Our Farm Apprenticeship Program
Our work apprenticeship program began in 2000. It involves hands on experience on our 125 acre sustainably managed farm located in Floyd County, Va. The farm is home to a 100 family Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) garden and, a retail organic farming & gardening supply products business. The farm is a beautiful property, nestled in a very private setting, with rolling hills, lush pastures, orchards, 55 acres of forest and a 1-acre pond.
Description of work
Our program is designed to give you some experience into the workings of running an organic farm. We choose two apprentices each year, so with this small number of people there is a lot of personal attention given to each individual. Depending on the interests of the apprentice, the training could include many of the following projects that may be performed over several months.
- All aspects of organic vegetable production
- Large and small tractor use
- Many different aspects of organization & managing a CSA
- Safe use of hand and power tools
- Equipment maintenance and repairs, basic welding and torch usage
- Building maintenance and repairs
- Some building construction, carpentry
- Fence repair and installation
- Firewood and tree pruning, felling trees, use of a chain saw and log splitter
- Homesteading skills such as, food preserving
- Landscape beautification; flower, shrub, and tree planting
- Working with beef cows
- Fertilizer products business; stocking products and learning the uses of those products
- Plumbing and electrical, irrigation system maintenance, repairs, and improvements
Work Requirements and Compensation:
The average workweek required is 5 1/2 days per week, Monday through early Saturday afternoon. We average an eight-hour day, though weather and other needs may vary the schedule occasionally.
There is a stipend of $125.00 per week. We do provide some food that is produced on the farm, as well as some basic kitchen, bath and laundry supplies. Initially in the spring when you first come we have limited veggies available. Some items that may be available at that time are potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, and celery root. As the seasons progress you will be able to glean more veggies and fruits from the farm. In general plan to purchase many of your cooking needs.
Polly Hieser and Ron Juftes have a wealth of knowledge from our many years of working. We have been farming this land since 1990. We have education and experience in the field of horticulture, arboriculture and business management. The CSA garden has been in operation since 1991 and is well established. This is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insight and first hand experience in many aspects of organic farming.
Floyd County is a beautiful rural area with a diverse community. It is bordered by the Blue Ridge Parkway, a protected scenic route through the mountains, offering good hiking and camping. There are many interests that can be found in the small town of Floyd, which is just 20 minutes from the farm. There is a rich culture of Appalachian bluegrass and old time music, plenty of contemporary pop and some classical music as well. There are restaurants, coffee shops, health food stores and art galleries. The Jacksonville Center offers classes in fine arts and crafts. There are many holistic health practitioners throughout the area, including classes in yoga and various Chinese movement arts. Floyd County is also home to many intentional communities. The city of Roanoke and the college town of Blacksburg are each located about 45 minutes away by car.
We have developed a private camp like setting for the two apprentices. Each will have a private sleeping cabin, and there is a shared outdoor kitchen with eating area, and an outhouse. Elsewhere on the farm is a hot shower and washing machine.
Our apprenticeship program is designed to offer instruction in a wide variety of skills, in exchange for enthusiastic, hardworking help with the many chores that make a farm. We are interested in someone who has some basic experience in gardening or related field, that includes the use of basic gardening tools; someone who is physically fit, likes to work hard, wants to learn sustainable farming / homesteading, is a non smoker with no pets, and is interested in community life.
If you are interested in applying for our apprentice program — please fill out the following application and send it back to us, or call for further details. Please be prepared to arrange for a visit to the farm.
Ron Juftes 540-651-3228 or Polly Hieser 540-651-3226
Seven Springs Farm, 426 Jerry Ln. NE. Check, Va. 24072