent experience starting from nothing and building a farm business we’re proud of. 

In this job, there will be countless opportunities to see and practice everything from organic crop rotation to sowing and transplanting successful crop varieties. You’ll also be with us to talk about the differences between the several models of beginning farms we’ve been part of. And while not a direct focus of this position, you'll be exposed to many other important aspects of our farm, from pasture-raised animal husbandry to social justice, community events, and fermented vegetables.

Above the regular pay we're offering, there's an educational stipend of $35 per month, which can be used to buy books or attend local farming workshops during the growing season, or saved up toward fees for winter conferences.

There's a blooming local culture up here in terms of food and farming. Two area non-profits in particular bear a mention:

  • ISLAND is a local farming and arts organization that holds workshops & twilight farm tours. It’s like a local version of CRAFT, but is called the Small Farm Guild here.
  • Martha Wagbo Farm & Education Center holds monthly community potlucks, opportunities to learn about orchards + goats + maple sugaring.

Compensation

PAY

We pay very competitively, and your own private furnished on-farm house with kitchen and bath is included. Customized farm food plan is negotiable, with everything from organic vegetables to pasture-raised pork, chicken, and eggs. Work week is 45 hours. 

HOUSING

On-farm housing is provided in the Granary Building, a small two-story house with its own kitchen, bath, and private upstairs apartment. Furnished. Farmy furnished. 

Food

We know everyone cooks and eats differently, so anything from a full locavore board plan to just vegetables or nothing at all from the farm is possible. Meals are on your own, and you’ll have your own furnished kitchen. 

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