The Bluegrass Blog

Hiring a full-time farm worker for Fall 2017

Posted on June 26, 2017

We are now hiring a farm worker for this fall. The contract is seasonal with the possibility to extend/renew in the new year. Please see below for details and how to apply.

Position: Organic Farm Worker
Type: full-time seasonal (Aug/Sept – Dec., see below)
Location: Jasper, near Smiths Falls/Merrickville/Kemptville/Perth, Ontario

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

Our goal is to increase the viability of local food as a year-round option in our region. We operate an innovative system of 5 heated greenhouses that use radiant floor heating to grow greens through the winter. Combined with extensive cold storage to store our field crops, this allows us to offer a unique Winter Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program. Last winter we supplied 157 CSA members with biweekly baskets of produce from October through March. We also deliver greens weekly to restaurant and retail customers in the fall and spring. In this way we aim to help fill the gap in local produce throughout the off-season.

Our approach to farming is informed by our backgrounds in environmental science and sustainability education. We are certified organic, and emphasize soil health and fertility as the foundation for growing healthy and delicious food. Our unique 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.

This year we are growing over 4 acres of field crops that will go into our 2017-18 Winter CSA baskets. We also grow a wide variety of salad and other greens in our ¼ acre of greenhouse space, for our CSA and wholesale customers. We are aiming to offer a new Spring CSA program for 2018 and will be developing this through the fall and winter.

We are looking for a full-time worker this fall to help with the following tasks:

  • Greenhouse production: ongoing planting, weeding, irrigation, harvest and maintenance of greenhouse crops.
  • Field harvest: harvest, processing, storage and inventory of field crops for winter CSA.
  • CSA boxes and wholesale orders: wash and pack produce for weekly CSA boxes and wholesale orders; local delivery of boxes/orders.
  • Infrastructure construction and upgrades: projects may include upgrading our woodshed, building an outdoor seedling station and washing station, expanding our heating system to include our vegetable storage, installing an internet connection in our barn, etc.
  • Development of the Spring CSA program: this could include marketing, sales, crop planning and production.
  • We will do our best to match your tasks to your abilities and experience. If you have a specific skill or interest that can help on our farm, please let us know!

What we offer:

  • A small team with 2 co-owners and 2 experienced staff (and 2 wonderful farm kids!). You will work closely with all of us and have the chance to participate in farm planning and decision-making. A small team means everyone is given responsibility and ownership of certain tasks;
  • A great opportunity for someone wanting to learn more about operating a mixed vegetable/greenhouse/winter farm, as you will be exposed to all aspects of the business. We are happy to share our experience, both in terms of production and business management;
  • Full access to the farm house for lunches and breaks, as well as our extensive resource library;
  • Regular team meetings and one-on-one check-ins provide opportunities for questions, feedback and learning;
  • Please note there is no staff housing available at the farm. Applicants must have their own vehicle to get to and from work and make deliveries;
  • Salary will start at $12-13/hr depending on experience, plus vacation pay. This position is covered by WSIB.

What we’re looking for:

  • Ability to perform full days of physical labour outdoors in all weather conditions;
  • Vegetable production experience, preferably at a commercial scale (ie. On-farm). Construction or tractor experience are also assets;
  • Someone with their own vehicle who is willing to make weekly deliveries to Smiths Falls, Kemptville or Ottawa during work hours. 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 communication skills; 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 this position requires us to hire someone 30 or under, who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

We are looking for someone to start between August 21st and September 5th 2017. The contract will end on December 22nd, with the possibility of continuing in the new year or returning in the spring. Hours of work are Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 pm.

How to apply:

Please email your resume and cover letter to Leela Ramachandran at Applications will be accepted until July 10 2017.

Thank you to all who apply, however we can only follow up with those selected for an interview. Applicants will be reviewed as they are received, with interviews booked the week of July 10.