Proudly located in Sterling, CT 06377

Explore

©2020 by Sterling Organic Farm.

Internship information for interns who commute to the farm (scroll down for  information for interns who live on the farm).

Learning Objectives

The intern will learn all aspects of our small vegetable and flower farm, from starting seeds, to transplanting, to weed management, pest management, harvesting, arranging flowers, record keeping, selling at a farmers market, and budgeting on the farm.  

 

Dates, Hours and Days

The internship is from June 15th 2020 (or can start later if the school year ends later) through August 21, 2020.  The hours are 1PM to 4PM on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 10AM to 8PM on Wednesday. Saturday, Sunday and Monday are days off.  

Coming to Market with Us

On Wednesday we attend the L+M Hospital Farmers Market in New London, CT.  The market itself runs from 3pm to 6pm. We leave the farm at 1PM to arrive in New London by 2PM, spend 2PM to 3PM setting up our stand, 3PM to 6PM selling vegetables, and 6PM to 8PM cleaning up and driving back to the farm.  Lunch and dinner will be provided on Wednesdays. The lunch break is from 12pm to 1pm, and I typically make a soup, sandwiches and salad for all the workers on the farm, and we eat together. For dinner I will buy the intern a meal from one of the food trucks at the farmers market.  I feel it is very important for interns to attend the market with me on Wednesdays, as I want for them to experience all the different tasks and aspects of having a small farm.  

 

On the Job Learning and Formal Instruction

I provide the interns with on the job learning and formal instruction.  The internship provides valuable experience for prospective and beginning farmers.  To obtain a USDA farm ownership loan, the USDA requires three years of farm management experience before applying for a USDA farm ownership loan.  However, the requirements state that you only need one year of farm management experience if you have: 

“successfully completed a farm mentorship, apprenticeship, or internship program with an emphasis on management requirements and day-to-day farm management decisions”

I will make sure to show interns how I manage the farm, including the records of harvests, fertilization and sales that I keep for our organic certification, how I manage the budget for the farm, and how I make decisions on the farm.  At the end of the summer I will write a letter describing the intern’s successful completion of the internship, including duties and skills gained, that the intern can submit when they apply for a USDA farm loan, or for a job at another farm.  

Compensation

Interns who commute to the farm, who complete 160 hours of work and training over the course of the season, will earn a $500 stipend at the end of the season.   Interns will also take home a weekly box of vegetables and a flower bouquet from the farm.  

What you will need

A commitment to listening carefully and following directions, as tasks on the farm must be done with precision, is needed, as well as a strong work ethic.  Interns are expected to come to the farm wearing long pants tucked into white socks, a light-colored t-shirt, a hat, sturdy shoes that they don’t mind getting dirty, and sunscreen.  

 

Internship information for interns who live at the farm (WWOOFers)

We are delighted to be participating in WWOOF, which stands for Worldwide Opportunities On Organic Farms.  WWOOF offers people the opportunity to travel the world while living on organic farms, room and board provided.  WWOOFers are provided with room and board on our farm in exchange for 20 hours per week of labor on the farm.  There is no monetary compensation provided.  

About our Farm

My farm is a small 1.3 acre certified organic vegetable and flower farm.  I grow close to 100 different types of vegetables and flowers, and sell them to restaurants, small grocery stores, at a farmer's market and through a CSA.  I have a part-time employee who lives across the street, and my fiance and parents help out on the weekends.  2020 will be my second season of farming.  Although I did several farm internships before buying my farm, I only worked on established farms, and never worked on a new farm.  I wish that I had the experience of what it is like to be a beginning farmer.  You can have that experience by working alongside me.  You will get to learn about every aspect of our small operation, from no-till farming techniques, to tractor operation, to record keeping for organic certification, to flower arranging, weed management, sowing, propagation, fertilization, harvesting, and bringing produce to market.  We have three high tunnels, and you will learn about greenhouse growing.  

Times when I can host WWOOFers

As my farm is still new, it does not yet provide enough income for me to live off of.  I work as a high school science teacher, and my summer break from teaching is from late June through late August.  Therefore I can only host WWOOFers from late June through late August as that is the time of year when I would have the most time and energy to devote towards teaching you about farming.  I would prefer if you could stay the entire time from late June through late August, as I feel that would be most beneficial towards my farm, and also towards your education in farming techniques. 

About the surrounding area

The farm is in the center of town in a small rural farming community.  We are walking distance from a lake, the post office, a convenience store, the library and the town hall.  There are several other small sustainable farms nearby that you could tour during your stay, including a turkey farm, an apiary, a blueberry farm, an alpaca farm, a dairy farm and a beef farm.  We have 50 acres of beautiful woods with paths and streams adjacent to our farm that you can walk in during your time off.  

About the Acommodations

You will stay in an 1865 farm house that has eight bedrooms, two bathrooms and one kitchen.  My fiance and I do not live on the farm, but rather commute there from a different town.  The furnishings in the house are simple and spare, as it is unoccupied and we are getting ready to do rennovations on it.  The farm house does not have television, nor wifi, but there are plenty of books to read, and the library is within walking distance, and has computers with wifi.  Our water comes from a well that has been thoroughly tested for water quality and found to be extremely pure.  It is delicious.  I will take you to the grocery store once a week and buy you whatever kinds of food you would like, and I can also buy you food at the farmer's market that our farm attends.  You are also welcome to whatever vegetables and herbs you would like from our farm.  I will cook lunch for you, but you are expected to cook your own breakfast and dinner, and clean up after yourself.  The farm kitchen has an electric stove, a sink, a refrigerator, and a freezer, but no dishwasher, so you will be hand-washing your dishes from your breakfast and dinner (we take care of lunch).  We are happy to accommodate meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike, as well as anyone with food allergies or sensitivities.  I am currently an omnivore, but in the past I was a vegan for four years, so I know a variety of vegan recipes to cook for lunch if we host a vegan.  

Pets and Children

Children five and over are welcome to stay with you during your time as a WWOOFer on my farm.  I cannot accommodate children younger than five, as the farm house has lead paint on the floors.  Cats are welome.  Dogs are welcome provided that you can keep them out of the fields where we are growing crops, and that you clean up after your dog.  Our fields are fenced off, so you would have to walk your dog on a leash each day.

Work Expectations

You will work alongside me on the farm.  I expect that you listen to and follow my directions, as tasks on the farm must be done with precision, and that you give your best effort to all tasks.  I typically arrive at the farm at 8:30 and harvest delicate crops such as flowers and leafy greens.  Then I harvest the less delicate crops such as beans, cucumbers and tomatoes.  We will break for lunch from 12pm to 1pm.  After lunch, I either take produce to market, or stay on the farm to plant crops, perform weed management, and apply organic fertilizers.  Some days you will work from 8:30 until lunch, and some days you will work from 1pm to 4:30 pm, so that you can experience all the different tasks on the farm.  You will work five days a week, and typically have Saturday and Sunday off, except ocassionally I might need your help at a Saturday farmer's market (no more than 1 Saturday per month).  When you work on a Saturday, you will have Sunday and Monday off.

 

Languages

I speak English fluently and am conversant in Spanish.  Yo hablo ingles perfectamente y yo puedo hablar espanol en una conversacion simple. 

0