Common Wealth Seed Growers / Mimosa Community Farm
Common Wealth Seed Growers was started in 2014 to improve the quality and regional adaptation of vegetable seeds available to growers in our region.
Louisa Virginia United States
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About the Farm:
Most of Common Wealth Seed Growers' production and research work takes place at Mimosa Community Farm (we work with a few other growers on the seed production). Mimosa is a new income-sharing community in Louisa County, Virginia. Louisa is home to several intentional communities, including Twin Oaks and Acorn. Mimosa Community is currently home to three adults and three children.
We plan to grow about three acres of seed and research crops this year. We are certified organic. The main parcel of land we are farming is a short walk away, and is owned by Twin Oaks Community. Although 2018 is only our second growing season as Mimosa Community, Edmund has been growing seeds on the same land (as a Twin Oaks Member) since 2009.
Our research is especially focused on cucurbit crops. We are looking for and breeding for resistance to Cucurbit Downy Mildew and Bacterial Wilt (the most important cucurbit diseases in our area), along with fruit quality and productivity. Since its start in 2014, Common Wealth Seed Growers has been first to introduce several of the most Downy Mildew resistant cucumber, melon, winter squash and gourd varieties available on the market. We are currently working on breeding a Downy Mildew and Bacterial Wilt resistant pickling cucumber, as well as a Downy Mildew resistant butternut squash. We are planning melon and cucumber variety trials for 2018 (the size and scope of which depend on whether we receive grant funding). We are also planning observation trials with sweet peppers, watermelon, and summer squash.
In addition to the seed production we do for Common Wealth Seed Growers, we produce seeds on contract for several seed companies, including Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Baker Creek and Fedco. We have an especially close working relationship with Southern Exposure (which is about four miles down the road and run by Acorn Community). Besides our focus on cucurbit crops, we grow tomato, pepper, okra, corn, cowpea, peanut, kale, collards, carrot, turnip, calendula, lettuce and tulsi seed crops. We sell some of our winter squash as a wholesale produce crop, and we grow medicinal herb crops of tulsi, calendula, and milky oats.
We have a small Farmall tractor for cultivation and light tillage. We rent larger tractors by the hour from Twin Oaks for tillage, bush hogging, and front end loader use. The main parcel of land we farm on includes 50 acres of woods, 45 acres of hayfield and about 6 acres of annual crops in rotation. Twin Oaks also grows seed crops on this land (about one acre) and we coordinate on rotation and cover cropping. We are planning to add two other remote fields this year to increase isolation options.
Seed Crops Grown :corn, collards, turnip, rutabaga, kale, carrot, okra, lettuce, tulsi, calendula, cucumber, melon, watermelon, gourd, winter squash, summer squash, tomato, pepper,
Other Crops :Vegetables, Herbs
Other Farm Activities :
About the Internship
General Expectations and work flow :
Interns are asked to work approximately 30 hours in the field or with seed processing, attend work meetings, and contribute around the house. As an intentional community we live and work closely together, sharing income and resources. This means that all residents need to be willing to communicate openly with one another and be considerate of each others needs in the living space.
We are seeking people who are passionate about working with and learning about plants and seeds, and who love being outside and working outside. The work can be physically demanding, and it gets hot here in the summer.
On-farm training :
Interns will be involved as much as possible in every aspect of growing, harvesting, and processing the organic seed crops we grow, and will participate in maintenance and evaluation of variety trials and breeding trials. In addition to work meetings we will have a teaching and discussion session each week, and will help provide additional reading and study material. There will also be opportunities for field trips to other farms and workshops.
Compensation, Accommodations and amenities provided :
Room and board are provided in our community house. Interns get a bedroom which may or may not be shared with another person, and food is provided. Some meals are cooked communally and interns will have access to our kitchen to prepare their own meals at any time. An intern with a driver's license and good driver record may also be given access to our vehicles. A small stipend will be negotiated at the beginning of the internship in accordance with the needs and skills of the intern. In general, we aim to meet all day-to-day needs, with the exception of medical care.