Great Song Farm, located in New York's Hudson Valley, works to create a community farm based around a CSA supplying fresh vegetables to 75 families through the summer and 30 through the winter. We grow 2.5 acres of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in a minimal to no-till, bio-intensive permanent bed with living pathway system using mostly hand tools, focusing on building soil health through biodynamic, organic, and sustainable practices and integrate a cow herd, chickens, and an apiary into the farm organism. We strive to craft a just, accessible, and transparent food system that is economically viable and fulfilling for both farmers and supporters. Building a relationship with and caring for the life of the land goes hand-in-hand with producing food for our community. This is an ideal situation for someone who wants to farm intensively on a small scale and build a close relationship with the farm, integrating vegetables and animals in a small community setting.
A cow herd grazes our pastures and provides manure. We create and use our own prepared compost from our cow manure as the basis for fertility. Our farm is leased from 2 gracious landowners. Both the landowners and Farmer Anthony's partner Sarah regularly lend a hand. Anthony also works part time for the Biodynamic Association coordinating their Farmer Training Programs.
Size of farm: 87 acres: 2.5 acres cultivated, 20 acres pasture, 4 acres wetland, and 59 acres in forest.
Diversity of livestock and produce: A wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers for a 75 member on farm Summer CSA and 30 member Winter CSA. A herd of 10 cows, an apiary of 20 hives, and a flock of laying hens for home use.
Apprenticeship focus will be on vegetable production including greenhouse seeding and care, direct seeding, field preparation, soil health and fertility, making and applying compost, cultivation and weeding, plant development and care, transplanting, irrigation, pest and disease management, season extension, harvesting, washing, community outreach, education, and interaction with CSA members. The work in the vegetables is mostly hand work in a minimal to no-till bio-intensive planting system on permanent beds with living pathways. Pasturing of cows using management intensive grazing and daily moves using electric fencing is also included.
Working with biodynamics is central to our work on the farm. No prior knowledge or experience is necessary, just an open mind and willingness to participate. We are happy to share our experience.
Educational Opportunities: We work with many of the elements of the Biodynamic Farmer Foundation Year farmer training program whether or not the apprentice officially enrolls, including a skills development guide, journaling, check-ins, farm visits, and an independent project to foster the learning journey of each individual.
We are a participating mentor farm, and encourage apprentices to enroll if it seems like it will be helpful for them. In addition to the elements listed above the program offers a guided, integrated curriculum and regular learning and community building sessions with a cohort of other participants. There are generous scholarships to help with the tuition, and the farm can also help if needed.
We also participate in the local CRAFT (collaborative regional apprentice farmer training) program which is a group of farms in the area who host apprentices for a tour of their farm and a presentation on a particular aspect every other week. There is also a group of local biodynamic farms that regularly get together to share in work and community.
Time Frame: The apprenticeship runs from Early April 2018 through Late October/Early November 2018.
Work Schedule: Our workweek is Monday through Friday and Saturday Morning, 45-55 hours per week with 1.5 days off. There are shared, rotating weekend animal and greenhouse chores.
Housing: On farm housing is provided in a private individual cabin bedroom with access to a shared kitchen and bathroom facility which includes a community living space with wireless internet.
Compensation: A general stipend is included. We share vegetarian lunches. Apprentices are supplied with vegetables from the farm, and eggs when available.
To apply, contact Anthony for an application. We look forward to hearing from you!
Mentor Farmer: Anthony Mecca
Address of farm: 475 Milan Hill Road, Red Hook, NY 12571