Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2020

Chewonki Foundation

Wiscasset, ME, USA
Full Time
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Farmer/Educator

Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2020
 Full Time
 Large scale
 Other
 All - Cropping
 All - Forestry
 All - Fibre
 All - Horticulture
 All - Livestock
 Agronomy & services
 Farming Inputs
 Farming Practices

Position Description

The Farmer/Educator supports the overall farm and woodlot operations at Chewonki, which include garden and pasture management, animal husbandry, and sustainable forestry operations. The Farmer/Educator must aid in balancing the dual focus of the Chewonki farm, maximizing both production and education on the farm and in the woods.    


About the Farm


The Chewonki Farm, on Chewonki’s Wiscasset property, is a small and diversified saltmarsh farm; its primary goal is to educate program participants while producing food, firewood, and fiber for our campus community. There are approximately 26 acres of open land; one acre is cultivated for vegetable gardens, 14 acres are established pasture and hay fields, and 11 acres are currently transitioning from forest to pasture. The managed woodlot is approximately 150 acres.  


The gardens are intensively managed and are the primary focus of our work during the growing season, producing 10-15,000 pounds of vegetables annually for consumption in our dining hall.


We raise livestock for milk, meat, and fiber. We keep two dairy cows that we milk by hand and breed annually, resulting in steady milk production as well as beef for the kitchen. The farm keeps a small flock breeding ewes, producing lambs for meat each spring. We raise around 200 laying hens, free-ranging most of the year. Up to three hundred broilers and eight turkeys are pasture-pen raised in the late summer/fall. Two batches of six to eight pigs are raised annually for meat.


Two draft horses provide much of the power for the farm operation including plowing and garden cultivation; hay cutting, tedding, and raking; winter logging and wood hauling; and a wide variety of other tasks. We are always looking for ways to expand our knowledge and to effectively and safely utilize draft horsepower. Whenever possible, horsepower is emphasized as a sustainable and rewarding method of accomplishing valuable labor. We also have a tractor that we use primarily for moving material, turning compost, cutting hay, and clipping pasture.


As mentioned above, we use a horse to log in the winter months. With the help of a professional forester and the Chewonki community, the farm is responsible for managing 150 acres of woodlot. We harvest about 20 to 30 cords of firewood annually. The majority of the work is timber stand improvement and firewood production, and may include maintaining and improving woodlot roads, tree pruning, felling, limbing, slash management, and limited production of sawlogs and pulpwood.


We cut three to five acres of our own hay with a sickle bar mower and bring it in loose. We buy in the remainder of our hay in bales from a local farmer. 

The farm crew, in cooperation with the Facilities staff, maintains the majority of the farm buildings, grounds, and machinery.


Education is central to Chewonki’s mission statement: any individual that works on the farm must consider him/herself a teacher as well as a farmer. Because our working farm is the context for our education rather than a traditional classroom setting, the farm crew needs to be comfortable and adept with teaching as they work alongside students and program staff. 


Essential Responsibilities:

The farm crew includes three tiers of positions: 

  • Leadership positions (year-round): Farm Manager and Assistant Farm Manager
  • Crew positions (year-round): Farmer/Educators (2)
  • Seasonal crew positions: We hire alumni of Chewonki programs for three- to ten-week positions as Summer Farm Workers during the months of June through August.  


Responsibilities of the Farmer/Educator: 

The Farmer/Educator’s areas of responsibility include the following:

  • Assist with the managing the three primary production focuses of the Chewonki farm: Small-scale, diversified, organic food production; Pasture and livestock management; and Low-impact forestry
  • Integrate workhorse into many farm tasks
  • Help with maintenance and care of pasture and harvesting of hay
  • Work with and teach Maine Coast Semester students during the academic year through work program and chores
  • Work with Elementary and Middle School students, Camp Chewonki participants, and Outdoor Classroom students on various work projects, chores, and lessons during their program season
  • Lead projects/tasks with summer farm help
  • Organize and maintain tools (mechanized and otherwise) 
  • Maintain buildings in coordination with facilities department 
  • Attend various staff meetings 


All Chewonki Farmers: 

  • Thoughtfully prioritize 
  • Recognize and celebrate the farm’s historical context 
  • Have the flexibility to grow and adapt systems based in that context 
  • Are facilitators of Chewonki’s food system 
  • Make mission-driven decisions 
  • Use our strengths to support Chewonki’s programs, the farm, and all staff 
  • Share the workload and responsibilities fairly 
  • Balance production and education within the farm context  


Qualifications:

Required Skills/Experience/Abilities of the Farmer/Educator: 

  • At least two years of farming experience on a diversified farm
  • Experience working with youth
  • Ability to work collaboratively and effectively with different kinds of people
  • Experience with organic food production 
  • Knowledge of animal husbandry, preferably including horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and/or chickens
  • Knowledge of or willingness to learn about sustainable forestry principles and practices
  • Ability to or willingness to learn to use draft horsepower on a diversified farm
  • Ability to operate a tractor and chainsaw, lift at least 50 pounds, and do routine repairs on equipment, fences, and buildings
  • Ability to communicate well verbally and in writing
  • Interest in education-based, diversified farming 
  • Ability to oversee a work crew, as well as manage projects collaboratively 
  • Ability to live and work in a small community 
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Contact Information

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