All leadership positions begin May 1st and end September 1st. Each leader will partake in a month long training in May in preparation for the arrival of interns n June. The training is an intensive four week schedule working at the home farm and other farms that regularly hire Many Hands Farm Corps crews. The training mimics the internship, though it assumes leaders are already familiar with basic farm work and focuses primarily on the structure of the internship and group dynamics, as well as lesson development, and provides leaders with the tools and basic principles to help facilitate successful internship sessions. Following the training, each leader will have three days off, then begin their specific roles, working no more than 40 hours/week in those roles. Two leaders each month will be expected to join a crew for the month in order to facilitate a safe, healthy, and educational living environment that will include group discussions/meetings,educational activities/workshops, and recreational activities and down time. Leaders that join the crews for one month are expected to stay with the crews for the duration of the month, and are subject to the same rules and restrictions (no drinking, no drugs, limited cellphone use, etc.) as the interns for that month, with the exception of24 hours off, every two weeks. Each leader will receive a 1000$stipend at the end of each month completed, and will be provided housing for the duration of their employment at Many Hands Farm Corps.
Home Farm harvest and cultivation: this leader is responsible for daily harvests and cultivation at the Many Hands Farm Corp home farm on Pelham Rd in Amherst, as well as the field at Haskins Meadow in Amherst, and the field at Hillside Rd in South Deerfield. Responsibilities will include harvesting and processing various crops for CSA distributions and tractor and hand cultivation. Other responsibilities may include assisting in cover crop management, assisting in livestock care, planting, and fertility management. This leader will also assist in facilitating lessons and work for the interns on the home farm. Interest in learning farm management skills is preferred.
Cook/part time farm hand: This leader is responsible for provisioning food for the leaders and crews, as well as preparing dinners for the crews and leaders Monday through Friday. Emphasis for provisioning is on using primarily locally grown foods obtained from the home farm and other farms that hire Many Hands Farm Corps crews. Other priorities include following or reducing the budget by preserving available foods from the farms, and teaching lessons on cooking, food storage, food preservation,provisioning and working with a budget. Cooking will mostly be part time in the afternoons. Mornings during the week the cook will assist with harvest and cultivation at the home farm, but will have priority given to managing the pick your own garden. Interest or knowledge of growing and using herbs is preferred.
Farm Contract leaders: Four leaders will be responsible for bringing and working with crews of interns on other farms for four days throughout the week, ensuring crew safety as well as setting high standards for quality and quantity of work performed by providing examples,motivation, and feedback for interns. Because the work can be tedious and at times discouraging, farm contract leaders role is primarily to maintain high morale among the crew. To fill these positions we are looking for people with high energy who are very social and enjoy working with others. One day a week Farm Contract Leaders are provided with opportunities to increase their technical skills (as opposed to their social skills) at other farms or at the home farm.
Many Hands Farm Corps
Located in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, we are reaching out to aspiring farmers, students, educators, and established farms in hopes of building vital connections between these groups. We focus on teaching and training, because our most important crops are our farmers. We like to quote Eliott Coleman in saying “Don’t weed, cultivate”, and apply this philosophy to our interns as well as field crops.
The Many Hands Farm Corps is setting out to increase the quality of life of farmers through improved training in the field and a greater focus on education for intern farmers. In order to do so, practical agricultural training occurs on our own farm as well as other farms, as the crews of interns hired for one month sessions are contracted out as part time labor to farms in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. The educational aspect of the program relies heavily on art, literature, group dynamics, and of course, continued agricultural education in a classroom setting to compliment work done in the field. The combination of labor, nature, art, and academic study will be used as an example of an alternative lifestyle that can bridge the gaps between manual labor and fine arts as well as agriculture and nature. Ignoring the present focus on material wealth, we strive to address the issue of increasing the quality of life of farmers by recreating a culture based on place, people, the materials necessary to provide a living, and the beauty that inspires one to continue the labors necessary to improve the living standards of an individual and community.