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Horton Road Organics
MESA Notes – Public
Blog, Online Newsletter, etc. :
Public Contact Information:
About the Placement:
Detailed Placement Description
Since 1997, Horton Road Organics has been training farm apprentices in all aspects of small scale organic agriculture, providing a solid scaffolding within which new farmers can integrate their own interests and address the challenges of our times. Many graduates have gone on to start their own successful farms or garden projects. Others continue in educational, policy or advocacy fields related to farming and ecology.
The farm cultivates 5 of its 17 acre campus using certified organic raised bed bio-intensive methods that involves lots of attention to detail. We provide our local community with a full range of high quality fresh vegetables that are fairly priced, nutritious and flavorful. Horton Road Organics enjoys a loyal following at three busy local farmer’s markets and also sells produce to local natural food stores, restaurants, and through an online store for local pickup. We donate a significant amount of food to local nonprofits.
Thoughtful attention to the health and well being of our residential community is equally important to us as the health and well being of the soil and land. Each year, we find it deeply rewarding to bring together a cohort of aspiring farmers and gardeners who learn from one another and enjoy extra curricular activities in the area. In their off time, apprentices often explore outdoors from the central Oregon mountains to the coast range, as well as partake of city life in Eugene or Portland, home to excellent restaurants, pub, agriculture, arts and entertainment.
Primary Production :
Farm Education & Community, Vegetables
About the Internship:
Average hours per week range from 32 -40. Mid-June through mid-September, we almost always work an 8 hour day, whereas early and late in the season, we often enjoy early days. Sick days are taken as needed.
Training Expectations :
A typical day on the farm begins around dawn in order to harvest vegetables quickly before the heat of the day. Monday through Friday, the team works a 5 hour morning, takes a 1 1/2 hour lunch/siesta break and returns hopefully refreshed to finish a 3 hour afternoon. Sometimes we are able to complete the days tasks in less than 8 hours which is always welcome. Mondays and Wednesdays after work we hold a 1 hour class that includes suggested reading and homework. Fridays, the community enjoys “Pie Friday” – a meeting where everyone shares about their week, important announcements are made, and pie is served.
Apprentices/stewards are supervised by our farm manager, a former apprentice who understands the arc and challenge of the training. The two farm owners also frequently work side by side with the team, particularly during peak season when everyone is out harvesting. We hope apprentices/stewards are motivated, attentive, and willing to attain proficiency as we have high standards for field work and practice mindful care of the earth. We expect apprentices/stewards to be able to take on a certain level of responsibility as they learn, to work well with others as well on one’s own, and make a positive contribution to the harmony of the residential community. Vegetable farming frequently involves a bent over posture, so an uninjured back, good physical health, stamina, and flexibility is a must.
On-Site Training, Steward’s primary activities :
Our apprentices/stewards participate in a wide array of activities involved in organic farming. Apprentices/ stewards sow seeds in the greenhouse, learn to propagate plants, transplant, fertilize, cultivate, irrigate, harvest and prepare vegetables for market. Apprentices/stewards also gain farmer’s market experience and work with the online store and participate in the overall organization of the farm. Apprentices/stewards write for the newsletter, keep records, and take on a special area that they manage throughout the season, for example, plant propagation or monitoring vegetable trials.
Climate and Location Description
The farm is located in an elevated mountain valley outside Eugene, Oregon. We are surrounded by Doug fir, Maple and Cedar forests, streams, rivers, and wildlife. The rolling hills are dotted with households rather spread out. Our town, Blachly is a small rural community of about 75 families. Except for a post office and high school, the nearest amenities are 30-45 minutes away in Veneta or Eugene, including groceries, restaurants, social gatherings and so on. There is no bus service, so driving or biking is the only means to access these. Apprentices often coordinate group outings and errands.
The farm is equidistant from the Pacific ocean and the central “Three Sisters” mountain range known for its beautiful hikes and spring wildflowers. Mornings on the farm are cool, sometimes in the 40’s even in the summer. Early frosts may arrive in October. Oregon’s spring can be very rainy into June. However, there is hardly any rainfall in the summer, so days are clear. Average summertime high temperatures are in the low 80’s, but we can heat up into the 90’s or encounter a cool spell in the 70’s. Most people find that high heat without humidity is much easier on the body.
Private room in renovated barn, shared kitchen and bath. , Free, daily food, Weekly classes, 26 week curriculum in sustainable small scale organic agriculture. Field trips. Opportunities to connect with other local farms and non-profit agencies working in agriculture.
Accommodations and amenities provided :
Apprentices/stewards are given private rooms in a renovated barn that includes a bathroom, kitchen, living room, outdoor shower and garden space. The setting is very rustic and we like to think of it as “upscale camping” though each crew delights in the adventure. The residential community enjoys produce from the farm alongside bulk staples that include grains like rice, quinoa and oats, beans/legumes, cooking oils/liquids, and seeds. Residents frequently barter at market for other foodstuffs. Apprentices/stewards have access to a community washer and dryer. The farm has a “Wifi Lounge” – an area 40 yards away from the “Barn Community” space. If Apprentices/ stewards are using farm vehicles to drive to market they are allowed limited personal use that day.
Preferred start date :
Preferred length of internship :
6 months: May 1 to Oct 31