Find the sugar shack nestled between sheep pasture and hedgerows, wandering ducks, and the mushroom maple woods. Search for the scent of maple syrup and BBQ. Listen for music and laughter among a small crowd of forest-loving people.
This apprenticeship is ideal for Permaculture Design Certificate graduates and others interested in forest farming, small farm design, mushroom cultivation, pastured animal and perennial agriculture.
Cayuta Sun Farm is seeking individuals for a part-time program (20 hours per week) of farm projects and design from May through September. Apprentices receive hands-on instruction at Cayuta Sun Farm through permaculture design assessment tasks and attend local forest farming workshops WellSpring Forest Farm & School. Apprentices are provided with all their food and camp at Cayuta Sun Farm.
Apprentice work is focused on livestock management and chores that includes a daily schedule of running the food, water, health and safety chores, plus the maintenance and development of these livestock systems. If you are comfortable, observant and sensitive around animals, you will live and learn around the schedule, patterns and processes of raising pigs and chickens on pasture and under the canopy of trees. No experience is required but it is helpful if you have prior livestock care experience.
Additional time is spent with the ongoing permaculture assessment of Cayuta Sun Farm. Practice mapping and analyzing landscapes using permaculture principles. Observe and record the farm’s systems by creating ecological assessments of the landscape, including animal and human elements. No experience is required but it is helpful if you have any of the knowledge or skills: earned a Permaculture Design Certificate; an understanding of permaculture design methods; landscape design; the Scale of Permanence; mapping/cartography; or forestry, farming or gardening skills.
You may be able to offer your own specific talent and skills if time and budgets permit. Feel free to offer your best in the application and interview. In the past apprentices have also worked our shiitake mushroom yard and in direct and online marketing.
No experience is required, just a willingness to learn and work collaboratively with the farmers and your fellow apprentices.
No previous experience is necessary, although graduates of reputable permaculture courses will find this an ideal opportunity to practice permaculture design skills and to build their design portfolio. Only an interest in sustainable, regenerative design is necessary to benefit.
You are expected to devote 20 hours per week to the apprenticeship. Past apprentices have immersed themselves into full-time farm life, gaining valuable skills and insights. Others have maintained part-time jobs off the farm. Many—as they network among the local scene and gain practical experience—find opportunities for paid work later in the summer and fall. We seek persons who can begin in May and continuing through mid-September. Please apply for a shorter volunteer visit through WWOOF-USA.
Our weekly farm meetings will set priorities alongside chore and project schedules. The meetings are also an opportunity to ensure that food, infrastructure, education and other apprenticeship needs are being met.
No special tools or materials are required, except a maybe a pair of rubber and/or steel toe boots. We provide chore gloves.
Other expectations and obligations include:
the ability to study and work alone and with others on projects and chores
attendance at scheduled farm meetings
participation in design mapping and assessment skills related to the farm’s ongoing design
assisting occassional visitors to the farm, including during the Finger Lakes Permaculture Tour weekend in August.
Farm owners Michael Burns and Kelly Dietz offer:
Food: a CSA share of vegetables, produce and meats grown on ours and nearby farms, plus all other basic food staples and needs
Kitchen: located in the apprentice camp with cooking stove, cold water sink, off-grid electric, and seating
Camping in our beautiful pine woods with an outdoor hot shower and composting toilets
An ideal candidate will have great communication skills, maturity, integrity, initiative, flexibility and decent physical strength. You should expect to be outside in all weather conditions including rain, cold and summer heat of 90-100 degrees.
Previous experience is valued but not required. A valid driver’s license helps. A car is not required but is recommended, as it will allow you greater access to the beautiful environment and vibrant cultural life found in the Finger Lakes and in nearby Ithaca and Watkins Glen.
We can work with administrators and professors to document and supervise your work to earn credit from your institution. Students have earned credit while studying with us through Ithaca College, Cornell University, Paul Smith College, and Empire State College. Co-owners Michael Burns and Kelly Dietz are both professional educators with decades of experience teaching in high schools, universities and in community education.
This apprenticeship assumes your arrival in May and a committment into September. Shorter stays are possible. Please apply for a shorter volunteer visit through WWOOF-USA. Otherwise, please provide the information requested below and email it to <Michael@CayutaSunFarm.com>. We will consider applicants until we have found qualified candidates.
Please attach your resume, if you have one.
Please provide at least two references, preferably previous employers or teachers, who can vouch for the quality of your learning and communication skills, reliability, maturity and integrity. Include their names, where you worked for them and for how long, and a brief description of your responsibilities. Please list their phone numbers (and an email address if available).
Are you available in mid-May through mid-September?
Why are you interested in this position?
What previous experiences are you bringing to this position?
What practical skills do you hope to acquire?
What are your personal goals related to agriculture?
Do you have experience living on a farm?
We raise animals for meat on the farm. What is your perspective on the role animals play on a small farm?
You will have to set up a campsite for sleeping. Do you have camping experience and/or a tent?
Do you have any allergies, food restrictions, or physical limitations that might affect your ability to live in a rural setting and do farm work?
Please describe interesting qualities and experiences about yourself (hobbies, pastimes, travels, research, work, etc.)
Please provide any additional information that you would like us to know.
Cayuta Sun Farm will be attending the Annual Farmers Market held for Thanksgiving shoppers in Press Bay Alley. Come by Tuesday, November 20, 2018 from 4:30 to 7:30 pm to shop among your neighbors and friends.
Prepare your feast with produce and meats from local small farms. We encourage you to try out our new online market preorder system. Make a deposit for roasts or other cuts and a package will be waiting for you on the market day you select.
If the weather and mycelium cooperate, shiitake mushrooms will be fruiting on the logs in our mushroom yard. Tour participants will be able to purchase by the pound mushrooms they harvest on their own.
In addition, a collection of local farms and vendors will be open for business from 10 am to 4 pm in a mini-farmers market. The line-up includes:
Ithaca-based filmmaker Irene Case produced this short documentary about the local food scene. The Ithaca Farmers Market manager, patrons plus the owners of Kingbird Farm and Cayuta Sun Farm describe their experiences on farm and at market.
In just ten minutes of sometimes quirky and funny footage, the film explores the personal, social and economic themes of small farms and their customers at the Ithaca Farmers Market.
Cayuta Sun Farm is honored to be part of this film and truly appreciates the professionalism, quality and accuracy that Ms. Case and her crew demonstrated throughout their work.
On the first day of spring, I tossed a bucket of apples into the piglet yard and watched their sugar rush unfold with a frisky rooster and nervous guinea fowl in the mix…
We raise Berkshire breed pigs on pasture. Their feed is supplemented with milk whey, vegetable and fruit scraps, and–once they are big enough–with the complex nutrition they find in our woodland pastures. Live pasture, real sunlight, and genuine herd relationships create a low-stress environment that produces superior pork.
The sugar shack is nestled between sheep pasture and hedgerows, wandering ducks, Buck Hill Pond and the mushroom maple woods. You will find the scent of maple syrup, a pizza oven and a BBQ, the sounds of music and laughter, plus a scene full of forest-loving farmers among gourmet food fans.