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Monthly Summary – August 2009

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Monthly Summary – August 2009
Steven Tomlinson; Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 12/10

General Observations: August is filled to the brim with energy. The daily chores and ebb and flow of harvesting, washing, marketing, and replanting hit its stride with the workers. This is time that people start to feel the totality of their work. Machines and tools break, the relentless rain never gives up, and people usually make a decision whither farming is meant for them or maybe they should try their hand at something else. I love August for this reason. It is the intensity of all the seasons work magnified by the sun. The days are long and the planning for fall crops are floating around.  By the months end one feels a new beginning, but maybe that just has to do with the cycle of  school starting up for the youth and people returning from their summer adventures.
The crew at North Slope Farm dealt with a lot of rain in 2009. This lead to some delayed harvesting and radical growth of weeds made the third succession of vegetables a wash. Some markets were great; others were slow due to rain.  The organic certification audit came and went with success. This is why it is important to keep records and have everything filed correctly. The workers play a major role in the administrative tasks. Each journal entry yields important information that the workers of next year will look to for guidance. It also fills in missing information that sometimes dose not get written down if a planting extends beyond the normal work day. It also accounts for the weather and pinpoints the struggles of growing vegetables for the market.
Administration  26.5 hrs: The Organic Inspection was handled well with some notes to add the new salad spinner to our equipment list and to do annual soil testing to possibly not rotate tomatoes, or plant them in the same spot year after year. Some figures were tallied and $2550 a week should be made to hit the target gross yield. A seed order was placed for fall vegetables. A trip to Genesis Farms for a NOFA twilight meeting was made to learn about winter CSA planning.
Infrastructure 83.5 hrs: Cleaning out the box truck from the weekend market became a weekly, but much need chore.  Routinely mowing the edges of the field and diversions kept the farm in working order and clearly defined pathways for foot traffic and water runoff. The pool filter was changed and a new home was made for the chickens by attaching fencing to a greenhouse.
Greenhouse 10 hrs: Seedlings were planted and watered. The limited hours reflects the small amount of activity in the greenhouse. Mold was found on the basil in Ralph’s House.
Composting 4 hrs: One note was found about composting in the log: In vessel method for 3 days at 131*F with cover to ground is ok.
Planting 17.5 hrs: The Big Garden Beds were prepped for 2 more successions of field lettuce and 2 beds of carrots.
Crop Care 50 hrs: Weeding always plays a huge role in a vegetables success. With out using black plastic mulch to suppress weeds, time becomes a challenge. The third succession of vegetables was lost to over achieving weeds. Two rows of tomatoes were hand weeded and the rest of the beds were abandoned due to the amount of energy that had to go into it. Edges of beds were cut back by hand and everybody pitched in when time was available.
Harvesting 250 hrs: By far the most time spent this month was harvesting. Weekly harvest for the market included field lettuce, green beans, Swiss chard, kale, cucumbers, Asian pears, scallions, tomatoes and flowers. Herbs such as spearmint and lemon balm were harvested and dried for herbal tea.
Marketing: 140 hrs: Saturday market was at West Windsor, Sunday market at Summit, and Wednesday market at Hopewell. The most fruitful market was Summit, due to its location and reputation. The weather played a role in the success of people coming out and purchasing at the market. This is North Slope Farm’s main outlet for selling vegetables. MR was out for a week and people at the market were concerned for him. I filled in at the market this year at the same time and experienced the same concern among patrons. This proves that having a face for the farm means a lot to people, or that people just like MR.
Special Projects 0 hrs:

Monthly Summary – June 2009

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Monthly Summary – June 2009
Samuel Joseph; Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 6/18/10

General Observations: So my official one year anniversary has come and so I decided to take on the June Summary to remind myself of my first month at North Slope.  Reading the log for this monthly summary was completely different than any in the fact that every passage jogs memories into my head because I was there and apart of it.  Oddly enough one of my first tasks at North Slope was the writing of the 2008 June Summary.  So much has happened in a single year and my understanding of farming and plants has grown tremendously since that time.  If anyone remembers back to June last year, you will remember wet saturated conditions with intense thunderstorms.  Rain inhibited us from being able to plant as much as we would have liked.  June was a rough month last year, it being the busiest time, and yet rain not allowing for us to proceed with the plan.  Reminds me how much we are at the mercy of strange forces in the universe.
Equipment 4hrs: 6/2 removed starter from ford for repairs; fuel runs; 6/10 ford starter still not working; 6/17 ford running and chopper tested for cutting hay
Administration 41hrs: Payroll, errands, accounting, summaries, ordered tomato stakes, field walks, and all the while training those guilders
Infrastructure 116hrs: leaving center strip un-mowed in between BGB to promote beneficial; pool cleaning; walk-in cooler cleaned, sanitized, cooler curtain installed and turned on for full use; cutting dead trees that might fall near house; cut multiflora to widen pathway into the woods; mowing diversions, pathways, and under electric fence; general maintenance
Greenhouse 51.5hrs: cleaned out hoop house, inventoried tomato seedlings, intro to trainees about greenhouse watering particularly about solenaceous plants not liking wet leaves; cleaning and moving out to prepare for tea drying area.
Composting 25hrs: Spread on Big Garden Beds and Veg B North, cleaned up composting experiment from hoop house, sifting for seedling succession
Planting 55hrs: 6/2 finished planting tomatoes mulched and staked; 6/2 direct seeded 3 BGB with lettuce; rototill BGBs bare fallow and seed bed prep; 6/3 Sunflowers, the amount of rain inhibiting planting, 6/17 fourth succession planted into flats, Peas pulled 6/23, 6/24 corsalos planted in BGB with beans, 6/25 apple peppers in farmhouse gothic
Crop Care 42.5hrs: mulching tomatoes, irrigation, trenched tomato bed ends to help with flooded conditions, stringing tomato beds, and of course weeding (we don’t use plastic mulch so only way to control the weeds is by pulling them out).
Harvesting 220hrs:
First week: salad, kale, chard, garlic scapes, radishes, lambs quarters,
turnips, peonies
Second week: salad, kale, chard, garlic scapes, turnips, beets, peas, basil
Feverfew
Third week: salad, kale, chard, garlic scapes, beets, peas, fever few, heliopsis
rudbeckia,
Forth week: salad, kale, chard, turnips, beets, basil, scallions, summer
squash, fever few, rudbeckia, heliopsis, curley dock
Handling 60.5hrs: washing and bagging salad, washing produce, bagging tea
Marketing 79hrs:
Hopewell: 6/3 $392; 6/10 $415; 6/17* cancelled; 6/24 $340;
Total=$1,147
West Windsor: 6/6 $747; 6/13 $1,000; 6/20 $877; 6/27 $1,295;
Total=$3,919
Summit: first market 6/7 $910, 6/14 $910, 6/21 $1,560; 6/28 $1,660;
Total=$5,040
*playground construction prevented market from taking place
Special Projects 2hrs: chicken tractor, baby chick area in shoop prepared, chicks arrived 6/12, solar dehydrator drying herbs
Weather:
First week: Scattered Thunder storms, hard rain, heavy rain over night, Rainy
and cold
Second week: Rain, heavy showers, cloudy, saturated conditions, hot and
humid, severe rain storms,
Third week: Hot and humid, rain at night, rain, saturated conditions, Sunny
and hot
Forth week: Cloudy, Sunny and hot, extremely hot, 90+ degrees

Monthly Summary – March 2009

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Monthly Summary – March 2009
MikeR; Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 12/10

General Observations: Crew included MR, CH, HK and BK for a total of 250 worker hours, or “about part time.”  Income from winter markets $825 – cost of goods sold.  Farm Manager (FmMngr) needs to be setting good example for Third Year Trainees, whose responsibilities are quickly building, they are required to post a “Start-Up Summary” for their Element Focus.  HK and BK are taking on Greenhouse and Compost Elements respectively.
Administration 79 hrs: Organic Certification Inspection was first thing 3/1.  FmMngr focused on getting started on the right foot with web site, pushing to get postings up and in a timely manner.  Schedule has Mngr working in mornings but not in afternoons so focus on getting administrative duties well established before season becomes hectic!  Determination for Third Year Trainees, for their chosen element they must; Publish a ‘Start-Up Report’, Observe and Record daily Management and Data Collection, Publish Mid Season News and items of interest, and Publish a ‘Season Summary’.  Mngr put off seed order until finally placing it 3/24!  Completed accounting for 2008 in order to prepare taxes.  Responding to Trainee Inquiries, trying to set standard practice, concerned to set fair and focused criteria for selection.  Committed to hiring two First Year Trainees each season.  3 Strong candidates, Final two, SJ and JA stop by for visits and interviews.  SOP for handling applications, verbally make contact with applicant to complete 1st page of application (link) and be sure everything is “clear.”  Establish order of eligibility and respond by set date to hire, in this case 3/20.
Infrastructure 24.5 hrs: Snow covering the ground still so our tracks become well trodden, driveway becomes mushy and muddy parts of garden paths need boards to facilitate wheel barrowing.  Scraped lane with JD2240, ensuring slope to drain, lay landscape fabric and layer of crushed stone.  Created sandbox, and kids play area between Willows and FarmHouse Gardens.  Main driveway asphalt destroyed by compost delivery, truck maneuvering, unable to get 48’ trailer over ditch and around corners.  Mowing possible along ditch to knock back MultiFlora Rose and enable us to manage regrowth, selecting for desired species.  Note on 3/26 “Infra has a lot of work to do – general repairs to long term weathering and acute repairs to H20 System, Refrigeration units and Equipment!”
Greenhouse 44 hrs: 27 varieties of flowers, herbs and vegetable were started in March.  Discussions with Greenhouse Mngr (HK) about how to communicate plant needs to Greenhouse production.  Decided to treat Greenhouse like independent operation to which the Fm Mngr places a seedling order for Sales, Various Successions of Flowers and Vegetables and Special Orders for wholesale accounts.  Worked out basic format for Greenhouse records to allow best tracking with least redundancy.  HK resecured some outside seams and edges of seedling greenhouse, stapling strips of recycled drip tape along edges of plastic.  Also leveled floor and mixed gravel and sand to seal edges of floor that had settled.  HK posted GreenHouse Start-Up.  3/6 planted 1 tabletop each of Mizuna, Arugula and Lettuce. (Photo Set)  Also planted Chard in Ralph’s House.
Composting 22.5 hrs: Many discussions with Cmpst Mngr (BK), regarding access for trucks, rationale for windrows and special projects for him to explore composting in more detail.  A lot of sifting for filling TableTop production needs but also preparing for seedling starts.  Problem with trying to sift damp compost – need to cover compost to be sifted!!  FrmMngr reviewed compost log with BK and established new one for 2009.  Fired up JD Loader and Ford with big trailer for composting the beds for Peas.
Planting 31 hrs: Time spent on preparing seed order, handling seed which was received with usual speed from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  Also direct seeded Peas in Farmhouse Gothic beds (no plastic yet) on 3/25.  Planted Chard in Ralph’s House otherwise all the planting was for seedlings.
CropCare 11.5 hrs: Weeding of crops growing in Ralph’s House, including notes from CH about harvesting chick weed from between scallions – trim growth but allow plant to regrow, out competing other weeds.  Irrigation also in Ralph’s House, led to some flooding.  The topic of how the beds handle the watering shows itself as worthy of more study.  Sometimes it seemed like the beds weren’t absorbing the water and it just looked like collected water in pathways was a flood.  Importance of level beds.
Harvesting 3 hrs: Little is noted, harvests from TableTop Greens.  (photo).
Handling ? hrs: Continued bagging of specialty herbs for Winter and Hopewell Markets.
Marketing 32 hrs: One Winter Market at Tres Piani with Herbs and Eggs and Four Hopewell Markets.  Starting to purchase items from Zone 7 for resale.  Sales for March $825.
Special Projects 2 hrs: Finally got to work on Coppicing my hybrid Willows.  Exploring the yield of willows, and type of branches to harvest, ie two year old poles or four year old trunks…  (photo Set).  Some discussion of Cornell harvesting willow for biomas.

Monthly Summary – January and Febuary 2009

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Monthly Summary – January and February, 2009
MikeR; Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 12/3/10

General Observations: In order to remember the feeling of this time period I delved backwards into the Farm Log from December ’08.  2008 was the season which culminated in the graduation of North Slope Farm’s first “’JourneyWoman’ Steward”.  She is known on this website as Casey (CH), and her Third Season Focus was ‘Market Garden Manager’.  Postings were lost in a “virtual fire” (2010) but the records of production are testament to her accomplishment!  Needless to say it was a heady time for me, as Farm Manager, because CH (Casey) had agreed to serve as the pathfinder for our Training Program, and not only had we all survived, but there was a general feeling of excitement and opportunity at the farm.  Two trainees, beginning their third years for 2009, were moving into the FarmHouse, HK and BK.  BD had signed on as a 2nd yr trainee and we were committed to hiring two first year trainees.
Winter settling in, I remember being very conscious how much work there was, to fully prepare summaries and records.  The log shows strong statements of “minimums” and “requirements”.  Also apparent is the need for establishing baseline format for our record keeping.  All in all, the sense is one of success, with the acute need for “tightening up the ship.”
Chickens are now a part of the Farm Chores again, the ’08 Girls, and the reality of year round operation means chores happen every day.  Heavy snowfall on Feb. 4.  Winter is a quiet time though, dominated by the wind outside, a cold office and seeking rest and comfort after dark.
Equipment ? hrs; Pulled trees from falling on power lines after wind storm, JD2240.
Administration ? hrs; Published 2007 annual Summaries to website…  Submitted to Workers Compensation Payroll Audit.  Required documentation; Payroll records, Qtrly reports, names and amts paid to independent contractors and Federal Tax Return….  Filed employee taxes – New Jersey requires businesses to file employee taxes electronically.  Thankfully their system is easy to work with and payment can be as simple as paying with a credit card.  E-Filing with the IRS was a bit more complicated and we ended up with a standard check in the mail.  The E-Filing of W3 and W2’s was straightforward and accomplished by early February (Late).  Deadline for filing annual IRS form 943 is Feb 1.  NJ State Annual Reconciliation of Taxes due by end of February, though the Fourth Quarterly report is due Jan. 30.  Standard procedures for filing were updated, with instructions filed in Farm Managers desk, Filing Employee Taxes.  Corresponding adjustments and improvements made in standard employee tax records.  Standard forms saved in Admin Folder, Human Resources, Employee Records…  Spoke at Princeton Public Library, on panel for the “PPL Environmental Film Festival”, on Organic Farming increase in interest and Markets…  Met with HK to discuss access to greenhouse space for home consumption – designated one bed in Ralph’s House, to be cleared by May…  Met with Landscape Architecture class from Rutgers University.  Discussed Organic Practices, Marketing, and Viability related to their design projects for the Cream Ridge Research Facility….  Met with neighboring Farm owner to discuss small farm operations and viability…  On Feb 24, log notes “powerfully emotional state” – preparing for the “first day of the season” – conclusion: “Importance of Simple Structure to Facilitate Engagement.”  Learning Through Opportunity, Opportunity Through Investment, and Structure to Encourage Investment…  Additional items of note; signed Solar Grant applications through Simpson Electric and completed 3 year Training for WIC/Farmers Market Nutrition Program in order to be allowed to accept FMNP checks for fresh produce.
Infrastructure ? hrs: Chicken Chores require daily water checks, food service, bedding changes, egg collection, snow shoveling and security.  Trainees living in the farmhouse for the winter provided resident helpers.  Electricity to office for computer and space heater, Greenhouse heated in February, though farm water still Off.  Attempted to turn water system on for greenhouse, and blew out frozen “elbow” in wall. Until real need (we’ll repair), we use backup water supply from FarmHouse. Heavy snow noted in early Feb and large Cedars knocked down by wind storms mid month.  Fielded inquiries from local contractor regarding, in part, drop off of woodchips.  Established stockpiling area off north edge of farmhouse parking lot.  BK has expressed interest in woodchips as resource for mushroom propagation and managing the delivery and stockpiling remains an important responsibility.
Greenhouse ? hrs: February 1 ‘Seedling Gothic’ or GH#1, our only heated greenhouse was turned on for a foray into the production of “TableTop Greens”.  (Photos)  1/3 of the greenhouse was partitioned with a sheet of plastic to reduce air volume to be heated.  The initial planting was 6 bread trays, lined and filled with compost.  I did not like the bread trays, too much edge.  Additionally I prepared 2 of our tables, flipped over, lined and filled with compost.  Each table top had three sections, 10sq ft each.  Rough estimates for Arugula and Mizuna – 35 days yielded 1.5-2 pounds per 10sqft (1/4 oz seed).  Lettuce – 45 days yielded 2 pounds per 10sqft (1 oz seed) (later test yielded 3.4#).  Propane use for this 375sqft space; tanks dropped from 40% to 30% in three days.  20% loss over 6 days.  Refilled by Amerigas, 158gallons from <20% to 60%, then 10% (est. 17gallons) was burned over the next 16 days: Propane consumption ranged from 5.6 gallons to 1+gallons per day for heating 375sqft of plastic covered greenhouse.  Estimated potential yield; lettuce 36 #’s in 45 days.  Rough estimate wholesale value: $13-$15/pound, assuming cold weather, “expensive propane” and about $50 for labor.  Planting, watered 5-6 times, harvest.  Figure $18/ pound wholesale if we want to make money without being forced into massive scale production.  Note high potential for value from local sources of energy for heat.  This is why I encourage Municipal planners to seek to connect commercial greenhouse operations to residential and industrial clusters and communities – waste water carries massive investment of energy that can be utilized to reduce greenhouse heating and cooling costs – a massive incentive for Agricultural Enterprise!!
Composting ? hrs: Finished leaf mulch composting of Garlic Crop in VegAn Field.  Sifted compost and filled production areas for TableTop Greens – used approx 2 cubic yards for 90sgft.  Experience suggests we could have used far less, but to apply to equation above figure 3.75cyds sifted compost for our 375sqft, or an estimated value of $55.
Planting ? hrs:  Planted TableTop Greens Feb 2.  We also had one in ground production greenhouse (unheated) at the time called Ralph’s House and direct seeded spinach, arugula and lettuce on Feb 27, ready for harvest by mid April (photo).
CropCare ? hrs: Watering and management, including remay over TableTop Greens.
Harvesting ? hrs: Nothing Logged
Handling ? hrs: Bagged Speciality Herbs for Winter Markets: Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Spearmint, Stinging Nettle and Mexican Sage.
Marketing ? hrs: One Hopewell Market and two Slow Food Winter Markets, primarily selling our herbs, giving tastes and talking it up.  Nettles sell best of the batch!
Special Projects ? hrs: Chickens, Winter Greens and Training Program are certain.  BK set the topic for the season onto Mycelium and “growing mushrooms”.  The farm manager also focuses on identifying areas for independent projects, CH, BK and HK all are eager to have a “garden of their own!”

Favorable Furrow at North Slope Farm

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Favorable Furrows at North Slope Farm..

Ripping Furrows

An ecological focus directs us to be conscious of Life around us.  As a Farmer, you learn about the irony of constantly battling nature, to yield a profitable crop…To read more about Todd Haldeman’s experience with Favorable Furrows – Click Here.

Discussion, Observation and Investigation has popularized the awareness of Vital and Dynamic Soil Biota, Life, Ecology.

As Farmers, we are stimulated by the Concept that to Disturb Soil, is to Destroy Life and Ecology..

This is Not a New Awareness.. but, like more people, than ever, now have an awareness of Organic (Agricultural Management) Practices..  Our communities are quickly adopting the awareness that Soil is Alive – and that Life has profound and unique Purpose(s)!

No-Till and Minimal Tillage Techniques, are concepts, that refer to, reducing the mechanical disruption of Soil Ecology, such that the Living Soil, can Maximize its Potential.  The Details of these techniques relate to specific Farmers, Farms and Resources.

At North Slope Farm, we are fine tuning our Minimal Tillage Techniques, including, but not limited to:

Favorable Furrows, in short;

  • Foster Multi Species Cover Cropped Farmland..

  • To Plant “Field Beds”, Rip a Furrow,

  • Fill Furrow with Compost and Amendments Desired,

  • Shallow Churn the Rippings (from Furrowing) and mounded Compost, to yield uniform surface,

  • Plant, or utilize shallow cultivation techniques to maintain “stale seedbed”, until Planting.

Congratulations to Graduating Guild Trainee – Todd Haldeman

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Congratulations to Graduating Guild Trainee – Todd Haldeman

At the end of the Season, North Slope Farm was pleased to Honor and Celebrate Todd Haldeman.  We are grateful for his Three Year personal investment into Training, Hard Work, Creative contributions and good cheer!

Time to clean the seed

Additionally Jacob Thies and Rick Morris completed their First Years of Training.  Rick will not be returning but Jacob looking forward to the coming challenges of his Second Year!

Growing the Next Crop of Farmers – Hosting and Mentoring Apprentices

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NOFA-NJ Winter Conference; January 2013
Growing the Next Crop of Farmers – Hosting and Mentoring Apprentices

North Slope Farm –
Training Program; sponsored by; The Stewardship Guild

Farm Manager and Primary Trainer
Mike Rassweiler
Training Curriculum and Text Book: www.NorthSlopeFarm.com

North Slope Farm’s training program officially began in 2006, when the basic framework of Training assumptions were put to the test. Our business is operated as a completely open book, ideally introducing trainees to all the steps of business management. There is so much detail to Introduce trainees to that we break the operation down into Elements. (The Elements are listed as sub categories, under Training, on the right hand side of our Web Site). The first step in Training is to introduce the Elements, and start the process of prodding the Trainee to see the Operation as the sum of its parts. The Program will succeed only as a three year process, by the Third year the farm has the potential of benefiting from experienced workers who will help inspire and maybe challenge First and Second Year’s. Best case scenario, Third Years will be taking on their own Special Projects; that might provide other Trainees with additional avenues of exploration and inspiration. The Academic Piece of the Process, is the requirement, that all Trainees contribute to regular Monthly Summaries, Date Collection and Annual Summaries that are utilized to assess the farm’s production, strengths and weaknesses and potential viability.
• First Year- Trainees are introduced to as much as possible, and gain proficiency in Planting, Crop Care, Harvesting and Washing of hardy crops.
• Second Year- Mechanical equipment training is the focus in the second year, and Trainees must choose an Element as their “Element Focus”. This focus is the basis on which the Trainer can push the Trainee to express deeper understanding and responsibility for specific topics. Trainees must publish as Introduction and Summary of their Element Focus.
• Third Year- Trainees are expected to model good behavior, and set a standard of productivity and responsibility. They are also encouraged to branch out into Special Projects of their own, or better yet, to improve on existing systems so the Farm Operation will benefit. There is the Manager’s assumption that Third Years will be crew bosses for the morning shift (as needed) but given the freedom of self directed work in the afternoons (if possible). They are also responsible for an Element Focus, even to the point of describing the full function of an Element, assessing its value and striving to manage that reality. They must also publish their Introduction and Summary of their Focus and any Special Projects they undertake.

Teaching Philosophy: I look back to my exploration of Farming, and I always remember when my Mentor asked me, as we looked out over the fields, “what do you think we should do today?” It made me realize, in that moment, that I hadn’t really thought about it. My philosophy, in Training, is to put individuals in the position of Having to think about “What To Do”, ie. Provide them a safe space to take responsibility for achieving a farm goal. This creates a real problem for farm viability and growth. Farms survive and thrive by capitalizing on the Farmer’s strengths, providing space for workers to stumble directly negates the Farm’s efficency, but is the best way for workers to personalize the need to ‘Have a Plan” and “Develop the Skills.”
Training Process or “Formal Introduction and Practical Experience(s):
• Discussion and Presentation; often including related issues and options.
• Demonstration; practical information for “how to do it”.
• Practical Application with oversight
• Independent pursuit of activity to finalize the Trainee’s Understanding

Purpose of the Program and Societal Relevance: We need more farmers, farming more small farms, and that will not change. Those farmers need skilled and responsible workers and our Operations need to be professional, viable and sustainable. By fostering sound Training Opportunities, we will build the Trade back to the significance it held for generations, when local farms fed local populations.

Important Link and Mentoring Handbooks:

New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI)

Cultivating a New Crop of Farmers- is on-farm mentoring right for you and your farm?; Kate Hayes, Belchertown, Mass, NESFI

The On-Farm Mentor’s Guide – practical approaches to teaching on the farm; Miranda Smith, Belchertown, Mass, NESFI

Training Program

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Certified Organic Farm; Training (Internship, Apprenticeship); NJ

Two Positions available for ‘First Year Trainees’, Annually.

Work on Certified Organic Farm in New Jersey.  In Three Years, with careful mentoring, a focused worker can become a successful Farm Manager.

North Slope Farm

386 Rock Road East, Lambertville, NJ  08530

Email for more Information: northslopefarm@comcast.net, subject: Training

North Slope Farm Employment Outline

North Slope Farm is a 50 acre, diversified organic farm, located in central, western New Jersey.  Primary cash crops are vegetables, flowers and herbs grown on five acres.  Other management responsibilities include compost, hay, straw, pasture, fruit, infrastructure, waterways, buffer zones, woodlands, wetlands and community involvement.  We serve a variety of markets including our retail farm stand, off-site farmers markets, wholesale accounts and special projects.  Primary tillage and cultivation is done with both tractors and hand tools.  While we strive to improve the efficiency and mechanization of crop care, the production crew remains the most valuable aspect.

Farm workers will be paid an hourly rate with the added bonus of farm products when available.  Training opportunities include intensive experience in systems management.  The understanding is that a crew member is looking for solid experiences to give them the tools to farm on their own or build the skills to be a marketable farm manager.  In this position you should expect to spend a lot of time in hand labor, hoeing, transplanting, harvesting and washing produce.  The operators of North Slope Farm value hard work, productivity, reliability and will offer new challenges and responsibilities to workers that show they are ready.  Workers bear the responsibility of learning all they can, by asking questions, finding ways to help with difficult and mundane tasks, and striving to take on responsibility for different areas of production.

Opportunities for the 2014 Season.

Please note, The Wage Laborer listed below is the basis for the Training compensation at North Slope Farm.  Trainees are anyone with less than three years of relevant experience.  As a “Trainee” you take on additional responsibilities over and above a “Wage Laborer” and your pay rate reflects that, in your second year and beyond.

1) Stewardship Guild – Trainee:

First Season:

  • Participation in, and Introductions to, core Farm Activities, as directed by Farm Manager.
  • Value: $3,000 (funded by StewardshipGuild.org), for 9 month season.
  • Minimum commitment “part-time,” at wages listed below (see Wage Laborer).
  • Personalized experiential focus, including consultations with Farm Manager.
  • Required to contribute to records of operation and postings on Website.

 

Second Season:

  • Participation in core Farm Activities, at a rate of $11 per hour.
  • Regular record keeping, summary publication and Personal Focus.
  • Expectation of Focus on specific Farm Operations – ‘Element.’
  • ‘Element’:  Farm activities are broken down into specific elements, including;  administration, infrastructure, greenhouse, composting/waste management, equipment, planting, cropcare, harvesting, handling, marketing, special projects, etc..  You must chose an element to be responsible for, based on long term interests.  This will prepare you for the responsibilities of the third season.

 

Third (final) Season:

  • Full responsibility for some element of farm activities.  A plan, including budget, timeline of activity and estimate of value of projected product/service should be presented to the Farm Manager before the end of proceeding season.  If the plan can be integrated into expected farm activities, you will be designated to execute the plan.
  • Compensation:  Compensation should be accounted for in the proposed budget for managing your element.  You will be responsible for budgeting your time.  Farm activities will rely on your fulfillment of your plan.  Individual contracts encouraged.
  • Non element compensation:  Time spent on other projects on the farm such as harvesting, planting, washing, marketing, will be compensated for at a rate of $12 per hour.
  • Successful Completion of Third Season will establish your eligibility for the highest rate of laborer pay; $13 per hour in future work, as well as active support in finding rewarding full time employment.

 

2) Wage Laborer:

Starting wage:

  • No related experience: $9 per hour.  (NJ Minimum Wage $8.38 per Hour)
  • Extensive agricultural experience (3 full seasons): Determined by demonstrated responsibility, experience and commitment to North Slope, not to exceed $13/hr.

Responsibilities and Basic Requirements:

  • Physical ability to manipulate buckets and crates up to 50 pounds.
  • Reliable adherence to pre agreed schedule.
  • Ability to handle tools responsibly and willingness to accept direction in their use and care.