In 2020 Natural Roots begins its twenty third season here in Conway. We are a small, diversified family farm. Our six workhorses are the only source of power for all of our field and forestry work. At present we have about eight and a half acres under cultivation in mixed vegetables, berries, herbs, and cover crops, using organic practices. Our produce is marketed primarily through our CSA of about 200 families, and our winter CSA of about 50 families with surplus sold through our farm store and local wholesale accounts. We put up hay from 12 acres to feed the working horses. We keep a compost-turning hog and a flock of about 180 pastured laying hens for eggs. In the winter we are logging and processing firewood and milling lumber for both on farm use and local sales. On the home front we raise a small orchard and gardens, and usually a flock of meat chickens as well.
Workdays are very full and rewarding – 5 days per week, plus rotating weekend chore responsibilities once or twice per month. Workhorse care, handling, driving, and field work are a major component of the apprenticeship. Crop cultural tasks including seeding, transplanting, weeding, trellising, mulching, pest and disease control, harvesting, washing, and marketing happen continuously throughout the season. Haymaking is always a highlight. Equipment repair and maintenance are important regular responsibilities. Management of our wood-heated greenhouse, soil fertility, extensive cover cropping, weed control, field rotations, and livestock healthcare and management are important aspects of the apprenticeship as well. Construction projects can be a feature at times. Food preservation, holistic farm management, and starting a farm business / lifestyle are also a part of the experience.
Educational foci include a structured teamster training program throughout the spring, regular discussion of a myriad of farm systems and history, and access to all farm planning documents. In addition to on-farm education, we encourage participation in our regional CRAFT program. This is a network of area farms that all have apprentices and offer extended learning opportunities through a schedule of on-farm tours and seminars on specific topics.
Two apprentices are sought from March to mid-December. Accommodations include two small, rustic cabins. We offer a monthly stipend and all you can eat farm-raised produce and eggs are provided, plus an employee discount on all farm store goods. Worker’s Compensation is provided as well state-subsidized health insurance.
The farm is situated in the beautiful Eastern foothills of the Berkshire Mountains on the edge of the Pioneer valley. There are limitless outdoor recreational opportunities right out the backdoor (literally) as well as a wealth of cultural resources within thirty minutes drive.
Please click here to apply.