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Codman Community Farms
MESA Notes – Public
Blog, Online Newsletter, etc. :
Public Contact Information:
About the Placement:
Detailed Placement Description
Codman Community Farms (CCF) is one of the oldest non-profit community farms in the region, and we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2023! CCF stewards over 150 acres of land throughout Lincoln and Concord and resides on an 18-acre home farm with historic barns, greenhouses, community garden plots, pastures, and a thriving flower and market garden. CCF is located less than 15 miles from Boston and is within a short walk of the commuter rail for easy access to communities throughout Massachusetts and other New England towns. We are located less than two miles from historic Walden Pond which is free and open to the public for swimming and walking trails. The town of Lincoln is a beautiful mix of open space, farmland, and rural/suburban living with a small population of 6000 people. Lincoln is a close-knit community with a small-town feel that prides itself in its open and welcoming nature. The town manages over 80 acres of walking trails through thousands of acres of conservation land.
CCF is an independent non-profit focused on growing its farming programs and educating the public and our staff about sustainable and innovative food production systems. We are best known for our pasture-based livestock enterprises where we rotationally graze our herd of 40 Red Devon cattle, over 1400 laying hens, 6000 meat chickens, 325 turkeys, and over 115 pigs on large open fields throughout the town of Lincoln. We also grow 300 round bales of hay for feeding our cattle in winter and we will begin in 2023 experimenting with growing small grains.
In 2021 we established a new 1.5-acre market garden to meet the growing demand for vegetables in our on-site Farm Store. This low tillage intensively grown garden is highly productive and we are continually growing and refining the garden growing systems. We grow high-value produce and flowers using a low-tillage permanent bed system and organic practices. We will continue to expand the gardens in 2023 adding additional high tunnels and other innovative growing methods for growing trellised tomatoes and other produce.
We are seeking both a vegetable/flower assistant grower, and a livestock assistant grower to support our Market Garden Manager and Livestock Manager in managing all aspects of the gardens and livestock.
For the garden assistant grower, this work entails all aspects of starting up the gardens each year including greenhouse transplant production (seeding, tending, watering, transplanting), fieldwork which includes preparing beds, hand tillage with both hand tools (forks) and small walk-behind tractors (BCS), transplanting, weeding, tending, watering, and harvesting crops for sale in our on-site Farm Store. Other work will entail trellising greenhouse cherry and heirloom tomatoes, tending field edges, electric fencing, and other support work. This position might also assist in other areas of the farm if the candidate is interested including collecting eggs and working with some of our other livestock, as needed. This is a great opportunity for the right candidate to get a well-rounded experience on a diversified farm.
For the Livestock Assistant daily work will occur alongside another livestock assistant and will include tending to and caring for our baby meat chickens in our brooder where we raise almost 6000 chicks to three weeks of age where they are then transported to pasture. Tending to and caring for all our livestock which live on remote pastures scattered through town. This work includes driving from field to field to visit with and care for our animals. Our town is small so driving is within town and only a few miles to our most distant fields.
We move our animals daily and maintain livestock on multiple pastures. We move our grass fed cattle daily as well as our meat chickens, laying hens, turkeys, and pigs. Each has portable electric fencing, water systems, shade, and feed systems to keep our livestock contained and comfortable. Daily work includes visiting with the livestock, observing animals for health issues, moving and resetting electric fencing, collecting eggs, moving coops, feeding and caring for our two livestock guardian dogs (Sophie and Portia) and providing water and food to all of the animals. This position might also assist in other areas of the farm if the candidate is interested, including work in the gardens. This is a great opportunity for the right candidate to get a well-rounded experience on a diversified farm.
Staff may occasionally assist in other aspects of the farm including our retail farm store, commercial kitchen, and other areas on the farm.
Primary Production :
Cattle, Farm Education & Community, Flowers, Pork/Swine, Poultry, Vegetables
About the Internship:
Varies, on the job. Daily training as new tasks are always occurring and training while doing is the best way to learn.
Training Expectations :
All assistants will be trained by managers and coworkers in a supportive environment. All staff will have immediate managers. We employ both a Market Garden Manager and a seasoned Livestock Manager. All staff work an average of 40 hours, 5 days per week. Weekend work might be required depending on staffing needs. Training in all aspects of the work is provided. All we require is a positive attitude, hard work ethic, attention to detail and excellent communication with and between all members of the team.
Stewards will be expected to work as hard as regular staff on a set schedule. Stewards will be working alongside managers and other seasonal staff to accomplish all work in their area – gardens and livestock care. All work is physical in nature and as with all staff stewards are expected to be able to lift 50lbs repeatedly, be able to kneel and stoop to weed, plant, collect and wash eggs, and so on. We work in all weather conditions and we will provide rain gear and boots if required. We provide gloves to staff as well.
On-Site Training, Steward’s primary activities :
As with any farm, staff gain the most knowledge engaged in hands on work. A basic introduction to the farm and a farm tour of our fields and systems are how all staff begin to get accustomed to the farm. We use multiple software products to help us manage our workload and plan including spreadsheets, TEND market garden app and software, ZOHO digital forms and also multiple lists to keep track of our work. All of these will be shown to the stewards and they will receive training and explanation of how and why we use and have developed these systems. For over 12 years I worked at a large vegetable farm alongside 10 H2A Jamaican workers who became great friends of mine and I would often help them better understand how to run their own farming business when they returned to Jamaica each year. For instance we would discuss their production costs for growing chickens, how much they should ideally be making and review other metrics that typically they had a hard time understanding. We will undertake much of this same type of training and reasoning to help the stewards understand not just how we are completing a task but they why we do what we do and the outcomes that we hope we will reap.
Weekly staff meetings will occur to keep all staff informed as to priorities and allow staff to talk openly about challenges and successes week to week.
Garden staff will be trained with the garden manager in greenhouse production standards including proper seeding, care, watering, and other standards. Livestock staff will work together with the livestock manager in understanding our production schedule and systems. There are a lot of nuances in each position and only hands-on experience allows for complete training. But we never assume staff is trained in any practice and so we train all staff in our methods of farming.
Climate and Location Description
We are located in a smaller New England town which is rather wealthy. Seasonal New England temps are the norm with cool wet springs and warm summer months and cooler fall temps. Spring temperatures are in the 40’s-50’s at night and in the 50’s and 60’s F during the day and as the summer progresses night time temps are in the 60’s and 70’s with daytime highs from 70’s – 90’s F.
We are located within walking distance of a supermarket and the commuter railroad. Our town is semi-rural suburb with 2-acre house lots and many hundreds of acres of open space. The farm itself is directly connected to another non-profit property and links up with miles of walking trails. Lincoln is a highly desirable place to live as it is close to Boston but also has rural charm and no major shopping or industrial base.
on-site housing in a farm house. Separate unit with two bedrooms. Kitchen. One bath. Living room., Free, daily food, Food from the farm is available (eggs, veggies, proteins plus we can purchase food in bulk, We are a non profit educational farm that focuses on pasture based livestock and a 2 acre market garden with flowers. Our education manager would work with the stewards to provide outreach opportunities with the community and we could provide opportuinties for the stewards to visit other farms.
Accommodations and amenities provided :
CCF has one farm house located on the property. The house is actually owned and maintained by the town of Lincoln and is in excellent condition. The house is located directly on the property. The farm manager and his wife and 9-year-old son live in 2/3rds of the house. There is a separate apartment with a separate entrance on a shared small porch that has two bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, and a living room. The farm will most likely provide a laptop with internet for free and the apartment will contain basic furniture including beds, dressers, couch, kitchen table, linens, pillows, blankets, dishes, pots and pans, etc… The apartment kitchen has a full-sized refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove and there is also a washer and dryer in the apartment which are free to use. All utilities will be paid for by the farm. Basic food will be provided including proteins from the farm, eggs, produce, and depending on the stewards we will buy bulk grains, etc.. according to their preferences.
The farm has several vehicles and if the stewards have international driver’s licenses we can add them to our insurance, possibly, to allow the use of the vehicles. The Farm Manager lives on the farm and will always be available to help with any needs. We will live in the same physical house but the apartments are totally separate.
We can also provide television with basic channel access.
Preferred start date :
Preferred length of internship :
7 months: April 1 to October 31