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Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm (SWSF) is looking for a full-time biodynamic farmer to manage our farm and be a key stakeholder in the expansion of its programs and offerings. The successful candidate will have a minimum of three-year’s experience as a biodynamic farmer, is knowledgeable in biodynamic practices and equipment operation, is a self-starter who can professionally collaborate with others, has strong self-management and interpersonal skills, and is passionate about teaching sustainable/biodynamic agriculture and helping people build confidence and connections to the land. We are looking for a hard-working visionary who is excited by this unique opportunity.
Employment details: This is a year-round, full-time exempt position. The farmer is required to work unusual hours, nights, weekends, holidays and outdoors in a variety of weather conditions. As the custodian of the farm, it is required that the farmer live onsite.
Salary and Benefits: Salary range: $60,500-73,000 depending on experience plus excellent benefits, including three weeks annual vacation and one paid week off for both the winter and spring holidays.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Develop and implement all farming activities, including (but not limited to) crop planning, succession planting, irrigation, orchard and native garden maintenance, soil building, composting, harvesting, use of cover crop, seed selection, pest management, seeding, greenhouse propagation, transplanting, farm maintenance, and weed mitigation.
- Analyze farm to school needs to determine appropriate acreage allocation and succession planting schedules.
- Monitor soil health to determine type and quantity of amendments/preparations required for maximum production.
- Oversee the livestock.
- Guide and train the farming assistant and intern(s).
- Coordinate and supervise farming volunteers.
- Inspect and maintain equipment for proper functioning.
- Comply with all regenerative biodynamic farming regulations. Maintain biodynamic certification.
- Maintain detailed records of field tasks, planting locations, inputs and field notes to comply with biodynamic standards and communicate transparently.
- Provide financial and operational reports, as needed.
- Implement and maintain safety protocols, including site security.
- Provide farm tours and an overview of growing practices to educators and visitors, as needed.
- Because of the proximity of the school, there is a strong emphasis on cleanliness and organization.
Primary Responsibilities Include:
Livestock: Recognizing that the well-being of the livestock on a farm is very dependent on the abilities and activities of the farmer, the farmer should:
- Provide adequate water, feed (in the form of grain, hay and or pasture) for all livestock.
- Maintain pastures in good and safe condition, with special attention to fencing and irrigation
- Arrange for breeding of cows and sheep as needs arise.
Cropland: Being mindful that the farm, particularly the fields, is to be managed in accordance with the guidelines of the Demeter Biodynamic Certification Program.
- Maintain field fertility in keeping with production capacities and guidelines of the Demeter Certification Program. This would include periodic soil testing, crop rotation schedule, cover cropping, compost management and appropriate tillage.
- Maintain the farm’s many irrigation lines and primary delivery system in good order.
- The farm’s rotation should include vegetable crops, hay, pasture, small grains and a diversity of fruits and nuts.
- Stock and maintain the Farm Stand that is open to the public.
- Collaborate with the school chef to provide produce to the school lunch program.
- Some summers the school offers a CSA distribution to a small number of families.
- Maintain the heirloom, espaliered apple trees, paying attention to pruning, training, irrigation, and mowing around the trees.
- Operate and maintain farming machinery, equipment and tools; research, acquire and/or restores farming equipment, such as tractors; Provide periodic lubrication, maintenance and repair to these machines.
- Train assistants and apprentices in proper safe use of machinery, especially tractors.
Apprentice Program: The farm currently engages one to two apprentices each year. It is the farmer’s responsibility to:
- Manage recruitment and hiring of apprentices.
- Teach interns about crop rotation, compost making, fertility management, greenhouse management, native plants, insectary hedgerows, plant propagation, tractor and machinery repair, animal husbandry, irrigation (drip and overhead) repair, and farm stand management.
- Supervise interns with chores that include, but may not be limited to: milking, planting, weeding, harvesting, mowing, tractor fieldwork, feeding, fencing, and general day to day farming.
Farm Camp: Farm Camp has become important in school and farm outreach, providing a summer farm experience for children from age 4-10. The farmer is expected to:
- Provide orientation to the farm camp teaching staff regarding animal care with which the children will have a summer role in.
- Participate in the walk and harvest group activities once each week.
- Support the farm camp leaders with weekly check-ins.
Socially: The farm is a unique part of SWSF and the farmer must be mindful that for many prospective parents, it is potentially a strong attraction as they consider the choice of schools for their children. The farmer should:
- Coordinate the Farm Guild group of volunteers who meet on the farm to assist the farmer with field work and learn about the workings of the farm.
- Because the farmer lives on-site and often is working on the farm when school is not in session, it is not uncommon for visitors to approach the farmer. The farmer should maintain a degree of cordiality and interest in visitors while setting boundaries on requests as necessary.
- Facilitate the Winter Study Group.
Other important areas:
- Pedagogy- coordination and cooperation between faculty and the farm to keep farming an important part of the experience for the children through the grades.
- Well-coordinated food/lunch program which sources as many of the ingredients as possible from the farm. The kitchen staff and the farmer planning together will result in cost benefits to the school.
- Generating income from farm sales to outside consumers via community supported agriculture (CSA) subscriptions, farmers’ market sales, restaurants, etc.
- Using the farm exposure as outreach, fundraising events and link to the greater community and hopefully increased enrollment.
- Coordinate with the Development Office use of the farm for the economic benefit of the school.
- The farmer should also work closely with the Farm Committee in planning and carrying out the management of the farm.
Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not to be considered as an exhaustive list of responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- While performing the duties of this job the employee is required to:
- Work in outdoor weather conditions, subject to change, with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees at times.
- Stand and walk for extended periods of time.
- Sit, stoop, kneel, and/or crouch.
- Use hands and fingers to handle or feel objects, tools, and/or controls.
- Reach overhead, above the shoulders and horizontally.
- Lift and/or move up to 50 pounds, frequently lift and/or move up to 100 pounds with assistance, and occasionally lift and/or move more than 100 pounds with assistance.
- Perform repetitive motions, such as bending, lifting, reaching, pushing, and carrying, while caring for animals and completing maintenance tasks.
- Handle multiple tasks on an ongoing basis.
- Taste and/or smell.
- Possess specific vision abilities that include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.
- Safely and effectively work with tools, chemical, and powered machinery with moving parts.
- Work with large animals.
- Drive a vehicle to conduct work.
The employee will be:
- Exposed to fumes, dust, airborne particles, dirt, oil/grease, odors.
- Exposed to a noise level that is usually low to moderate.
- In direct contact with faculty, staff, students, and the public.
Abilities: The farmer should be able to:
- Work independently with little or no supervision.
- Communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
- Perform basic mathematical computations.
- Establish and maintain effective working relationships.
- Lead and instruct others.
- Operate computers and be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel.
Conditions of employment:
- Must be able to pass a background check which includes: employment history verification, employee reference check, education or certificate verification, Department of Justice fingerprinting, and criminal history review.
- A pre-employment physical examination including tuberculosis (TB) clearance is required.
- Possession of a valid Class C California Driver’s License.
To apply: Please email your letter of intention and resume to Michelle Bovard, Human Resources Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also include three professional references (with phone numbers).
About Summerfield Waldorf School Farm
Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm (SWSF) is a not-for-profit, preschool through 12th grade school in Sonoma County, California. Summerfield is one of only a few Waldorf Schools worldwide to have a working farm on the same campus as the school. It is a small-diversified Biodynamic farm modeled after family farms that were once common in our area. It occupies roughly half of the 32 acre Summerfield Waldorf School campus and has been Demeter certified since 2002. The farm is a core part of the curriculum for classes from preschool through twelfth grade. Students have the opportunity to learn many basic skills that are rapidly becoming lost in today’s industrialized society. By tending soil, turning compost, planting perennial gardens, harvesting vegetables for soup and our lunch program, caring for farm animals and pruning and grafting, each student gains a deeper awareness of the natural world. We are currently growing 2 acres of row crops on semi-permanent raised beds. Crops include beets, carrots, kale, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, chard, onions, garlic, leeks, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, and squash. Our primary tillage is done by tractor and we cultivate using an electric tractor. We have a small orchard with 80 heirloom apple trees, plums and pears. We have 8 acres of pasture for cows and sheep, and a large enclosure for chickens and ducks. We harvest every day and sell vegetables, eggs, meat and yogurt at our onsite farm stand.
SWSF is deeply committed to preserving and maintaining the farm and the attached open space, foundational parts of our campus and our ethic. That commitment to the land was affirmed in 1983 with a legally binding Land Trust requiring the school to protect and nurture the land and the wildlife refuge in perpetuity.