White Oak Farm is located in the beautiful and biologically diverse Siskiyou Mountains in the small rural town of Williams, OR. Our 62-acre certified organic farm is situated on a south-east facing slope, surrounded by forests of pine, oak, madrone, and Douglas fir. We have three ponds for irrigation, swimming and wildlife habitat, a three acre organic garden, pastures, an orchard of over forty fruit tree varieties, hiking trails, a straw bale-cob farm house, communal kitchen, wall tents and tipis for apprentice housing, outdoor showers and composting toilets. The Farm is organized as a non-profit, with three year-round staff members (Taylor Starr, Brian Geier and Sarah Shea), 7-10 growing-season residents, a board of directors and many local supporters. Our mission is to cultivate connections between people and their local ecosystems by pursuing community-based food security, fostering agricultural and ecological diversity, and teaching the arts of sustainable living. As such, in addition to the agricultural aspects of the Farm, we also host a wide range of education programs for children of all ages including school visits, summer camps and summer pre-school. Apprentices will have the option of participating in these events if interested.
We currently farm roughly three acres of annual crops, including a wide range of fresh produce for the Williams Farmers Market and Siskiyou Coop CSA; as well as seed crops for several national seed companies. We also have grapes, raspberries, strawberries, and 100+ fruit trees; milk goats, sheep, turkeys, chickens and bees; pastures; and hedgerows and perennials. The Farm was designed with permaculture principles in mind and is very diverse. Hedgerows, swales, drip irrigation, strip-cropping and other techniques help us to minimize inputs and pests, conserve water and labor, and grow healthy food. We utilize a tractor and BCS for cultivation, mowing, and bed prep, but do all other tasks by hand. Our farming is small-scale, intensive, diverse, and productive, and we seek Apprentices who appreciate these qualities.
RFC's Apprenticeship Program is designed for the individual who already has a solid foundation of farm knowledge and skills but is looking to deepen their experience managing a successful farm business with the goal of running their own farm enterprise. The majority of the program will be focused on learning by doing.
Over time, you will be expected to share responsibilities with the farmers. These tasks will generally include overseeing farm crews and harvest crews, processing, tractor cultivation, field walks and observation, record keeping, product deliveries, marketing, irrigation, and general farm maintenance.
In addition to the hands-on training provided by the host farm, apprentices will attend a series of classes facilitated by RFC, Oregon State University Extension's Small Farms Program, and other agricultural service agencies.
Topics may include:
Farm and Production Planning: Crop Plan, Tillage Plan, Seeding Plan, Cover Cropping
Pest & Disease Management: IPM, Farmscaping, Organic Treatment Methods
Seed Production, Variety Selection, Stewardship
Conservation/ Restorative Agriculture: No Till, Hedgerows, Restoration Techniques, Dryland Farming
Food Safety & Post-harvest Handling
Irrigation Methods + System Design + Repairs
Soil Health Management: Fertility + Nutrient Management Plan, Soil Science, Soil Test Interpretation
Tractors and Equipment: Implements, Maintenance + Repair
Animal Systems and/ or Perennial Systems, Pastures, Integrating Veg/Animal, Holistic Management
Farm Carpentry and Building Infrastructure
Managing People on the Farm, Labor Costs, Communication Systems
Scaling Up + Exploring Distribution Channels
Marketing: Market Research/ Assessment & Niche Selection
Certification Programs + Record keeping
Insurance Needs and Considerations
Overview of Farm Business Planning, Visioning, Legal + Business Structure Considerations
Enterprise Selection & Diversification, Evaluating and Improving Profitability
Farm Finances- Financial Preparedness, Bookkeeping, Creative Financing & Funding Panel
Accessing Land- Leasing Land, Purchasing Land, Working with Land Trusts & Conservation Easements, Oregon FarmLink, Networking Opportunities, Accessing Service Providers
Apply before January 16th to avoid an application fee! White Oak Farm and Education Center is a host farm in the Rogue Farm Corps Apprenticeship Program. The Apprenticeship Program is an advanced on-farm program combining hands-on training and skills-based education for those seeking mastery in the art and business of sustainable agriculture. This full-immersion program is designed for those who have completed RFC's Internship Program, or have two years of on-farm experience. You will live and train full-time on a host farm, receive up to two seasons of on-farm training, and learn in-depth skills from your mentor farmer. See details below or visit our website at https://www.roguefarmcorps.org for more info on the program and application instructions.