If you’re considering a career in farming, our apprenticeship and summer internship positions are a great way to get the experience and knowledge that you’ll need before jumping in.
Members of the farm crew learn the ins and outs of our farm- vegetable growing from seed to harvest, pastured pork production, marketing, soil health, tools, and our broader vision for the land and what it means for our world. Farming is our form of activism. We believe that providing people with truly healthy food that is also healthy for the land is a powerful act.
About the farm:
A Way of Life Farm has the goal of fostering healthy people, healthy economy, and healthy ecology through food production. We grow Certified Organic vegetables, strawberries, and blueberries, as well as pasture-raised pork for sale to farmers’ market, CSA, and restaurant customers. This commercial production is integral to a broader permaculture design and land revitalization, which includes the development of fruit and nut orchards (persimmon, pawpaw, muscadines, chestnuts, and apples). A combination of sustainable practices including no-till raised beds, cover cropping, Kinsey-Albrecht method, keyline plowing, Holistic Management, and permaculture design are used throughout our land. About 90% of our time is spent growing vegetables.
We start our own vegetable transplants from seed and propagate perennials in a permanent greenhouse. Forty types of vegetables and herbs are grown primarily outdoors in raised beds. We also grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and winter greens in a large hoophouse and other veggies in low-tech, movable “caterpillar tunnels”. We have a 4 wheel and 2 wheel tractor, but most of our work – bed preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting- is done with hand tools. Working with A Way of Life Farm offers an opportunity to see what it’s like to earn a livelihood from a farm. We are located an hour from Asheville and Charotte, NC and 15 minutes from the lovely town of Forest City.
Farming really is a way of life and it is truly meaningful work! You will be exposed to all aspects of the farm from vegetable seed to harvest, livestock chores, marketing, perennials, and experimental projects, but should expect to spend the vast majority of time growing vegetables.
Working and living on a highly productive farm business is also very challenging. You need to be healthy and strong, both physically and mentally, to succeed and benefit from this apprenticeship and all the farm has to offer.
Please read on for specific details for the Apprenticeship. If you’re only able to work for 2-3 months in the summer, we’re opening two Summer Internship positions this year. Please see below for more information.
We take our role as educators seriously, offering information and skills that will lead to a greater understanding of farm management and systems. We work closely with you, explaining tasks as they come up in the season and offer written information and informal “classes”. As the season progresses, apprentices are given increased responsibilities and specialization around the farm. We teach thoughtful and efficient execution of farm tasks, which is essential to the success of any enterprise (the goal in production work is to get the job done rightand get it done quickly).
Qualifications:We are looking for curious apprentices with good communication skills and self-motivation. Some previous experience on a commercial farm is highly recommended -- this may take the form of previous farm internships or even just a couple days volunteering on a commercial farm. Experience with physical labor or intense outdoor activity is important. Our bodies are our primary tools on the farm. You need to be both physically and mentally fit to enjoy the challenges of farm life and meet them with determination and levity. Hands-on learning is a given on a farm, but the ability to learn from listening is very valuable as a lot of information is conveyed verbally through informal “classes” in the field. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate pets and our housing can only accommodate a single person. Couples can apply, but will be living in separate, but adjacent houses.
Apprentices commit to the following:
· Full season stay (beginning March or April through December 22 or continue to the next season for more advanced roles.
· Average 45 hours per week of work
We expect hard work during these hours and also respect your time and life away from the farm, trying our best to stick to a pre-arranged schedule that equals 8 hours/day Monday-Friday. Apprentices are off on Sundays. 2 out of every 4 Saturdays will be spent working at market, and the other two are days off. Fridays are one of the busiest farm days and cannot be missed. Apprentices get half days off periodically throughout the season and 1 paid long -weekend vacation (Saturday-Tuesday). Occasionally, the farm will demand longer days just to get to job done.
· Prepare healthy meals for yourself throughout the week
· Arrive promptly at pre-arranged start times
· Work outdoors in rain, shine, heat, or cold
· Maintain a positive and curious attitude
· Bring appropriate clothing and supplies to stay comfortable and healthy on the farm.
· Respect farm housing, tools, and facilities
· Respect the farm crew, volunteers, and customers of the farm
· No smoking, pets, illegal substances, or firearms
Sara Jane and Jamie will provide the following:
· A broad range of information and skills related to farming, primarily communicated in the field. These skills include vegetable-raising from seed to harvest, raising pastured pigs, methods of pest control, soil health and revitalization, perennial fruit raising, and a lot more.
· Answering or helping to research any farming related questions
· Experience marketing farm products and information on a farm as a business
· Access to an excellent library of farming related books and magazines
· Membership to CRAFT, a regional collaboration of farmers and apprentices, including monthly farm tours and gatherings
· $700/month starting stipend (taxes will be withheld and a W-2 is given at the end of the year)
· Housing: a tiny home (electricity, cold water, propane cooking appliances, outhouse, and a hot shower in a shared building are provided)
· Vegetables from the farm and $150 pork credit
· Food staples (dry goods we order in bulk such as organic rice, beans, oats, flour, sugar)
Can't commit to the full season, but want to get started on your farming adventure? Join us for 2-3 months this summer as an intern! You will get lots of experience in the field, tending and harvesting produce and living on the farm.
Compensation and expectations are similar to apprenticeships, but requires 40 hours/week and includes $500/month, produce from the farm, and housing in a camper-trailer with your own kitchen, basic appliances, cold running water, and a shared outhouse and hot shower space.
"I had a truly transformative experience working with Jamie and Sara Jane at A Way of Life Farm...I genuinely feel like I couldn't have gone through this experience with better mentors. Jaime and Sara Jane are both incredibly knowledgeable and patient teachers...It is incredible to think back on my first days on the farm and the transformation that has occurred. I have learned so many of the technical skills and basic knowledge to help jump start my farming career, but even more importantly I have a greater sense of drive to achieve my goals after experiencing what life as an organic farmer is really like."
"My apprenticeship with A Way of Life prepared me to go from very little formal farming experience, to the job I have now: running a farm with a 180-member sliding-scale CSA... A Way of Life farmers, Sara Jane and Jamie Davis, dedicate themselves to educating their apprentices. I've never seen a farm achieve such a balance between maintaining financial stability while also continuing to deepen ecological practices. My apprenticeship gave me both the hard skills and the inspiration to farm in a way that is both idealistic and realistic.
Want to apply? Please fill out a completed application (below) along with a resume and two work references. We look forward to hearing from you!