Listing Information

Currently Hiring

Yes

Number of Workers Sought

2

Type of Farm

Small Animal (pigs, rabbits, poultry), Vegetable, Fruit/Orchard, Other

Marketing Strategy

Community Supported Agriculture, Farm Stand, Farmers' Market, Restaurant, Wholesale, Education, Other

Marketing Strategy (Other)

We have a wide variety of on-farm programs and events, including a large email newsletter list.

Paid

Yes

Pay Rate

Pay depends on experience and housing choices.

If living on the farm in one of the crew cabins, pay ranges from $11-13/ hour for people with at least one full season of farmwork experience, and $9-10/ hour for people with less than one full season of relevant farm experience (with potential for raises as they gain experience and skills here).

Crew living off-farm, which includes all part-time positions, will earn $13-$16/ hour if they have at least one season of farming experience, or $10-$12/ hour with no relevant farm experience (with potential for performance-based raises throughout the season).
Housing:
The individuals in the two full-time positions each have their own small but private cabin (110 square feet), equipped with sleeping loft, power, refrigerator, electric heat and electric cook-top, wi-fi access, composting toilet, and kitchen sink. Cabins do not have running water, but are equipped with refillable jugs, and a water spigot for refilling is nearby. A bathhouse building with a heated shower, washing machine, and wood-fired sauna is next to the cabins and available for everyone on the farm. Our entire farm property is non-smoking and no tobacco use is permitted on-farm. The farm does not charge rent for the cabins for full-time crew. Currently there are no on-farm housing options for part-time positions.

Food:
Plenty of farm produce is available, plus abundant seconds for preserving. We try to make time each season for a few work parties as a team to supply everyone who wants to participate with salsa, pesto, etc. for the winter. Individuals are responsible for their own meals on a daily basis, but we do periodically prepare group meals to foster a team discussion, celebrate an accomplishment or special occasion, or thank the crew for an extra work-push. We promise to share all baked goods delivered by farm members (it does happen fairly often).

What are the dates of your position?

Start: Early to mid April - exact dates can be negotiated End: The fall season ends when the fall field cleanup is complete. Usually this is between October 31st and November 15th. NOTE: These start and end dates reflect the minimum commitment needed for seasonal crew. Applicants interested in year-round farm employment are strongly encouraged to apply, with winter work schedules negotiated based on individual needs.

Are you open to shorter periods of employment or do you prefer that workers stay the full season?

Prefer full season

Housing

Yes

Explain the room and board arrangements or describe options in your area

Housing:
The two full-time crew each have their own small but private cabin (110 square feet), equipped with sleeping loft, power, refrigerator, electric heat and electric cook-top, wi-fi access, composting toilet, and kitchen sink. Cabins do not have running water, but are have refillable jugs and a water spigot for refilling is nearby. A bathhouse building with a heated shower, washing machine, and wood-fired sauna is next to the cabins and available for everyone on the farm. Our entire farm property is non-smoking and no tobacco use is permitted on-farm. The farm does not charge rent for the cabins for full-time crew. Currently there are no on-farm housing options for part-time positions.

Food:
Plenty of farm produce is available, plus abundant seconds for preserving. We try to make time each season for a few work parties as a team to supply everyone who wants to participate with salsa, pesto, etc. for the winter. Individuals are responsible for their own meals on a daily basis, but we do periodically prepare group meals to foster a team discussion, celebrate an accomplishment or special occasion, or thank the crew for an extra work-push

Please share three things you think people should know about living with you.

Our life and growth as a farm has been pretty intense; we built/ are still building our farm without a lot of experience or resources, but with an immense amount of determination and grit. People who thrive here, and who have bonded into the best seasonal teams, are generally much like us: passionate, determined, and obsessive about food and farming. Many have made an attempt or two to quit farming but find they just can’t stay away. The crew members who came to us without farm experience and did do well here all had one characteristic in common: they had experience in self-driven passionate pursuit of something they cared about beyond the limits of what most people would consider reasonable. That has included a musical career, a startup business, medical school, and fiction writing; these pursuits were totally outside of farming, but they knew what it was like to be motivated by a meaningful goal. None would consider themselves normal.

Do you have a website, social media account, or job posting anywhere else?

Yes

Describe yourself, your family, background, farming experience, philosophy, goals and interests

We believe in the power of food and healthy landscapes as a benefit to all. Farming has become our way to be an integrated part of our community by providing both healthy food and a connection to the place and methods that produced it. We are very open with the community about our practices, our farm development, and our challenges; we encourage farm members and customers to tour the farm throughout the season as we host seasonal farm events. Because of this outreach farm crew will find themselves welcomed by a highly engaged community of farm members and customers. We are entering our eighth season of full-time farming, and in 2022 we will have about 2.5 acres in production including four stationary unheated high-tunnels (30’x60’), and another 5,000 square feet of season extension through five moveable caterpillar tunnels. We sell our produce through a local farmers' market, a self-serve farmstore, a membership program of approximately 90 households, and through a grower's co-operative and 2 local restaurant accounts.

Describe the physical setting of your farm and the nature of the community in which you live

SweetRoot is situated in a rural-residential neighborhood just outside of the town of Hamilton, in the center of the Bitterroot Valley. Our immediate neighbors are a mix of cattle pasture and rural homes, with a good view of both the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains.

From the farm, the town of Hamilton is a flat bike ride of less than 2 miles; the larger university-town of Missoula is about a one-hour drive. There are multiple trailheads for accessing the Bitterroot National forest and other public lands within a 5-10 miles drive, and a good swimming hole on the Bitterroot River about a half-mile from the farm.

Please see photos and read the farm newsletters at www.sweetroot.farm

Describe your farm operation

We grow about 50 crops for direct sales and a smaller sub-set for wholesale accounts. Wholesale is mainly: baby greens (salad, arugula, baby kale, spicy mixes, spinach), head lettuce, radishes, onions, and some cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. Our production is about 75% for direct-sales (market, farmstore, and farm memberships) and 25% for wholesale (Western Montana Growers Co-op and two local chefs). We grow using all organic methods, are certified by Montana Homegrown (Montana Sustainable Growers Union), and are beginning the process of applying for USDA organic certification. In 2019 we altered our soil preparation and planting methods to a minimal tillage system on permanent beds; we use both a BCS walk-behind tractor and a four-wheeled Kubota tractor for various farm tasks.

We continue to expand our deep fall and winter production; over the past three years we’ve gradually become a year round operation, with fresh greens and storage crops feeding a winter CSA and our year-round farmstore (2022 goals include adding mushroom cultivation to this mix). Crew working for the main season can continue on the farm year-round if interested

Describe the work to be performed by applicant

We are seeking one more full-time farmer to fill out our core team of four living and working on the farm. This person will work alongside the farm owner/ operators (Noah and Mary), as well as one experienced crew member who has been here over a year and a half (Sabrina). This position gives the opportunity to learn all aspects of vegetable, flower, and egg production, and is best suited to someone with at least one year of farm experience and a goal of continuing in small-scale agriculture. Responsibilities will include soil/bed prep, seeding, transplanting, cultivation, greenhouse and nursery management, harvest of a diverse range of crops, post-harvest handling, and sales (farmers market and farmstore, membership pickup) and record keeping. Will also include care for laying hen flock (feeding, watering, welfare checks, egg collection, and moving to fresh pasture). We are looking for people who are hard-working, motivated to learn, perform well in a fast-paced environment, and are interested in some aspect of farming as a career. This position runs from mid-April through the end of October or early November, with possibility to extend to year-round work. Hourly pay, at 40-50 hours/ week. Crew can expect to work 5 days/ week, with two full days off each week, usually Saturday-Sunday.

We are also hiring for 2-3 part-time positions that do not include on-farm housing. Part-time crew must be able to commit to at least 24-30 hours per week, and a minimum of 3-4 months (strong preference will be given to those who can commit to the entire 6-month season April-October). Part-time crew duties will vary, but in general may include helping with produce harvest, washing, and packing, helping prepare planting beds, transplant seedlings, plant care and maintenance (weeding, pruning/ trellising, irrigation, etc.), stocking and hosting the on-farm farmstore during member pick-up days, caring for farm spaces and animals on Saturdays during the market time, load up for and unpack from Saturday farmers market, and keeping farmstore clean and stocked. Part-time positions are likely to require one weekend day at least every other week.

What do you expect of a worker?

We try to have the full-time team work 40-50 hours per week, on five-days/ week schedule, but we also want to give a realistic experience of farming, so we do expect that everyone stays at it until the day's tasks are done. Each individual’s speed, efficiency, and focus directly impact the length of the workday for the whole team. Full-time crew can expect two full days off each week; generally the crew work-week is Mon- Fri (some weekly schedules may be altered to fill in with market help or weekend farm duties in exchange for a weekday off). Our farmers market is Saturday, and our busiest farmstore day is Tuesday. Part-time crew need to commit to at least 24-30 hours/ week (as 3-4 full days/ week), with the expectation of at least some weekend work. Time off must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance.

We expect everyone on the team to be capable of the physical demands daily farm tasks. This includes lifting up to 50 lbs repeatedly, walking over uneven terrain, being able to squat or bend over to reach the ground for harvests and plant maintenance. Crew need to be able to take both written and verbal instruction and ask appropriate clarifying questions as needed.

Describe the learning and educational opportunities available to a worker

We are in a constant process of evaluating and improving our farm, and we invite crew into both the learning and behind the scenes farmwork alongside us. Specific learning goals for each crew member will be discussed at the start of the season, and we'll make a plan for how you want to gain those skills, in addition to what we need crew to learn in order to farm effectively and efficiently for the season. We have close ties with many farms in the region and can help facilitate visits to other farms for motivated individuals. We also have a 6-year archive of Growing for Market magazines, and numerous farming books available for crew to browse.

Are you a full-time farmer?

Yes

Do you require a trial period or require a prospective worker to visit your farm before hiring?

Yes

Trial Period Description

In person or phone interview.

Please attach any photos of your farm and operation

Online Listing URL

http://www.sweetroot.farm/employment

Type of Farm (Other)

flowers