Millsap Farm is a 20 acre organic farm 4 miles north of Springfield, MO. We have a diverse operation including a 6,000 s.f. greenhouse, 4,000 s.f. of solar heated hoop houses,
3 acres of vegetables, a beginning orchard, including pigs, chickens, turkeys, forest, ponds, etc. on our 20 acres, plus 10 acres of leased land. The farm is managed organically, meaning we focus on soil health, using compost, cover crops, and manure as our primary fertility sources, and avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Our farm is located close enough to a metropolitan area that we get to host many tours a year, from beginning farmers to preschools, and education is a big part of the reason we do what we do. We believe that it’s important for eaters to re-connect with the source of their food, and that’s what we’re here for. We sell our produce through our 75 member Community Supported Agriculture program, three grocery stores (Mama Jeans and Homegrown Food), an on-farm market, and the Farmers Market of the Ozarks.
Community is also a big part of what we do here on the farm; at any given time we have at least 3 families living on the farm,and we hope in the long term to have at least 4 families in full-time residency. In addition to these permenant residents, we host a number of guest workers and volunteers through the season, including WWOOFers from all over the world, interns and apprentices, and daily volunteers from the Springfield metro area. We host community weekly Thursday night Pizza dinners during the warmer months.
We are currently seeking apprentices and interns for the 2013-2014 growing season. This involves working along side us in the field to harvest vegetables for a 75+ member CSA and several farmers markets, along with seeding, transplanting, weeding and pest control. Animal care including feeding, watering, fencing, butchering (poultry) and record keeping. Construction and tractor work to include construction of a hoop house, field renovation, cutting firewood, clearing trees, and animal housing. Marketing including our CSA (community supported agriculture) program, our on-farm produce stand and bedding plants, and several farmers markets a week. Interns and apprentices will also be a part of the planning and evaluation process as we continuously improve our farm. On a farm all tasks take time, and time is a precious resource, so it is important to learn to accomplish tasks quickly and effectively. The work is long hours (usually 6 days a week, at least 10 hours per day), hard physical work (carrying heavy bags,boxes, etc, digging, weeding), and often in difficult weather conditions (when it’s harvest day we have to get out in the fields and harvest whether it’s raining or 100 degrees). Farm work can be repetitive, monotonous, and tedious, not to mention uncomfortable. On the other hand, it comes with it’s own rewards, (if you’re into this sort of thing, which we obviously are, as we keep doing it year after year) such as a beautiful place to work, the satisfaction of accomplishing something at the end of a day, and sleeping very soundly.
Millsap Farms is one of the founding farms of Ozarks CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training). As part of this program, we will tour other farms in the area, attend monthly seminars about topics related to farming (such as weed and pest control, soil fertility management, farm business planning, small fruit management, livestock on the farm, marketing, etc.) and attend a statewide conference in the fall. For more information about Ozarks CRAFT, check out the Ozarks CRAFT website.
In return for 60 hours a week of work apprentices and interns will receive a hands-on education in sustainable farming, and if they wish, a chance to create and develop a complementary enterprise on our farm (such as pastured poultry, beekeeping, dairy, cut flowers, or 101 other things to do on the farm). Interns will receive room and board and a $200 monthly stipend after their first month on the farm. Apprentices will receive room and board, plus a monthly stipend to be determined by experience and commitment, plus possible earnings from their complementary enterprise, with bonuses for completion of their commitment, and possibly a long-term job offer with land tenure. Long-term apprentice housing is in the “Stuga”, a small cabin with full facilities, near the main farm house, and in a bedroom in the lower area of the main farmhouse. Summer intern housing is in the “Chateau”, a two bedroom shack in the woods, with no electricity or running water; kitchen and bath facilities are rustic. Breakfast and supper are on your own, with full access to the farm house pantry, freezers, etc. Lunch is provided at the farm house, eating with our family.
Intern candidates are people who want to explore agriculture from the inside out, with a relatively short commitment (minimum 3 months). Interns should be willing to work hard, learn fast, and adapt. There is a lot to learn if you’ve never worked on a farm before, and it’s important that intern candidates be willing to jump in feet first, and learn as they go. Sense of humor is important, and goes a long way toward making the work enjoyable, along with an appreciation of the outdoors, in all different scenarios.
Our ideal apprentice candidate is someone who desires to farm on their own at some point in the future, who wants to learn sustainable agriculture from the inside out, who is willing and able to work long and hard, who has a sense of humor, who is able to take instruction and give constructive feedback, who can interface with our customers in an intimate setting, is responsible and committed, and able to live and work closely with us. Ability to self-educate about particular areas of interest, plus interest in talking about why we do things the way we do are also important to the apprentice experience. Experience farming and/or working with equipment including tractors, hand tools, mowers, construction tools, etc. would certainly be a plus, but is not completely necessary, flexibility is key, and we will provide the know-how.
Couples and families are welcome to apply. Some of our best apprentice experiences have been with families.
Internships will run a minimum of May 1 to August 15, and preferably longer. (could start as early as March, and actually we have intern opportunities year round).