Ocean Song Wants You!

posted August 15, 2008

Farm & Garden Director, Ocean Song Farm & Wilderness Center

Description of Ocean Song

Situated on 350 acres in West Sonoma County, Ocean Song is a learning center with the mission of inspiring and educating people of all ages to live in harmony with nature. Ocean Song offers year-round education programs for children, hosts workshops and retreats in the areas of conscious activism, eco-psychology, indigenous wisdom and deep ecology, sponsors seasonal community rituals and festivals, and provides a site for weddings and other celebrations. The property has many diverse ecosystems which include native grasslands, redwoods, riparian zones, and mixed oak woodlands as well as 9 fenced acres that contain the site of the organic farm and gardens. Since 1989 Ocean Song has fostered community access to the property and continues to be open to members for hiking and other activities.

Since 1999 Ocean Song has been owned by author and activist, Andrew Beath. Andrew is the President of the EarthWays Foundation (based in Malibu, California), which manages the property and programs at Ocean Song. Ocean Song Farm & Wilderness Center (OSFWC), a locally-based non-profit organization, leases part of the property (including the farm and garden area) for program activities and for the benefit of its members.

General Description of the Position

OSFWC is seeking an individual or couple to manage and operate a CCOF-certified organic farm and the existing perennial habitat and herb gardens. The position is a one-year trial to be followed by a long-term arrangement if all parties wish to continue. On-site housing (a trailer and yurt) or a site for other portable housing is included.

Applicants must be committed to engaging in sustainable and regenerative organic farming practices and have a strong interest in and capacity for achieving the following objectives:

1. Create and manage a commercially viable farm
a) Work with the OSFWC Garden Committee, with EarthWays agreement, to develop a production and marketing plan that fits with the scope of the site and existing program activities.
b) Utilize onsite opportunities to sell farm output (vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers, etc.) by marketing to workshops, retreats and weddings. Establish a CSA to sell to local residents and children’s program families and a road-side farm stand for tourist sales.

2. Establish an educational component of the farm and garden
a) Host classes and workshops on farm and garden topics, i.e. Sustainable Agriculture, Permaculture, seed-saving, etc.
b) Hire, train and supervise interns and apprentices

3. Create opportunities for community involvement
a) Host regular volunteer days for the farm and/or garden
b) Promote Ocean Song programs for OSFWC and EarthWays in all aspects of farm sales and marketing

Required Skills, Qualities and Experience

Knowledge of organic farming practices and methods. Experience and training in French Bio-Intensive, Biodynamic, and Permaculture principles and methods desired.

Extensive knowledge of perennial herbs and flowers a plus.

Ability to operate farm machine equipment (i.e. tractor, mowers). Basic maintenance skills of this machinery a plus.

Knowledge and experience in design and installation of irrigation systems (i.e. drip, sprinklers, oscillators, soaker hoses, timers, etc.).

Minimum of two years experience in managing and working on all aspects of an organic production farm.
Access to or ownership of a solid work vehicle.

Experience in working with organic certification organizations, primarily CCOF.

Ability to work well with a team, excellent communication skills and organizational skills, resourceful, self-motivated, hard working.

Financial Arrangements

During the one-year trial period all income generated from the farm production will belong to the farmer(s). Access to existing infrastructure, including irrigation equipment, tools, machines, storage space and other materials is included, with the understanding that some resources are shared with other residents and programs. The farmer(s) are expected to acquire and pay for seeds, inputs (manure, fertilizer, compost, straw, etc.), specialty tools and other supplies, as well as a share of fuel and repairs for machinery used on the farm. Supplies and equipment for the garden area will be paid for by OSFWC.

For the first year OSFWC will pay the farmer(s) a sum of $500 per month as a subsidy for start-up and for work and supervision of the perennial herb and flower gardens and lawn area. Financial agreements will be renegotiated after one-year if a long-term contract is desired the farmer(s), OSFWC and EarthWays.

Public and Community Relations

Since the farmer(s) will be representing Ocean Song (OSFWC and EarthWays), whether at farmer’s markets or on-site with guests and visitors, it is important that they be familiar with and aligned with Ocean Song’s values, goals, and long-term vision. It is essential that the farmer(s) are willing to be engaged with the broader Ocean Song community, which includes members, workshop participants, camp kids and their families, and the residents at Ocean Song. Because the farmer(s) will work in close proximity to public areas where events, workshops and weddings occur, the farmer(s) will be expected to coordinate activities on a regular basis with other Ocean Song staff. To facilitate good communication the farmer(s) must attend monthly OSFWC board meetings and resident meetings.

Housing Arrangements

The opportunity to live at Ocean Song is included as part of this position. The EarthWays Foundation is willing to provide an on-site trailer and yurt or a site will be provided for those with a portable shelter (i.e. trailer, yurt, geo-dome, tipi etc.). Farmer(s) living on-site must participate in resident responsibilities (fire preparedness, water duty, etc.) and attend monthly resident meetings. The farmer(s) may live off-site provided that they have the means to travel on and off site.

Commitment

The depth and scope of this position would require substantial planning and long work hours, especially during production seasons. In essence, this position is a calling for someone who is drawn to living the life of a true farmer…working dawn until dusk. The farmer(s) would have the ability to set his/her own schedule and divide up the time spent working between the farm and the perennial herb and habitat gardens provided that he/she devote at least 8 hours to working in the gardens per week and have a steady presence on the land.

Length of Agreement

The job term is one year. At the end of the one-year term an evaluation process will take place in which OSFWC and EarthWays will make a decision about offering a long-term agreement. Financial and other arrangements may be renegotiated at that time.

Application Procedure

Submit a cover letter and resume of experience to info@oceansong.org or mail to

OSFWC
P.O. Box 659
Occidental, CA 95465