SustainFloyd is seeking a full-time Farm Manager for the second season in the development of its working model farm. The model is intended to demonstrate a viable, single-person, self-sustaining production farm. The farm is a 1.5-acre certified organic operation that is ground testing a detailed template and comprehensive business plan developed by SustainFloyd and its consultant, The Earthwise Company. The farm has one high-tunnel greenhouse, open row crops and an intensive rotation cycle to produce a steady stream of organic vegetables for local and regional markets through an extended growing season. It is human scale based on walk behind equipment and hand tools with occasional tractor rental.
The Farm Manager will implement the farm plan as well as collect data and maintain detailed notes on all operations to further inform the model. Additional labor will be available for farm projects as needed. The Farm Manager will work closely with SustainFloyd’s staff and others in all aspects of the farm operation, including development of best practices, data collection and providing educational opportunities to the regional farming community.
The position is a full-time independent annual contract beginning in early 2014(some remote work may begin in late 2013) with the prospect of a long-term relationship. The manager will need to relocate near Floyd, VA and SustainFloyd will assist in a housing search and relocation efforts. The first year contract is $25,000 to $28,000 depending on skills and experience. Additional income may be available via an hourly fee for teaching activities beyond the farm manager position requirements.
The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate self-direction and motivation and at least three years of experience in all aspects of organic crop production in previous work or internship positions. Other essential skills include the ability to keep organized records, prioritize tasks and manage time, and communicate effectively.
SustainFloyd is a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening Floyd County’s economy, protecting natural and cultural resources, and promoting education and energy independence. Floyd County is located on the Blue Ridge Plateau in southwestern Virginia. It is home to roughly 15,000 people. The county is rural and much of its economy is based around agriculture. It also maintains a strong traditional music heritage that is centered around the Floyd Country Store, which is a key stop on the Crooked Road music trail and home to the weekly Friday Night Jamboree. Floyd County has a long history of attracting organic farmers, homesteaders, artists, and musicians. There is a rich social scene, natural foods stores and restaurants, and many local musical events like Floyd Fest. There is a lot going on for such a small community.
This farm management position is part of a larger effort to create viable land based economic opportunities for Floyd County and the surrounding Blue Ridge Plateau. The Plateau represents a growing region that is unique in the southeastern US allowing for zone 6 growing conditions with most of the land above 2500 feet. A very strong market for organically grown cool weather crops in the summer is located to the east and south along the I-85 corridor. Farmer friendly marketing and distribution systems for serving local and regional markets are in place and fully functional. The major distributor of organic inputs in the southeast is located in the county. The missing component is producers and Sustain Floyd has put together a training program and demonstration farm to ramp up the supply.
The first farm manager got the farm up and running this year and there will be about 9 months of data to work with. The goal is to continue refining the model to real farm and market conditions and modify the template for use by the students. This is the beginning of a significant sustainable development strategy for the region. If you believe that small scale organic farming can change the world, this job is for you. Come get in on the ground floor of something big and bold.
Applicants should E-mail cover letter and resume by October 7th, 2013
SustainFloyd is an equal-opportunity employer. This project is made possible in part through funding provided under the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program.
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