Number of Workers Sought2
Type of FarmHay & Forage, Vegetable, Other
Marketing StrategyCommunity Supported Agriculture, Farmers' Market, Restaurant, Wholesale, Other
Pay Rate$900/month stipend, free room and board, utilities and farm produce provided. A bonus is offered to interns that meet/exceed expectations and fulfill their season-long commitment. There is also the possibility of advancement to a position of greater responsibility/management position after successfully completing a season's internship with us.
Describe yourself, your family, background, farming experience, philosophy, goals and interestsWe (Jay and Kristi) have three young children, ages 18mos., 5, and 7. In our free time we are usually at the river, swimming, fishing, or floating with them and with friends and neighbors. We also enjoy hiking and camping around MT, and foraging for huckleberries and mushrooms. Jay loves to hunt for deer and elk in the fall, and the whole family enjoys winter sports. Kristi loves to read. We are transplants from Michigan (Kristi) and Louisiana (Jay), and have been living and farming in Montana for most of the past 19 years. Kristi has worked on all types of farms in Michigan and Montana, including vineyards, a dairy, many organic vegetable and fruit farms and a conventional potato farm. Jay is a carpenter-turned farmer who is now attending D.O. school full-time. As a result, we have taken on Ian as a farm manager to help oversee farm operations. We take a holistic approach to agriculture with a focus on maintaining healthy soils through cover crops, green manure, and animal manures.We strive to be good stewards of the land that provides us our livelihoods, and look forward to passing on those skills for others to continue practicing in other capacities.
Describe the physical setting of your farm and the nature of the community in which you liveThe Moiese Valley is an incredibly beautiful agricultural valley located about an hour north of Missoula, Montana. Our 40-acre farm offers breathtaking views of the Mission Mountains to the east and is only a half-mile walk from the gorgeous Flathead River; perfect for swimming, floating, and fishing. The Mission Mountains are a half-hour drive to the east and offer endless opportunities for hiking and exploring. We are also only about 45 minutes south of Flathead Lake, and a few hours drive from Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. While this is an immensely beautiful and very diverse area, with much to see and do, we like to stress the relatively remote nature of our location. The nearest town of any size is a 15-minute drive away. We do provide wi-fi for our interns, but cell phones reception can be spotty here, depending on your service provider, although texting is usually possible. In short, interns should expect to adjust to a slower, rural, pace of life. If, after consideration, you think you'd be interested in coming to work and learn organic farming skills in an incredibly beautiful part of the world, we'd be happy to hear from you!
Describe your farm operation
We are a Certified Organic farm located in the beautiful Moiese Valley. We currently grow a variety of vegetables and herbs for wholesale markets, as well as for a multi-farm CSA operated by the Western Montana Grower's Co-op. We also grow a large seed garlic crop that is marketed through a retail seed company. In addition we have 25 acres of pasture that we lease out for grazing. We have a greenhouse for starting seeds in spring, 3 large heated hoop houses primarily used for growing tomatoes and basil, and 4 unheated hoop houses used for general season extension purposes. We also have a largish garden for home/intern use in which we grow many other vegetables, as well as assorted fruit trees and berries on the property. We have 3 tractors and various implements that we (and interns) use whenever applicable. We irrigate with a pivot and some handline. We are going through a transitional time at our farm as Jay is currently in D.O. school. As a result, we have hired a wonderful former intern, Ian, to help manage our farm and business. Interns will be working with Ian as well as with Kristi (and occasionally Jay), with the other inters, and independently at least some of the time.
Describe the work to be performed by applicantWork primarily involves helping with the seeding, planting, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, cleaning, and packing of produce for wholesale and the CSA and seed crops. Although other farm tasks such as moving irrigation pipe, driving tractors and other equipment, moving pasture fencing, and various miscellaneous farm projects, including minor carpentry and mechanical jobs, will also be included. We ask that successful applicants be fully prepared to commit to the entire growing season. It's also important that interns be able to both take direction and be self-motivated as well as work happily both as part of a team and independently.
What do you expect of a worker?We ask interns to work 9 hours a day Monday - Thursday and 4 hours on Friday mornings during the beginning and end of the season and 10-hour days Monday-Thursday for the bulk of the season. During really heavy harvest periods we may ask interns to (temporarily) work Sunday-Thursday, with a half-day on Wednesdays. We take an hour break for lunch every day and weekends are free. Interns must be able to lift 40-50 pounds repeatedly and must be willing to work outdoors in all weathers. It seldom rains in our corner of MT, but it can get very hot, windy, smokey (from forest fires), and frosty on occasion. Some degree of physical discomfort while working should occasionally be both expected and acceptable.
Describe the learning and educational opportunities available to a workerIn addition to learning how to run a successful, profitable, small organic family farm, we encourage interns to attend the CFAC field days that occur monthly throughout the growing season. We also sometimes take field trips to friends' farms to learn how other folks do things, as well as host field trips to our farm. Each season we spend time with interns going over our farm's financial records so that they get a basic grasp of the book and record keeping required to run a successful small farm. All that said, we believe the most valuable learning experience we have to offer lies in simply doing all the various day-to-day farmwork and learning how that changes over the arc of the season. Interns also have the opportunity to independently operate a Lowdown Farm stand (including harvest/transport/setup/sales, etc.) at the St. Ignatius farmer's market on Fridays, if interested.
Are you a full-time farmer?Yes
Explain the room and board arrangements or describe options in your areaHousing is in a shared new 2-bedroom, 1 bath, house with a full kitchen, a (very) small shared living area, and a washing machine. We also have a small (14ft. diameter), but quaint, yurt with electricity and a wood stove. The intern living in the yurt shares the kitchen, bathroom, and washing machine in the house. If interns smoke, we ask that they do it outdoors. Pets are negotiable, but they absolutely must be kid and livestock-friendly, no exceptions.
Please attach any photos of your farm and operation
Farm Address55497 West Rd. Moiese, MT 59824
What are the dates of your position?We are currently looking to hire one to two partial-season interns, to begin immediately and stay through the end of October.
Are you open to shorter periods of employment or do you prefer that workers stay the full season?Shorter periods of employment possible
Please share three things you think people should know about living with you.We are extremely busy with our farm and raising three young children interns should expect to be independent (able to take care of and entertain themselves) in their off-hours. There are many other farms around us that also hire interns, so there's opportunities for socializing, and endless recreational options and opportunities to explore between the Mission mountains and the Flathead river. We have found that interns who enjoy such outdoor activities as camping, hiking, fishing, and floating tend to most enjoy living in Moiese. Also, it really helps if you enjoy being around young children, as our kids are constantly out and about and love to hang out with/pester our interns.
Type of Farm (Other)seed garlic
Marketing Strategy (Other)member, Western MT Grower's Co-op; seed garlic sold through retail distributor; farmer's market
Do you have a website, social media account, or job posting anywhere else?Yes
Online Listing URLhttps://www.attra.ncat.org https://www.facebook.com/LowdownFarmMoieseMT/ https://www.instagram.com/lowdownfarm/