Sweet Water Farm is located on 18 forested, sloping acres in Hugo, Oregon about 15 minutes to both the town of Grants Pass and the Rogue River. Sam and Denise manage the farm tasks with their son and daughter, Ari and Ivory, tagging along. Sam’s brother Jess lives in another house on the property. A few dogs and a couple cats round out the domestic creatures. There are a handful of chickens pecking away and plans to raise a pair of pigs this upcoming season. Sam and Denise love and appreciate the life farming has given them and are excited to share what they have learned in 14 years of growing food and working towards efficient, holistic land management.
Sweet Water Farm cultivates a little less than an acre of land and although not certified Organic, uses methods nearly identical, applying certified Organic fertilizers, composts, and amendments. The site is sloping and very wet from late fall to late spring which has led them to grow in 75 foot permanent raised beds and rely on the smaller BCS walking tractor for bed preparation. They also use tarps for preserving clean beds and the broad fork for working the soil deeply and have been moving towards more use of the power harrow in place of rototilling and annual applications of compost, finding success in minimal tillage methods popularized in part by J.M. Fortier in Montreal, Canada. Sam and Denise also lease a half acre of flat land with 200 foot beds, where they use a small four wheel tractor for bed prep and grow potatoes, onions, and winter squash. They also have a small orchard of fruit trees and berries, as well as a perennial asparagus patch.
Interns will be expected to work 35 hours a week, split into five 7-hour days, with two days off per week. Tasks may be physically challenging and repetitive at times, but interns will not be asked to do anything Sam and Denise have not done countless times each year. Sam and Denise will work with interns to learn body positioning and efficiency which will help to grow food and become physically strong at the same time!
The Rogue Farm Corps Internship Program is a full season (6-8 month) entry-level residential internship program. Along with the hands-on field training you will receive from your Host Farm the Internship Program also includes classroom learning, tours of local farms, and a farm-based independent study project.
ON-FARM TRAINING (~40+ HOURS/WEEK)
The Internship is a hands-on learning experience. The vast majority of your time will be spent learning by doing. You will train alongside your mentor and independently to develop skills while accomplishing daily tasks that move your host farm along through the season.
Rogue Farm Corps works closely with farm mentors to provide you with a skill-based curriculum that is unique to your host farm. Our Chapter Coordinators will conduct formal on-site evaluations with interns and host farmers to ensure that your education and training goals are being met.
EDUCATIONAL EVENTS: CLASSES, FARM TOURS, AND DISCUSSIONS (~3-5 TIMES PER MONTH)
To augment your training and learning at your host farm, you will join other interns in your local region for classes that teach practical skills as well as foundational concepts and knowledge, farm tours, discussion circles and potlucks throughout the agricultural region. These are led by Rogue Farm Corps staff, agricultural professionals, and expert farmers. You can expect a variety of teaching approaches and locations, from traditional classroom settings to experiential on-farm settings. Topics include but not limited to soil science, basic horticulture, tractors, greenhouse and plant propagation, seed saving, post harvest handling, crop planning, irrigation, animal husbandry, dairy, and integrated pest management.
Sweet Water Farm is one of many host farms in the Rogue Farm Corps Internship Program. The RFC Internship Program is a full season entry-level residential program combining hands-on training and skills-based education in sustainable agriculture. As an intern, you will live and train full-time on a host farm, receiving up to 1,500 hours of on-farm training and learning in-depth skills from your mentor. Your residential farm training experience is combined with farm tours, classes, and discussion circles throughout the region, as well as opportunities for independent study. Interns are exposed to a vast array of knowledge and expertise by engaging in the daily life of vibrant, agricultural communities. Rogue Farm Corps seeks to train an inclusive next generation of farmers and encourages applicants of all backgrounds and identities to apply. See Internship Details below or visit our website at https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/internship for more info on the program.