Listing Information

Number of Workers Sought

3

Type of Farm

Hay & Forage, Large Animal (cattle, sheep, goats), Vegetable

Marketing Strategy

Farmers' Market, Restaurant, Wholesale, Other

Marketing Strategy (Other)

Our farm is evolving from exclusively direct to consumer, to more wholesale markets.

Paid

Yes

Pay Rate

$350/week.

Housing

Yes

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

Eric and Audra Bergman founded Groundworks Farm "from scratch" in 2009. Audra has a BS in resource conservation, Eric a BA in biology and MEd in science education. Both are native to Montana and have done diverse work over the years.
Eric describes farming as the "confluence" of his understanding and interests in economy, ecology and energy. Our philosophy is that to affect positive interaction in the world, we can work to build models and relationships that reflect our values.
Long term goals are to contribute to cooperative food production and economic systems that accommodate integrated health for ourselves, the landscape and neighbors.

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

Groundworks Farm is a 40 acre irrigated farm located in the fertile prairie of the Sun River Valley in Central Montana. Some additional organic acreage is leased in the winter for pasturing cattle. The farm is located 25 miles west of Great Falls (pop. 55,000) in the small village of Fort Shaw. There are no retail businesses in Fort Shaw. The nearest convenience store/gas station is 5 miles away and the nearest other services are 13 miles away.
We are within an about an hour from the public wildlands of the Rocky Mountain Front and there is plenty of other outdoor recreation to be had in the region. Great Falls has all expected features of a small city.

Describe your farm operation

Groundworks Farm has, to date, been built on direct to consumer marketing of vegetables and livestock products. We are evolving the farm model to fewer crops and more wholesale marketing. 2019 we will be growing garlic, winter squash and a few other veggie crops, along with managing our grass fed cattle with a Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) model. All practices are organic with a focus on integration.
We utilize a tractor and other mechanization as applicable to our scale, but there is much hand tool work to be had.
We value conservation and regenerative practices along with low-input and other approaches that allow for economic viability.
Our current crop portfolio requires a relatively low-level of processing.

Describe the work to be performed by applicant

Work for applicant will include moving cattle through pasture units. This involves management of electric fencing, water, mineral etc. Crop management includes planting, weeding, harvest and processing. There are diverse other duties of repair and maintenance, building projects, website and media management, customer relations etc. that will be assigned based on skills and interests of apprentice.

What do you expect of a worker?

We expect 40 hours of work/week. This can typically be accomplished with five days working eight hours, but we ask workers to be flexible depending on farm needs. Basic weekly work schedule is five days on and two days off, with other arrangements negotiable.
Worker must be able to lift and carry at least 50 pounds, be able to work from a kneeling and/or crouching position, and walk, accumulatively, 5 miles/day.

Describe the learning and educational opportunities available to a worker

Farm owner has a graduate degree in education. In addition to several years of managing and training farm workers, he spent several years managing and teaching in a field-based learning program. Most learning occurs hands-on/experientially. Weekly team meetings will put the operation and activities in perspective. Periodic topic-specific discussions/presentations are scheduled.

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

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

Employee/Apprentice housing is supplied with position and is currently either camper trailer, independent one-room bunkhouse or upstairs room of main farm house. Apprentices are primarily responsible for their own meals, with some food provided and occasional communal meals prepared by owner. Family includes a 7 year old boy (2019). Illegal activity not tolerated, responsible use of other substances expected.

Please attach any photos of your farm and operation

Farm Address

8 Clark Street, Fort Shaw, MT 59443, USA

What are the dates of your position?

Approximately May 1, 2019 - November 15, 2019 with long-term partnerships negotiable.

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 work hard on the farm and are conscious of our efforts in the context of broader personal, social and environmental understanding. Farm owners are engaged in work and obligations off of the farm, largely connected with sustainable farm economy and cooperative organization, which means apprentices may sometimes be expected to work independently. We tend to approach life "organically," but try to institute structure and routine where valuable.

Currently Hiring

Yes

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

Yes

Online Listing URL

http://groundworksfarmmt.com

Trial Period Description

Although open and tolerant to a wide range of abilities and personalities, we reserve the right to request a worker to leave at any time at our own discretion.

Location