2017 Farm Apprenticeships

Buttermilk Falls CSA in Osceola, WI is seeking three apprentice farmers or interns for March-October, the 2017 CSA season.  As a garden volunteer, you will experience CSA farming on a beautiful member-supported, therapeutic community farm. The program is tailored to individuals who are not daunted by long hours and hard work and are motivated by being part of the inner workings of this special project. This opportunity is especially useful for folks looking to own/operate their own small-scale or family farm someday, or those hoping to supplement their experience-based farming skills at a time when the future of food seems so uncertain.

About the Farm

Buttermilk Falls CSA is a project of Philadelphia Community Farm, a non-profit since 1989. Our CSA is a farmer-led 120+ member garden on a to-be-certified biodynamic farm in the St. Croix River Valley of western Wisconsin. We do not use any chemicals or synthetic substances on our fields, and practice an ideology which acknowledges the farm as a whole organism. We serve primarily the St. Croix Valley & Twin Cities metro. 

Philadelphia Community Farm - A pioneer in the midwestern CSA movement and leader in farm-based education in the region, the farm consists of 300+ acres of fertile river valley land, with 68 acres developed for the farm, residential living and retreat center, and most of the remaining managed in conservation with Standing Cedars Land Conservancy.

Program Details

Apprentice farmers can live onsite and work full-time alongside Buttermilk’s head farmer and farmer-in-training from mid-March until the end of the (outdoor) garden season at the end of October. Currently, four full-time year round co-workers, two children and a senior citizen with special needs live at Philadelphia Community Farm. We share most meals, weekly meetings, and various workshops, celebrations and social and recreational activities like music by the campfire, swimming in the St. Croix River, canoeing, fishing or attending local arts/theater events. We are a vibrant community in a sacred setting, complete with restored native prairie, forest, an expanding barnyard, and a fresh water spring and waterfall.

  • Free housing (single or double room) in large community farmhouse or tiny summer sleeping room with porch
  • Communal bathroom/shower and laundry
  • Free home-cooked farm meals
  • Free WI-FI and domestic phone calls
  • A living allowance of $200 per month
  • Free farmer training
  • Access to inspired natural sanctuary replete with hiking trails, prairie, waterfall, spring, sacred beauty, fresh air, clean water, and nutritious food. 
  • Free classes whenever available at the Folk School
  • Opportunity to engage in a therapeutic community lifestyle that includes meaningful work, personal development, and owning your path. 

Skills You Can expect to Gain

  • Planning: Spring arrival will allow you the opportunity to work side-by-side with the farmer to plan garden rotations, field configurations, seed orders etc.
  • Greenhouse Propagation: Seeding, record keeping, seedling care and troubleshooting, greenhouse organization, composting
  • Field work: irrigation systems, seeding, transplanting, weeding, thinning, mulching, tractor skills, frost protection, composting, “farmer intuition” and observation analysis, record keeping, heat/cold tolerance, biodynamic preparations
  • CSA management: The following will be supplemental to the tasks of the onsite CSA Manager Tracking of CSA data, record keeping, communications, marketing, community building, delivery logistics 
  • Life skills: Communal living in a multi-ability, multi-age household, healthy communication, cooking, hearth-keeping, responsibility, empowerment, work ethic
  • Animals: May be included DOI, mostly in the context of their role on a biodynamic farm

Ideal Candidates

We seek three people with a sincere interest in sustainable agriculture. The work is undoubtedly demanding on physical, mental and emotional levels, and is also incredibly rewarding for those that are willing to meet the challenges. A genuine commitment to the farming lifestyle and all of the joys and hardships that go along with it will be an invaluable asset to Buttermilk apprentices. We will consider all applicants but will favor those available for the full-term and those with two or more seasons of farming under their belt. Interpersonal attributes required for this position: 

  • Possess an open mind and an open heart
  • Communicate openly and honestly; ask for what you need
  • Self reflective and ready to engage deeply on both inner and outer levels
  • Non-smoking, and not attached to regular alcohol consumption. Drug-free.
  • Wiling to help co-create and cultivate a healthy social atmosphere 
  • Healthy and without significant mental or physical health issues
  • Comfortable with heavy lifting, good manual dexterity and multi-limb coordination while using tools and small machines.
  • Experience not required, but be eager for a hard-working wholesome lifestyle of service
  • Couples are welcome
  • We cannot accept children or animal companions at this time. 
  • Display a passion for learning sustainable agricultural methods in a community farm environment
  • Demonstrate a high degree of self-motivation and initiative
  • Have the willingness to take direction and the drive to complete tasks in a timely manner.

Your Fearless Leader

Buttermilk CSA’s head farmer and leader of the apprenticeship program is Carter Beck. Born and raised on a family farm in Michigan, Carter finds his heart’s home outside and in the fields. He relocated to Minnesota in high school and later earned an A.A. degree in Environmental Analysis from Vermillion Community College in Ely. After more than a decade of tree planting around the country, Carter married Christina (Philadelphia Community Farm’s executive director) and they began their family on a hobby farm near Grand Rapids, MN. He has worked as a Waldorf School gardening teacher and wilderness survival mentor before diving into the world of community supported agriculture. Carter's CSA experience includes creating fruit/berry shares. After a year in Belize with his family, he moved to Philadelphia Community Farm in 2004 where he managed the barnyard and established the orchards and berry patches. He subsequently operated his own CSA, which was a collective model that supported multiple farmers by distributing shares of produce, dairy, bread, eggs, coffee, meat/poultry and more. Carter returned to PCF in 2014 upon the retirement of its founders and continues to blend tradition and innovation through Buttermilk Falls CSA. 

Carter Beck

Carter Beck

In many ways, Carter epitomizes the archetypal Midwest farmer of Scandinavian descent. He is sturdy, resilient, patient and a man of few words. He works deliberately on the land from sun up until sun down, in hopes of serving his members and creating a space where children and families can connect to the land and enjoy nature. Apprentices will learn best from this farmer through astute observation and inquiry. If you wish to learn while getting your hands dirty, in an outdoor classroom, this experienced farmer will be a good match. If, upon reading and reflecting upon everything above, you find your interest piqued, please send a letter of interest and your resume to: Buttermilk Falls CSA, P.O. Box 668, Osceola WI 54020 or email farm@buttermilkcsa.com

Also, please fill out the questionnaire below.

Please submit the following questionnaire: 

Name *

Farm Internships 2017

Lindsey & Michael walking Marion down the lane. 

Lindsey & Michael walking Marion down the lane.