Golden Eagle Organics 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. Visit the RFC website at https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/internship for more info on the program.
Golden Eagle Organics is a small suburban farm on the NE edge of Bend (Pop. 90,000+) in the high desert of Central Oregon. The farm is operated by the Lepore family: Brian, Emily, Gus and Claudia, with Brian acting as the farm manager. Emily works at St. Charles Hospital in Bend as a speech and language pathologist. Gus, age 11 and Claudia, age 9, go to school in Bend and help out occasionally. We also have one full-time employee, Gaelen Williamson, who helps in all aspects of the farm activities. The farm raises sheep and goats for meat, chickens for eggs and raises a variety of vegetables and small fruits for local consumers. We are guided by the 3-legs concept that a farm must be financially, ecologically and socially sustainable in order to continue.
We began our farming adventure in 2014 as a certified-organic hay and livestock operation primarily based on a farm in Culver, OR, 25 miles from our home in Bend. In 2018, we made a major change in direction, sold the Culver farm and consolidated our efforts to our almost 6-acre Bend farm plus several leased pastures totaling about 20 acres, all within a few miles. Our livestock operation is Animal Welfare Approved and certified grass-fed. Because the newly leased pastures were not certified organic, it was necessary to forfeit our organic certification.
In 2019, we added a 1/3-acre market vegetable garden including two high tunnels. We are in the process of getting the vegetable production component of the farm certified organic and are evaluating the possibility of recertifying our livestock operation, which is more challenging with leased ground. Regardless of certifications, we focus on raising meat and produce in a regenerative way that builds and sustains healthy soils. We use organic fertilizers, composts, and pest management. Our livestock are moved almost every day between small paddocks made using moveable electrified fencing systems. Our vegetables are primarily planted, cultivated and harvested using hands and hand tools. We sell directly, at two local farmers markets, through a local produce consignment market, and to restaurants.
We breed for two lambing/kidding periods, one in late winter and a second in early spring. The late winter birthing, usually in March, happens in our barn while the spring birthing happens in pasture. In the spring, we begin seeding transplants for spring crops and begin planting some crops in tunnels and under row covers. Planting continues through spring and into summer with successional planting of several crops. Spring is dominated by planting, weeding and watering the crops for the summer markets followed by summer harvesting, replanting and more weeding. Livestock care is year-round and part of daily training.
Our Rogue Farm Corps Intern will participate in all aspects of farm production with a time split of roughly 40% crop production (e.g, propagation, planting, cultivation/weeding, harvesting, processing), 20% livestock husbandry and care, 20% marketing (e.g. prepping and working farmers markets) and 20% assisting with multiple farm infrastructure projects such as building shelters, erecting and repairing fences and more. Educational aspects of the internship will be planned by Brian and facilitated by Brian and Gaelen through explanations and hands-on demonstrations.
No previous farm experience is required, but a strong work ethic and positive work references will be important. The intern will be in training 5 days a week, with some days up to 10 hours, much of which will be physically taxing. Days off will be arranged between Brian and intern. One vacation week will be allowed during the farming season and will be arranged with Brian.
A monthly stipend will be provided. Details will be discussed during interview. A site visit to the farm before agreeing to internship is strongly suggested.
One important component of the social sustainability leg of the stool is being welcoming to people of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities and gender orientation. This is internal and external to the farm. We welcome anyone interested in learning from us and we and whomever joins the farm must extend that same welcoming attitude to coworkers and customers.
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. Visit the RFC website at https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/internship for more info on the program.
Visit the RFC website at https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/internship for more info on the program, and click on the link to apply!