|Apprenticeship available at Fort Hill Farm, New Milford CT
Reply-To: Fort Hill Farm <[email protected]>Fort Hill Farm is a 20-acre farm in the hills of northwestern Connecticut producing certified organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Our markets include a 300 share CSA, three farmers markets, and wholesale accounts. The farm is leased from Sunny Valley Preserve, a project of The Nature Conservancy, which consists of nine farms and bordering woodlands. The farm cultivates about 12 acres of vegetable and cover crops. In addition, we have four greenhouses and a large high tunnel for production of transplants and in-soil tomato production. The farm is certified organic, and uses a broad range of biological farming approaches, such as extensive use of cover crops and on-farm composting. We use machinery for most tillage and many planting, cultivating, and harvesting operations and train apprentices in the use of this equipment. The farm is located near town, with quick access to many great hiking and canoeing opportunities in northwestern Connecticut.
Three full-season apprenticeships are available at the farm each growing season, from the last Monday in March through the Friday before Thanksgiving. Winter work is often available. Applications are accepted year round, fall is a great time to apply. Apprentices participate in all aspects of crop production, including planting, cultivating, harvesting, market sales, and CSA distribution. Practical training in organic crop and overall farm management is offered, as well as training in tractor operation and maintenance. Our goal is to give apprentices the opportunity to learn the skills they will need to manage their own farm. In addition, Fort Hill Farm is a member of CRAFT of Western Connecticut. Apprentices will have the opportunity for monthly visits to area farms to tour the farm and hear about that farmer’s area of expertise (see https://westernctcraft.weebly.com for more info).
Apprentices who complete a growing season at Fort Hill Farm may apply for a Grower position on the farm for a second season. Growers take on higher-level farm management tasks such as managing work crews, harvests, greenhouse production, and farmers markets, as well as more skilled farm operations, such as seeding and spraying.
Previous farm experience is helpful but not essential. We suggest applicants work or volunteer on a production farm for at least one month before applying for a full-season apprenticeship, preferably over the summer months. The position requires a desire and ability to do outdoor, physical work in all kinds of weather, a sincere interest in farming, and a drive to learn more about it.
Work schedule varies over the season, generally five and a half days a week, 45 to 50 hours per week in peak season. Work weeks are shorter in early spring and late fall.
Apprentices are paid an hourly wage of $11 per hour for farm labor and on the job training. Merit based raises after 2 months of work. We pay overtime for hours worked over 40 per week. Craft visits and other on-farm educational opportunities are not paid. Apprentices can choose to live next door to the farm at an affordable rent, or search for their own housing. Apprentices completing the full season earn a minimum $500 year-end bonus.