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ridge to reef apprenticeships

Posted: April 23 2013

Ridge to Reef Farm is seeking reliable, hardworking, and dedicated individuals who are passionate about growing food to join our 2013 farm crew on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
About Ridge to Reef Farm:
Ridge to Reef Farm, located in the Northwest corner of St. Croix called the Rainforest, supplies a 100-member CSA program with fresh organic produce and tropical fruit, in addition to weekly market-stand and restaurant sales. The farm also hosts agritourism events, retreats, tours, farm-to-table guest chef donation dinners, and farm stays.
All activities center around fruit, vegetables, and grazing animals on the 120-acre primary property and a nearby 20-acre historic mango orchard. The farm crew consists of a core of on-farm managers, local employees, and revolving farm and agritourism apprentices.  Together with the Farm Director, the crew is an efficient and effective team growing premium organic produce and living a peaceful and cooperative lifestyle. Further information can be found at www.ridge2reef.org
Farm Apprenticeship Description:
The 2013 Ridge to Reef Farm Apprenticeship is a six-month seasonal position running
from May 20th to November 24th. We are also offering a summer apprenticeship from May 20th  2013 to August 28th 2013. 
Farm apprentices participate in all aspects of farm production and maintenance including but not limited to: greenhouse propagation, seeding, transplanting, weed management, pest and disease management, harvesting, post-harvest handling, irrigation, composting, assisting with CSA operation, markets, basic building projects and maintenance, volunteer management, animal caretaking and producing value added goods. Apprentices also participate in communal living responsibilities and meetings.
Farm apprentices are expected to work five days a week, 40-50 hours total, under the direction of the Farm Managers. Apprentices will work independently, with others and with the farm managers.
The educational experience is entirely learning-by-doing and asking questions. Apprentices will have the opportunity to learn skills necessary in managing a farm (suchas harvest management, CSA management and cultivation practices).
This is an opportunity to live, work and learn on an organic farm. Farm work is physically demanding and can be tedious, exhausting, and frustrating – but it is also very rewarding. Communal or shared living situations can be challenging as well, but can also be an opportunity to connect with others and engage in personal growth.
This position is ideal for an aspiring farmer who is looking to deepen their knowledge by participating in all aspects of maintaining the farm.
Minimum Qualifications:
Candidates must be at least 18 years of age with the ability to work outside performing manual labor.
Some experience farming or gardening, or a background in agriculture or horticulture, is required.
Desired Qualifications:
This position is best suited for someone with a desire to be a farmer. The ideal candidate will have previous experience working on a production-scale farm or market garden, and is seriously interested in pursuing farming and gardening as a career and lifestyle. Candidates with a basic knowledge of plants and an interest in sustainable agriculture and farm management are preferred.
As a working apprenticeship on a fast-paced production farm, this position requires mental and physical stamina. Candidates must be self-starters with the ability to work independently with minimum supervision on occasion. The ideal candidate is an excellent communicator, easy-going and hard-working with a positive attitude and a sense of humor.
Other desired qualifications include:
• Desire to learn by doing, and improve throughout the season
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team
• Excellent work ethic
• High level of attention to detail and to quality standards
• Strong organizational skills
• Dependability (being on time)
• Willingness to work outdoors in all conditions
• Ability to lift up to 50 lbs repeatedly
• Interest in sustainable agriculture at a medium scale
• Comfort managing volunteers
• Excellent communication skills
• Light carpentry and building skills
• Electrical or mechanical skills are a plus
• Ability to take direction as well as to take initiative
• Full season commitment preferred
Compensation includes rustic accommodations, access to seasonal produce from the farm, eggs when available, kitchen staples (rice, beans, flour, sugar, etc), farm training and a monthly stipend of $400-500 depending on experience and length of commitment.  Farm apprentices are granted use of the community center, including kitchen (propane stove), wireless Internet, and phone, and the bathhouse with showers and flush toilets.
Accommodations depend on availability, and may include either a simple shack with a hammock and/or bed, a single or double-occupancy cabana or camping on the farm. Some accommodations have running water and electricity while others have neither.
Farm apprentices receive one week of vacation for the duration of the apprenticeship, in addition to allotted sick days. Vacations requests are subject to manager approval.
About the Area (Ridge to Reef Farm, St. Croix, USVI)
There are a number of recreational possibilities at Ridge to Reef Farm, and the views of the countryside, rainforest, surrounding farms and ocean are quite idyllic. There are hiking trails, dirt roads for walking/running (mostly hilly terrain), and of course the beautiful west end beaches of St. Croix, with opportunities for snorkeling, paddle boarding and diving. We’re at 17 degrees latitude, and enjoy a semi-tropical climate with semi-defined rainy and dry seasons.  More information about St. Croix can be found at http://www.gotostcroix.com.
Ridge to Reef Farm’s Mission:
The principal mission of Ridge to Reef is to promote peace through a working relationship with the land, through agricultural food production, strengthening community ties on a local scale, and natural resource conservation of our land and waters. One principal goal of the farm is to provide 1% of the islands food supply through our own production and supportive initiatives for other farmers.
The farm was founded in 2010 by Nate Olive after serving as program director for the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute (VISFI) for 5 years prior on the same primary site. Prior to 2010, the VISFI project and its Creque Dam Farm started the first certified organic farming venture in the US Virgin Islands. Ridge to Reef Farm, using an off-grid solar facility, is an evolution of the firm foundation built in the territory in local organic food advocacy, community strengthening initiatives, and education.
How To Apply
If you think you may be a good fit for the Farm Apprenticeship at Ridge to Reef Farm,
please fill out the application form, which can be found on our website, or by e-mailing us at [email protected]. Send the completed form, along with your current resume (optional, but encouraged) to [email protected] with the subject “2013 Farm Apprenticeship.” Check our website for other opportunities at Ridge to Reef Farm including agritourism internships, work-exchange positions and farm-stays.

hudson, new york