Winter Farm Update

 

CONTENTS

  • farm update
  • goals for 2016
  • thank you for all who volunteered in 2015

 

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Clockwise: quail eggs, silkie eggs, Mixed Americana eggs, English leghorn (white), RI Red (brown)

 

  • I now have more eggs than I know what to do with (and more kinds) since a whole new batch of chickens began to lay their first eggs in January.   What great timing (I’m joking)!   Yet another lesson to learn for future years.  “Winter = low sales & high costs.  Don’t hatch chicks in the summer, otherwise you’ll spend all this money feeding them and protecting them from the cold, and they wont produce until January when the lack of daylight hours will reduce their egg output, and when there are no customers!” Duh…

Otherwise, all is well at the farm.   During the snow storm and cold snaps we got, the goats prefer the barn, while the Emu’s chose to stay outside at all times.  In fact it took 12  inches of snow before they finally gave up and came in the barn.

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I kept telling them that if they didn’t move, they’d be under snow by the morning.  

 

I’m glad I didn’t wake up to Emu Snow Men.  When it stops snowing, they are back outside, zipping like snowmobiles across their pen.   The chickens are somewhat chicken when there’s snow outside.  They choose to stay in the barn,  trudging back and forth with poor posture and some weak cooing to express their misery.  The ducks, they just don’t know any better than to continue to waddle and be happy.   Even if it means resting every 10 inches as they sink into the snow with every step.   It’s sort of a stop and go parade out of the barn.

I got a pleasant reminder that the days are now growing longer.   After taking a two month hiatus the ducks have begun to lay again, now sensing the longer days yet to come.  Also, one of my hens has already been trying to brood (nest), pecking at me when I collect her eggs.  And yeah, by the time Spring rolls in the goats and Emu’s are going to be of courting/mating age.  Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of action at this farm.   Oh boy.

The lazy days of winter are now over – seeding starts in two weeks.   Everyday when it’s too cold, snowy, or wet, I must spend doing indoor projects.   A walk-in cooler, a washing station, and a mobile chicken coop must be built (from scratch).  A manure spreader needs significant repair and the greenhouse needs to be completed.  The fields have to be amended with compost and other organic compounds.   Over 8,000 seeds need to germinate.  All before April, or May.

But I look forward to my second year of farming, and with your continued support I think I will be able to reach these goals for 2016!

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always watching me feed my ducks some grain, just hoping that I’ll be won over by her cuteness to offer her a handful… I try not to…

2016 Goals

  • triple my sales income by doubling my CSA customer base and expanding into two good farmer’s markets
  • build infrastructure – chicken coop, walk-in cooler, washing station, greenhouse
  • grow more varieties, especially of tomatoes and melons, and lots more of them!
  • maintain a consistent production of diversified eggs – chicken, quail, and duck – year-round
  • lower my high costs of buying certified organic grain by supplementing my bird’s diet fresh pasture and kitchen scraps – to that end, my goal is to find a bakery or restaurant (or network of families?) willing to supply me consistent vegetable and food scraps
  • introduce new produce – horseradish, okra, popcorn, culinary herbs, habanero & poblano peppers, ground cherries, paste tomatoes, fava beans, and pumpkins
  • continue relationships with Grassroots International, Providence Youth Student Movement, Teoma Massage Works, and Environment Justice League of RI, and add on 2 – 3 new organizations/businesses to our network
  • expand CSA drop-off sites into Roxbury, Cambridge, and Dorchester
  • support our social justice partners by hosting fund-raisers or donating my produce
  • learn from elders from the Cambodian Society of Rhode Island who will be volunteering on the farm and building a Khmer-style garden
  • continue to search for employees/colleagues/partners who can help carry the weight as well as expand the vision of Movement Ground

Thank you to the 50+ people who volunteered!

From helping with seeding and weeding to opening up new farmer’s markets to helping with blog entries and research, this has helped put the food and the farmer where they belong – as part of a community!

Just writing this list has comforted me so much.  Thank you.

Michio & Melody Ishihara * Emiko Ishihara * Mateal Lovaas – Ishihara *  Rachel Miller * Mimi Budnick * Sara Mersha * Gladys Gould * Shannah, Dante, Omar Luna-Kurland * Martha Yager * Kathy Lessuck* Sarath Suong * Mr. and Mrs. Suong * Sarah Bernstein * Adeola Oredola * Anim Yeboah * David Conner * Dania Flores * Matt Feinstein * Chung-Wha Hong * Sandy Wright * Judy Khy * Stanley Mui * Lydia Simas * Rachel Meketon * Dimple Rana * Pitu Sim * Michael Wojcicki * Veasna Chan * Todd Courson * Glynn Lloyd * Elaine Tsang * Jose David * Dave Jenkins * Matt White *  Daniel Kamen * Dee Wojcicki * Matt Anderson * Andrew Bumila * Cynthia Marie Espinosa * Teo Corley *  Andie Janota *  New England Sustainable Farming Project * Charlie Chhum * the EJ League crew (Bolu Taiwo, Elizabeth Onamiye, Angela, Kayla) * Theary Voeul * Saroeup Voeul *

Special Thanks to my Coordinating Crew (Judy Khy, Sarath Suong, Sandy, Wright, Dimple Rana, and Elaine Tsang) and to our CSA drop-off sites (Providence Youth Student Movement, Teoma Massage Works, Grassroots International, and Revere City Hall).

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A very peaceful winter =)

Free Vegetables for Volunteers

Want access to free, farm-fresh, organic produce all summer and fall?

We are looking to set up CSA drop off sites in Dorchester, Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and Quincy (and areas close by).   A free CSA share is offered to anyone willing to volunteer as drop-off coordinator.

Seasons

  • Summer CSA: June 21 – Sept 20
  • Fall CSA: Sept 21 – Dec 15

Space & Location Requirements

  • First we must get 10 customers signed up to make this profitable – I will solicit customers, and would appreciate any help that the host person/organization/business is willing to offer
  • A place to put the CSA boxes that is relatively cool (e.g. not in direct sunlight)
  • A convenient and accessible location (not the 18th floor of a crowded hospital, for example)
  • Must not mind some traffic – imagine 10 customers coming into your space every Tuesday or Wednesday.   Some organizations and businesses have enjoyed and benefitted from the traffic.
  • A home is fine, as is a business or an organization.

 

Drop Off Coordinator Responsibilities & Perks

  • Must receive the boxes from the farmer on Tuesday afternoon
  • Must be present at the location during specific pick-up hours (for example, every Tuesday between 3 – 6pm)
  • Must communicate with CSA customers when there is an emergency or sudden change of plans (e.g. when the office is closed and no one knew about it, if there is construction and the boxes are in a different location, etc..)
  • Must compost, throw out, or re-gift any unclaimed CSA produce.   Customers must pick up their box during the specified pick up hours only.
  • Must assign someone to take over when not available to coordinate due to sickness, vacation, etc.
  • Must unfold and store returned CSA boxes so that they can be picked up each week for re-use
  • Will receive a FREE CSA share as compensation for this work – plus with unclaimed boxes, the coordinator will likely be overflowing with extra veggies during the season

 

first CSA boxes!

CSA shares come in a waxed cardboard box that we re-use over and over again throughout the season.

FAQs

Q. I’m worried about mice.

A. We encourage customers to pick up their boxes the same day they are delivered, and the CSA drop off coordinator will dispose of any unclaimed boxes by the end of the day or the following day, so there is not much time for rodents to access their farm fresh produce.

Q. I’m worried the vegetables will wilt and the eggs will spoil

A. As long as there is an AC unit working and the boxes are out of direct sunlight, the leafy greens and the eggs will be fine.   Anything you can do to create a more cool environment will be greatly appreciated.   Cement or stone floors are great.  If you have space for a refrigerator, I can probably lend you one.   If you want to turn up your AC on the day of delivery, that would be awesome.

Q. Is it alright if customers pick up their boxes the following day?

A. Yes, the following day is fine. But I strongly encourage you to not offer the produce any day after that.   I am trying to provide top quality fresh produce, and I’m also working hard to encourage my customers to always figure out a way to pick up their produce. But it’s fine to have two pick up time slots, for example, one on Tuesday from 3 – 6pm, and one on Wednesday from 4 – 7pm.

 Q. What if a customer cannot pick up during one week or another?

A. I would like to handle 90% of communications with customers. If they cannot pick up one week, then they will communicate that with me, and I will drop off one less box that week, and I will give you an updated list that shows what is happening. Likewise, that customer may want to make up their missed share by picking up two boxes the following week.   I can handle all of this communication.   All you have to do is receive the list.

Q. Where can I find more information?

A. For more information about the farm, visit our facebook and/or wordpress page.

www.movementgroundfarm.wordpress.com, https://www.facebook.com/movementground/

Or, email movementgroundfarm@gmail.com

Who Can Help Us Build Our Local BOS-PVD Social Justice Food System?

 

My Coon eats too much!

My Cat sleeps too much!

So they’re both disqualified.

 

Who can help get us to the next level?   To triple our CSA sales, to expand into new markets, to launch new partnerships, and most of all to take us a few steps toward our mission?

We are searching for a candidate to fulfill our Field & Harvest Manager position.   Someone who is equally skilled in farming as much as they are committed to a broader vision of social and environmental justice.

Please help distribute this far and wide.

Thank you!

Kohei  =)

 

 


 

Field & Harvest Manager

Berkley, MA

 

$14 – 17/hour, year-round employment*, and option to live on the farm

 

ABOUT MOVEMENT GROUND FARM

Now in its second year in operation, MGF is ready to triple its sales through an active CSA membership program, a roadside stand, and a few farmer’s markets and wholesale accounts. Enterprises currently include mixed vegetables, eggs, and a dabbling into the world of mushrooms. In the years to come, the mission is to build an inspirational farm and retreat center that can serve as a hub for local food distribution as well as for events, retreats, and transformative gatherings. The overall vision is the creation of an ‘intentional community’ comprised of individuals and organizations that span the spectrum of progressive social and environmental justice movements. The farm hopes to impact the movement by connecting individuals, families, and organizations to the grounding power found in access to land, food, and community. More can be read about the farm at www.movementgroundfarm.wordpress.com

 

JOB DESCRIPTION

As Field & Harvest Manager you will be one of two people working full-time/full-season at the farm – you and the farm owner. As such you will have the ability and opportunity to make a big impact and help the farm grow towards its mission.   You will manage a couple of seasonal farm workers. Implied in most small farm operations, you will be wearing multiple hats and may have to engage in some multi-tasking as well.   Your main responsibility is to execute and oversee field preparation, planting, cultivating, harvesting, storage, and take part in some packaging, deliveries, and farmer’s markets. The farm owner will split his time 50/50 between field work with you and administrative and sales work.

BENEFITS, PERKS, AND COMPENSATION

  • $14 / hour AND free shared housing right on the farm in a 19th Century farmhouse. Housing includes a large bed room utilities, washer and dryer, internet, and access to a shared kitchen, dining, and living room.
  • Or $17/ hour without housing
  • Full-time from April to December (about 50 hours/week), part-time from January to March (about 25 hours/week)
  • Free vegetables, eggs, and other produce as it is available
  • Ability to make a serious impact on a small farm and be truly valued for your contribution
  • Chance to be involved in all aspects of the farm business, from field work to farmer’s markets to special projects and events
  • Connect to individuals, families, and organizations in the Providence and Boston metropolitan areas who are involved in various social justice movements and communities

REQUIRED EXPERIENCE & ABILITIES

  • Solid experience in organic vegetable production (3+ years)
  • Experience in field preparation (disc-harrow, beds, soil amendment, direct seeding, and transplanting) as well as experience in using tractors for all of the aforementioned.
  • A strong commitment to (or demonstrated perspective on) progressive social and environmental change that is inclusive of women, people of color, the working poor, LGBTQ and gender nonconformists, as well as immigrants and refugees.
  • Ability to drive vehicles and lift over 60 lbs repeatedly
  • Ability to be a self-initiator and to see tasks and projects to their full completion
  • Proficient and direct interpersonal communication skills
  • Ability to create and maintain organized and clean work spaces

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED

  • Reliable source of transportation
  • Carpentry and other handy(wo)man skills
  • Previous experience in management and supervising in agriculture

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

  • Send a resume and cover letter addressing how you are qualified to fulfill this position.   References will be requested after conducting an interview.   Send information to movementgroundfarm@gmail.com
  • Full-time from April to December (about 45 – 50 hours/week), part-time from January to March (about 20-25 hours/week)