Hiring Summer Farm Worker at Bluegrass Farm

Hiring Summer Farm Worker at Bluegrass Farm 

Full Time, Paid Position (start and end dates flexible, but ideally from beginning of May through end August)

Jasper, ON (near Smiths Falls/Merrickville)

We are an organic mixed vegetable farm located in Jasper, Ontario (15 minutes from Merrickville or Smiths Falls; 75 min from downtown Ottawa). This is our fifth year in organic vegetable production, and our second year farming this property. When we moved here in 2014, we built an innovative system of 4 heated greenhouses that use radiant floor heating to grow salad greens through the winter. We also built a large cold storage unit for long-term storage of field crops. The greenhouses combined with the cold storage allow us to offer a unique Winter Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program. We recently completed our first season of winter CSA delivery to 75 customers, who received biweekly baskets of produce from November through March. Our farm’s innovation and leadership has been recognized through grants from the Ontario Local Food Fund and the Eastern Ontario Development Program.

Our approach to farming is informed by our backgrounds in environmental science and sustainability education. In addition to starting three small organic vegetable farms on different parcels of land, we helped create and manage the Just Food Start-Up Farm Program in Ottawa for 2 years. As the program managers, we established Ottawa’s first incubator farm, supporting and mentoring over a dozen new farmers in their transition to running their own commercial farm operations.

In 2015, we are growing 3 acres of field crops at Bluegrass Farm that will go into our 2015-16 winter CSA baskets. We also continue to grow a variety of salad greens in our ¼ acre of greenhouse space, which we sell weekly to restaurants and retail stores in Ottawa, Smiths Falls and Perth. As our business grows, we continue to build farm infrastructure and create automated systems in our greenhouses to improve efficiency and scale up production.

Under the guidance of the farm manager, the major tasks for this position will include the following:

·         Greenhouse production: ongoing planting, weeding, irrigation, harvest, washing and packing of salad greens for weekly deliveries.

·         Field crop production: field prep, planting, weeding, irrigation, harvest and storage of field crops for winter CSA.

·         Infrastructure construction: helping to design, source and build an outdoor wash station; a covered area for tractor parking; renovations inside our barn to accommodate a new storage room; construction of insulated storage room and shelving.

·         Greenhouse automation: helping to design, source and install systems to automate and monitor greenhouse irrigation, ventilation, and heating. This could involve open-source software to design smart systems that can be accessed remotely.

·         We will do our best to match your tasks to your interests and skills; if you have an idea for a project you’d like to initiate or help with on our farm, let us know! If it aligns with our goals, we’ll do our best to support you.


What we offer:

·         A small team of 2 co-owners and one experienced full-time staff. You will work closely with all of us and have the chance to participate in farm planning and decision-making.

·         A great opportunity for someone wanting to learn more about starting up a mixed vegetable and/or greenhouse operation, as you will be exposed to all aspects of the business.

·         Salary of $12/hr, plus benefits (EI, CPP, WSIB, vacation pay)

·         Hours of work are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm

·         Full access to the farm house for lunches and breaks

·         We take your experience seriously and will develop learning goals with you at the start of your position. Weekly one-on-one check-ins provide opportunities for questions, feedback or more directed learning.

What we’re looking for:

·         Ability to perform full days of physical labour outdoors in all weather conditions

·         Willingness to take on a range of tasks, adaptable to changing circumstances

·         Creativity and problem-solving skills

·         Strong communication skills; comfortable working as part of a team and independently

·         Commitment to sustainable food production

·         Farming and/or construction experience is a strong asset but not required.

We are looking to hire for the summer, with the possibility of extension through the fall.

To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to Leela Ramachandran at leela@bluegrassfarm.ca.

To learn more about our farm, please visit our website and blog at www.bluegrassfarm.ca.


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