Number of Workers Sought3
Type of FarmHay & Forage, Large Animal (cattle, sheep, goats), Vegetable
Marketing StrategyFarmers' Market, Restaurant, Wholesale, Other
Marketing Strategy (Other)Our farm is evolving from exclusively direct to consumer, to more wholesale markets.
Describe yourself, your family, background, farming experience, philosophy, goals and interestsEric 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 liveGroundworks 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 applicantWork 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.