ClimateFarmInternship.jpg

We are currently full until the fall.

Climate Farm Internship 
A collaboration between Midnight’s Farm & Terra.do
6 months on Lopez Island, WA 
(dates negotiable)

 

This 6 month internship program brings together a global online climate learning course/network with rooted, place-based farm experience for those wanting to combine learning a diversity of farm skills with a deeper sense of purpose, role and responsibility in mitigating the climate crisis.

 

Live, work, learn, and connect on Midnight’s Farm while taking a deep dive into the landscape of climate change through the Terra.do “Climate Change: Learning through action.” Learn with a worldwide climate network while getting your hands dirty with experiential, in-the-field farm work. 

 

Midnight’s Farm is a small diversified farm on Lopez Island in northwest Washington. The farm is owned and managed by David Bill and Faith Van De Putte who both have deep roots on the island. David bought the land in 1988 and runs the compost operation, keeps the machinery running and leads infrastructure projects. Faith manages the market garden and livestock.  Both deeply value the community on the farm and island. 

 

We strive to model stewardship and production that tends the soil and the climate, including; community scale compost production, rotational grazing, biochar production and intensive no-till market garden. We are always seeking to improve our practices and incorporate new ideas and information.  Our current curiosities/projects include stabilizing carbon in compost and wood chips applications, hedgerow design, refining biochar production, and incorporating climate storytelling into our promotion materials.

Required commitment from interns: 

  • Vaccination for Covid 19.

  • Six months on-farm commitment.  The Terra Course starts March 14th 2022.  

  • From 32 to 40 hours of farm work per week - more specific breakdown below

  • Full engagement and completion of the Terra.do 12-week course “Climate Change: Learning for Action”. This will be an additional 10+ hours per week that you will do on weekends and evenings including: 

    • Weekly online lesson that you do in your own time (2-5 hrs/wk)

    • Weekly lab groups on Zoom (1 hr/wk) 

    • Assignments that range from exploratory writing and research projects to climate storytelling. Not every week. (0-6hrs/wk)

    • Optional opportunities including: meeting with mentors, guest lectures and hosting fireside chats. 

  • Help preparing and cleaning up from shared meals. 

  • Participation in the Farm Journal - this is a group journal where we all write one entry a week. 

  • Participation in individual and group check ins. 

  • Help us make this a success,  with engagement,  with honest feedback and adaptation!  

Commitment from Midnight’s Farm:

  • First Three Months:

    • $150/week stipend + funding for Terra.do coursework ($1,500 value) 

    • 32 hours per week of on the farm training and tasks

    • Terra.do Learning for Action Course

  • Second Three Months:

    • Compensation starting at $300 per week

    • 40 hours per week of on the farm training and responsibility

  • On the farm learning experience tailored to your interest.  Most of our farm education (as opposed to the climate course aspects) will be experiential with reflection and discussion opportunities while working and at mealtimes.

  • Open environment for BIPOC applicants- (island culture is predominantly white, politically liberal, 10% Latinx)

  • Tuition for the Terra.do course ($1,500 value).  

  • Use of sauna, yoga studio, swimming pond, farm bikes

  • Access to farm library for additional reading on regenerative ag and soil health 

  • Coverage for on the job injury through WA state L&I Small Farm Internship Program

  • On Farm Housing - The quarters are cozy and rustic. You will have a composting toilet and shower that is in a separate space. Here is a document with some pictures and info.

  • Internet is available in all farm housing and in the Barn/Bakehouse area

  • Food

    • Access to either your own and/or a shared kitchen space

    • Farm lunches made from scratch from farm bounty on workdays. 

    • Unlimited seasonal vegetables and fruit from the market garden and orchard

    • Supply of staples such as rice, beans, flour, sugar, condiments, olive oil, etc. 

    • Up to $30 per week of meat and eggs from the farm stand. 

Experiential Farm Learning

From composting, rotational grazing, heavy mulches, biochar, no-till market garden, many of our practices are in the regenerative agriculture playbook.  We are still highly dependent on our numerous diesel engines and obviously have a long way to go in the climate realm towards minimizing GHG emissions and maximizing land-based sequestration.  Part of our motivation to forge this collaboration with Terra.do is to up our “climate game.”  So there will certainly be an emphasis on the climate impacts of the various aspects of the farm and places to plug in.  

 

At the same time, there’s work to be done. Depending on the season and interest interns will gain first hand experience with the following: 

Compost 

  • Fundamentals of Aerated Static Pile compost system

  • Compost feedstocks

  • Basic components of compost

  • Understanding of the thermophilic cycle 

  • General maintenance of machinery

  • Benefits of compost for soil and plant health

  • Sales and customer service

Livestock

  • Rotational grazing of cattle

  • Electric fencing set up and maintenance

  • Low stress stockmanship

  • Haylage production 

  • Benefits of overwintering off pasture

  • Pig handling and feeding

  • Beef and pork sales

  • On farm slaughter 

Market Garden

  • Seeding

  • Transplanting

  • Weed control

  • Drip irrigation

  • Harvesting

  • Strategies for no till 

  • Cover crops

  • Season extension

Marketing and Sales

  • Website management

  • Social Media

  • San Juan Island Food Hub

  • Telling our story

Infrastructure and Maintenance

  • Machinery maintenance- greasing, oil changes, etc.

  • Machine operation- there will be limited opportunity to operate machinery.

  • Energy efficiency

  • Construction basics

  • Safe use of power tools including

    • Table saw

    • Chop saw

    • Skill saw

Woodlot management

  • Fire reduction strategies including 

    • Ladder fuel reduction 

    • Biochar production

    • Creation of litter piles

Work Values (for all of us):
  • Bring the values of “Curiosity, Generosity, and Optimism”

  • Be reliable – show up on time ready to learn and work.

  • Communicate clearly – respond to calls, emails, or text with clarity and in “real time”. Ask questions and make suggestions when information or tasks aren’t clear or don’t make sense.  Bring up issues directly with the people concerned.  Strive to recover from situations where we or others inevitably mess up.

  • Engage fully and be capable of the hard physical work – shoveling, raking, weeding, lifting 40 lbs, etc.  

  • Show some hustle and enthusiasm for getting stuff done! – while running really isn’t necessary, we confess to having little patience for dawdling.   The “.do” extension for the Terra.do program was intentional!  

  • Be a keen observer and bring a love of learning. We value research, looking up new information and sharing what we learn. 

  • Look for and communicate ideas to make the operation or particular task more efficient, safe, green, profitable and/or pleasurable (sense of humor is a plus).  

  • Pay particular attention to safety.

  • Refrain from phone use at the shared meal table and limit phone use during the work hours to work related use only.