The Bluegrass Blog

Hiring 2 farm workers for 2019 (March-Nov)

Posted on January 10, 2019

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and natureWe are looking for two farm workers in 2019: a greenhouse manager and a field/equipment manager. Positions will run full-time from the beginning of March through the end of November, with the possibility for part-time work through the winter. Both positions will be involved in core farm operations, but will have their own areas of focus and responsibility.

GREENHOUSE MANAGER

  • Manages greenhouse planting schedule and keeps detailed records. Takes lead on seed-starting, transplanting, and control of weeds/pests/disease.
  • Responsible for daily greenhouse checks and operations: irrigation, ventilation, heating. Oversees successional plantings throughout the season. Applies, produces and sources crop inputs as needed (eg. Compost tea, effective microorganisms, worm castings, other nutrients).
  • Installs and maintains irrigation systems in all greenhouses.
  • Supervises all greenhouse production and reports daily to farm manager.

FIELD AND EQUIPMENT MANAGER

  • This person will be the main tractor operator (we have 2 Allis Chalmer “Gs” and two Massey Ferguson tractors.) Manages field planting/cover crop schedule and takes lead on field prep, mechanical planting, and cover cropping. Installs and maintains field irrigation. Oversees compost production and application.
  • Maintenance of farm equipment and tools: hand and power tools, small rototiller, quick-cut greens harvesters, tractors.
  • Maintenance and upgrades of farm infrastructure: cold storage unit, wash and pack station, greenhouse heating system (radiant soil heating fed by an outdoor wood boiler) and ventilation (exhaust fans and circulation fans). Also maintains remote sensing system to monitor temperature/humidity in greenhouses and storage rooms.

SHARED DUTIES

  • Greenhouse and field production: bed prep, seeding, transplanting, mulching, weeding.
  • Harvest and Delivery: harvest, wash and pack produce for weekly CSA boxes, wholesale orders and farmers’ market; weekly deliveries to Ottawa, Perth, Smiths Falls, Merrickville, Almonte, Kemptville.

 

What we offer: (See end of post for more background on our farm)

  • A great opportunity for someone wanting to learn more about small organic greenhouse/vegetable operations, as you will be exposed to all aspects of the business over the course of the season. We like our staff to understand not only the production side of the farm, but also the business model and finances.
  • A close working relationship with the farm managers and the chance to participate in farm planning and decision-making. A small team means everyone is given responsibility, takes ownership of certain aspects, and plays a key role in the farm’s success.
  • On-farm accommodation is available in a three-season cabin, suitable for one person or a couple. We are open to other options for on-farm housing such as bringing a camper/trailer on-site, or temporary accommodation in our home. All on-farm accommodation would be offered at an appropriate rental rate.
  • We care about your learning and will work with you to set goals for your time here. We are also open to staff starting their own on-farm project, which could include beekeeping, chickens, value-adding, or more. We will do our best to support projects that are in line with our farm goals.
  • The farm house is open for lunches and breaks, as well as access to our extensive resource library.
  • Salary will start at $14-15/hr depending on experience. These positions are covered by WSIB and include 4% vacation pay and 2 paid sick days/year. Up to 2 weeks’ unpaid vacation can be taken, but must be arranged in advance so that they don’t conflict with peak periods.

What we’re looking for:

  • At least one season of experience on a vegetable farm, or equivalent experience. Greenhouse experience required for the greenhouse manager, tractor experience required for the field/equipment manager.
  • Ability to perform full days of physical labour outdoors in all weather conditions;
  • Someone with their own vehicle who is willing to make weekly deliveries to Ottawa and other local destinations (Kemptville, Almonte, Smiths Falls, Merrickville). We pay for your time and mileage expenses;
  • Willingness to take on a range of tasks, adaptable to changing circumstances, creativity and problem-solving skills;
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills; ability to keep detailed, organized records;
  • Comfortable working as part of a team and independently; able to represent our business professionally with customers and the public;
  • Commitment to local food systems and sustainable food production;
  • Funding towards one position requires us to hire someone 30 or under who has graduated from a college, university or CEGEP. Both positions must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

These positions will run full time from March 4th through November 29th, Monday through Friday. Hours of work are typically 8:30-4:30 but will shift slightly throughout the year. There is the possibility of part-time work through the winter. Our goal is to retain the same people for 2020.

To apply, please email your resume and cover letter to Leela Ramachandran at leela@bluegrassfarm.ca . Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until January 20th.

About our Farm

Bluegrass Farm is a certified organic, mixed vegetable farm in Jasper, Ontario (15 minutes from Merrickville or Smiths Falls; 75 min from downtown Ottawa). We are a small family farm, heading into our ninth year of organic vegetable production, and our sixth year farming on this property.

Our goal is to extend the season that local produce is available in our region. We operate an innovative system of 5 heated greenhouses to grow greens nearly year-round. From 2014-2017, we offered a Winter CSA from October through March. In 2018 we changed this to a unique Spring and Fall CSA, focused on greens, from April-June and Oct-Dec. We also deliver produce weekly from March – November to restaurant and retail customers in Ottawa and the surrounding area.

Our approach to farming is informed by our backgrounds in environmental science and sustainability education. We are certified organic, and emphasize soil health as the foundation for growing healthy and delicious food. Our business model is driven by continuous research and learning; we are always experimenting with new crops, growing techniques and methods for season extension. Our farm’s innovation and leadership has been recognized by the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence, as well as grants from the Ontario Local Food Fund and the Eastern Ontario Development Program.

In 2019 we will focus mainly on intensive greens production in our 1/4 acre of heated greenhouse space, plus about one acre of field crops. Our produce will be marketed through our CSA, food stores and restaurants, and at a farmers’ market.