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Farmer/Educator at The Chewonki Foundation - 5021

Job Title: 
Farmer/Educator
The Chewonki Foundation
485 Chewonki Neck Rd
Wiscasset, ME 04578
Job Type: 
Job
Employment Type: 
Full-Time
Job Description: 

The Farmer/Educator supports the overall farm and woodlot operations at Chewonki, which include garden and pasture management, animal husbandry, and sustainable forestry operations. The Farmer/Educator must aid in balancing the dual focus of the Chewonki farm, maximizing both production and education on the farm and in the woods.

More about our farm:
The Chewonki Farm, on Chewonki’s Wiscasset campus, is a diversified saltmarsh farm; its primary goal is to educate program participants while producing food, firewood, and fiber for the community. There are approximately 15 acres of open land under cultivation; one acre is cultivated for vegetable gardens and the remaining 14 acres are pasture and hay fields. An additional 11 acres of land is currently being transitioned from forest to pasture; some current pasture land will be converted into vegetable production in the coming years. The managed woodlot is approximately 150 acres.

The gardens are intensively managed and are the primary focus of our work during the growing season, producing 10-15,000 pounds of vegetables annually for consumption in our dining hall.

We raise livestock for milk, meat, and fiber. We keep two dairy cows that we milk by hand and breed annually, resulting in steady milk production as well as beef for the kitchen. The farm keeps eight breeding ewes, producing 10 to 16 lambs for meat each spring. We raise 150 to 200 laying hens, free-ranging most of the year. Up to three hundred broilers and eight turkeys are pasture-pen raised in the late summer/fall. Two batches of six to eight pigs are raised annually for meat.

One draft horse provides much of the power for the farm operation including plowing and garden cultivation; hay cutting, tedding, and raking; winter logging and wood hauling; and a wide variety of other tasks. We are always looking for ways to expand our knowledge and to effectively and safely utilize draft horsepower. Whenever possible, horsepower is emphasized as a sustainable and rewarding method of accomplishing valuable labor. We also have a tractor that we use primarily for moving material, turning compost, cutting hay, and clipping pasture.

As mentioned above, we use a horse to log in the winter months. With the help of a professional forester and the Chewonki community, the farm is responsible for managing 150 acres of woodlot. We harvest about 20 to 30 cords of firewood annually and sometimes process another 10-15 cords from delivered log length piles. The majority of the work is timber stand improvement and firewood production, and may include maintaining and improving woodlot roads, tree planting and pruning, felling, limbing, slash management, and limited production of saw logs and pulpwood.

We cut a few acres of our own hay with a sickle bar mower and bring it in loose. We buy in the remainder of our hay in bales from a local farmer.

The farm, in cooperation with the Facilities staff, maintains the majority of its own buildings, grounds, and machinery.

Duties & Responsibilities: 

Assist with the managing the three primary production focuses of the Chewonki farm:
-Small-scale, diversified, organic food production
-Low-impact forestry
-Pasture and livestock management
Integrate workhorse into many farm tasks
Help with maintenance and care of pasture and harvesting of hay
Work with and teach Semester School students during the academic year through work program and chores
Work with Elementary School at Chewonki students, Boys Camp participants, and Outdoor Classroom students on various work projects, chores, and lessons during their program season
Assist in overseeing apprentices and summer farm help
Organize and maintain tools (mechanized and otherwise)
Maintain buildings in coordination with the facilities department
Attend various staff meetings
The farm crew – made up of the Manager, Assistant Manager, Farmer/Educator, Year-Long Apprentice, and Summer Farm Workers – cooperates and shares in overlapping responsibilities to manage the farm. All Chewonki farmers:
Thoughtfully prioritize
Recognize and celebrate the farm’s historical context
Have the flexibility to grow and adapt systems based in that context
Are facilitators of Chewonki’s food system
Make mission-driven decisions
Use our strengths to support Chewonki’s programs, the farm, and all staff
Share the workload and responsibilities fairly
Balance production and education within the farm context
Farm Activities and Responsibilities throughout the annual cycle:

Farmers are expected to be present for morning chores beginning around 6am through afternoon chores beginning at approximately 4pm. Chores to care for livestock are done at the beginning and end of every day throughout the year. Generally, our workday is between ten to 11 hours daily, five days a week, and can be more during hay season. Chore weekend responsibilities alternate with “off” weekends. All farm crew members will attend Food Action Committee meetings.

There is a seasonal flow to work on the Chewonki farm, though there is less of an “off” season than on some market farms.

February – March: Elementary School and Semester School in session, work projects/programs, focus on firewood and woodlot work, early high tunnel growing, seed starting, portable fence repair, and lambing

April – May: Elementary School, Semester School, and Outdoor Classroom in session, work projects/programs, lambing, seed starting, garden plowing/cultivating/planting, pasture rotation, mowing, fence maintenance

June – August: summer programs (camps and wilderness trips) in session, Farm Activity support, intensive garden and pasture work, haying, harvesting for kitchen and Packout

September – October: Elementary School, Semester School, and Outdoor Classroom in session, work projects/programs, harvesting and storing crops, cover cropping, livestock to slaughter

November – December: Elementary School and Semester School in session, work projects/programs, manure spreading, machinery repair and winterizing, begin forestry work

Late December – January: Farm crew takes approximately three weeks of downtime doing only chores and necessary tasks. Late January farm crew prepares for the Semester and actively manages the woodlot for firewood production

Education & Experience: 

At least two years of farming experience on a diversified farm
Experience working with youth
Ability to work collaboratively and effectively with different kinds of people
Experience with organic food production
Knowledge of animal husbandry, preferably including horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and/or chickens
Knowledge of or willingness to learn about sustainable forestry principles and practices
Ability to or willingness to learn to use draft horsepower on a diversified farm
Ability to operate a tractor and chainsaw, lift at least 50 pounds, and do routine repairs on equipment, fences, and buildings
Ability to communicate well verbally and in writing
Interest in education-based, diversified farming
Ability to oversee a work crew, as well as manage projects collaboratively
Ability to live and work in a small community
Current CPR certification
Must Pass Background Criminal Check
Valid Driver’s License approved by Chewonki’s insurance carrier

Application Instructions: 
Job Categories: 
Farming/Agriculture