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2014 Apprenticeship at Great Song Farm - Red Hook, NY

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2014 Apprenticeship at Great Song Farm - Red Hook, NY

Great Song Farm
475 Milan Hill Rd
Red Hook, NY 12571

Farmer Anthony Mecca

Great Song Farm, located in New York's Hudson Valley, works to create a community farm based around a on farm CSA supplying fresh vegetables to 90 families through the summer and 40 through the winter.  We strive to craft a just, accessible, and transparent food system that is economically viable and fulfilling for both farmers and supporters.  Our 2 Suffolk Draft Horses help us with field work and cultivation.  A small cow herd grazes our pastures and provides manure, milk and processed products for home use. We create and use our own prepared compost from our draft horse and cow manure as the basis for fertility.  Our farm is leased from 2 gracious landowners. Anthony is the full time farmer and his partner Sarah helps out part time in various roles.

Cultivating an experience of the farm and developing a personal relationship to the plants, animals, and soils, as well as the human and social community, and cosmic rhythms is of central importance.  We are contantly exploring, observing, asking, thinking, and doing.  

Great Song Farm is in the beginning stages of development -- Anthony started the farm in 2010 after 5 years working as an apprentice on other farms. Apprenticing at Great Song is an opportunity to contribute to and learn from a young farm that is still refining its systems and has great potential.

Size of farm: 90 acres: 5 acres cultivated, 25 acres pasture, 10 acres wetland, and 50 acres in forest. Nearby an additional 90 acres is leased including 40 acres hayland, and 50 acres woods/wetlands.

Diversity of livestock and produce: A wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers for a 90 member on farm Summer CSA and 40 member Winter CSA.  2 Suffolk draft horses for field work, a small beginning cow herd of 2 cows, a bred heifer, a young heifer, and a bull, and a small flock of laying hens for home use. 

Skills that can be learned: See Great Song Farm’s skills checklists.

Apprenticeship details: We are seeking 2 apprentices for the 2014 season from Late March/Early April until Mid November. Apprenticeship focus will be on vegetable production including greenhouse seeding and care, direct seeding, field preparation, making and applying compost, weeding and cultivation, transplanting, harvesting, washing, and interaction with CSA members. We are passionate about biodynamics and are happy to share our experiences. Carpentry Projects and Machine/Equipment maintainance and repair is regularly needed. Daily care of cows and horses will also be included, including pasture management. Other work, such as handmilking cows and working horses, depends on applicants skill and willingness.  

Great Song Farm is a mentor farm in the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP). Participating in this program is entirely voluntary. I will be using it as a structure to help facilitate my personal apprenticeship program, but the formalities are not obligatory. See here for more information:

We also participate in the local CRAFT (collaborative regional apprentice farmer training) program which is a group of farms in the area, most of which also have apprentices, who host the apprentices for a tour of their farm and a presentation on a particular aspect. There are usually visits every 2 weeks or so during the season.

Housing: There are a couple rustic housing options on the farm. There is a shared bathroom and kitchen facility which also serves as the farm's office. Compensation: We share vegetarian lunches.   Apprentices are welcome to any vegetables the farm produces as well as dairy products and eggs when available. A general stipend of $500/month is included.

Work schedule: Our workweek  is Monday through Friday and Saturday Morning. Workdays are 6 am to 6 pm with an hour for breakfast and an hour for lunch. Saturdays are 6 am til 12:30. There will also be shared, rotating weekend animal and greenhouse chores.

Mentor Farmer: Anthony Mecca
Address of farm: 475 Milan Hill Road, Red Hook, NY 12571
Phone: 845-758-1572

Please fill out the following questionnaire and include your resume as well as three references in the same document, saved as YourName.pdf or .doc (not docx) [ex – AnthonyMecca.pdf]. We will be in touch regarding setting up a visit if it seems like you will be a good fit.

a) Please give a little background about yourself, your interests, and your future plans.
b) Why do you want to farm this coming season? What do you personally hope to learn and experience? Why do you want to farm at Great Song Farm?
c) Please describe your physical condition and any relevant physical experiences.
d) Do you have any special diet, health, social, etc concerns we should know about?
e) Please describe any relevant work experiences.
f) How do you see yourself fitting in at Great Song Farm? What do you have to offer?
g) How do you feel you work in a team, living in close quarters with others?

Please fill out the questionnaire and include your resume in the same document, saved as a .doc (not docx), as well as three references.