We are a 10-year-old, 90-acre family farm in rural TN. We are off-grid with solar power, wood heat, and well- and rain-water, and our focus is self-sufficiency and rehabilitating the land (a former strip-mine), and we are working toward actually make a living through our farm. I (Amy) have a thriving soap business and raise/homeschool our 3 boys (4, 7 & 10 years old), while Caleb occasionally works off-farm as a Physician Assistant and otherwise manages the farm. We currently have about 35 Scottish Highland cattle, 7 alpacas, and about 30 goat does, increasing to 80-100 total after kidding, and 16 sheep, all grassfed, and we mob-graze for most of the year. We direct-market beef and lamb, sell the goats live for meat, and use the alpacas and sheep for wool. We also sell duck eggs, and have strawberries, large raised-bed gardens and a 2100 sq. ft. hoophouse for year-round growing but especially winter. We sell at local farmers markets, and I also have an Etsy store (Solace Farm Homestead) and farm website (SolaceFarmHomestead.com).
Our focus currently is on self-sufficiency, as much as is practicable. We butcher everything but the cattle ourselves, and are working on the art of tanning hides – cow, goat, sheep, etc. We grow and preserve most of our own produce and meat, and have a young orchard and 2 beehives. We milk our goats for our own use and for soapmaking, and also have ducks for eggs and raise a batch of meat chickens most summers.
Our management is holistic, sustainable, and as natural as possible. Our goals and ethics are in line with Joel Salatin, Ian Mitchell-Innes, Greg Judy, Eliot Coleman, Gene Logsdon, etc, and we are looking for someone who shares these philosophies and principles. We strive to improve our own lives through our farm, of course, but also feel called to share what we've learned here with others – to this end, we accept shorter-term interns throughout the year, both WWOOFers and students from the local university, as well as giving tours to student groups, boy scouts, moms' groups (especially at kidding time), etc. We would also love for our farm to be an example of what positive results can come from otherwise useless, abused land – turning an abandoned coal-mine into a sustainable, productive farm – through increased agro-tourism.
Apprentice would be responsible for many daily farm chores – moving, watering and feeding livestock and poultry, monitoring animal health, animal health care, raising pastured broilers and ducklings, planting, weeding, mulching, and harvesting in gardens and hoophouse, planting and harvesting garlic, preserving produce, composting, natural/organic pest control in gardens and orchard. Also assisting with preparing for/attending farmer's markets, processing alpaca wool, butchering poultry and goats, tanning hides, harvesting honey, goat kidding, milking, cheesemaking, and much more. We would like someone willing to get involved in the management aspect as well – see educational potential for further discussion of opportunities. We cannot provide a salary or stipend, but will profit-share on additional income the farm generates due to the input of the apprentice.
An apprentice would need to be willing to perform any necessary farm chores but we are hoping for someone with real interest and dedication to farming to help us improve our management of the projects we already have going. Currently, we just never have time to do everything we need to, and often not to the degree of efficiency or competency we'd like. This includes the daily to weekly management of the animals, the gardens, and the orchard. We also hope an apprentice would enable us to improve and even expand the management and production of dairy, beef cattle, fiber, produce, marketing, and/or soap. We would of course give as much guidance and support as needed, with the goal of the apprentice assuming more responsibility as they grew into the job.
We are rural, and our farm in particular is fairly isolated, but we are near a thriving supportive community as well as within 2 hours of both Chattanooga and Nashville. There is a local food hub serving restaurants and the local University. While we would like at least a year's commitment, we truthfully are open to much longer or even permanent situations, with the apprentice becoming the farm manager, and ultimately sharing our farm with us.
We provide meals with our family, or staples for your own cooking if desired. We supply most of our own food other than the basic staples - grains and such, so we eat very well!
We are seeking someone interested in all aspects of small, sustainable farming, including livestock, poultry, market gardening, fruit, honey, dairy, fiber, and anything else appropriate for our farm. We are looking for someone serious about farming – not necessarily experienced, but we'd prefer some experience. We'd like a commitment of at least a year, with no maximum if all parties were agreeable. We are open to an individual or a couple, but our housing is a 30' camper, so more than 2 children would be difficult (and any at all could be, depending on the family!). We need someone who is motivated, reliable, enthusiastic - someone who can work independently once comfortable with it, but can also take direction and fulfill requirements. An apprentice would be responsible for generating their own income, either from outside the farm, or from the farm itself through increasing production and/or efficiency of the farm. We cannot provide a salary, but we will provide the farm, experience, and infrastructure the apprentice needs to generate their own salary from profit-sharing of increased income. There are also several other nearby farmers that are always in search of reliable help and will hire on an hourly basis.
Email us a resume if you have one, or an email detailing any experience and why you're interested in this position. Then, we would like several follow-up emails to ask/answer any questions. If at all possible, we would like a farm visit before a final decision, or an agreement on a trial period.