Info about ASF Farming Partners
In 2018, our farm is looking for 2 Arugula's Star Farm Farming Partners.
What is an ASF Farming Partner?
An individual that basically embodies a shared work interest, both physically & mentally in the 2018 growing season, and takes on the role of being a comprehensive small farmer alongside myself Allison (and my little 3 1/2 year old co partner E. Dutch, and my husband Matthew that acts as only a background systems & equipment counselor). Just as any farmer has to see all parts of the farm through from start to finish, so will be the expectation of an Arugula's Star Farm Partner. Individuals will be expected to oversee daily and monthly agricultural activities. With this mentality, workloads often come in cycles and vary week to week, but there are consistencies within the variations. For example, there will be Leipers Fork Market Days on Thursdays, and Nashville Grown Harvest and pack Days on Mondays and Thursdays. As we plant vegetables and fruits here following Biodynamic planting signs, there might be only a two day period to get all the potatoes planted for example, which are guaranteed very long days, but then there will be days in which know work is required...ebb and flow is the key.
My goal for partnering with a couple of individuals will allow the farm to GROW & THRIVE within a well managed farming system. By partnering, there should be a duality of benefits for all partners..., for example I get to continue mowing forward with my organic/biodynmic farm goals within the canopy of our farm property, while still getting to be a very hands on Mom, and then the farm partners get an opportunity to farm without any financial investment or loss. This is really a huge opportunity for a couple of individuals! We have the basic tools, implements, and equipment that are needed to farm on a small scale and plenty of space to grow in the beautiful and fertile Leipers Creek Valley. If there are partners, then production can excel while we all work together to develop and steer the growing season to our desired capacity. Currently we are no where near full capacity of production, in fact last year I only grew vegetables on 1/2 acre. I am slowly wanting to increase production for the highlighted focus crops I have listed below in the growing goals for 2018. There as always, will be a tremendous amount of work, but partners will not feel the driving stress of a full blown CSA production farm. Farming partners should see this opportunity as enrichment farming with some monetary gain as opposed to stressful large production farming management with higher monetary gains initially. As shared partners, a large goal will be to work towards higher vegetable production and increased management that will create opportunity for higher financial gains, but we will not be jumping into a boiling pot of water from the get go. I am a long distance runner, so steady, proficient, and right is the way to win a race. We will not compromise on any of the growing practices that Arugula's Star Farm upholds, to narrow our bottom line.
I will act as the head farm partner/manager and it will be up to the farm partners in collaboration with myself on the volume we decide to grow. In general, I can lay out a season and organize all that needs to unfold, I just need good work partners of support to achieve a well managed farming system that can GROW and THRIVE. Farm partners will be encouraged to put forth helpful strongpoints and suggestions to make the farm more streamlined, productive, lush, alive, and profitable. As a farm partner, individuals will have the capability to share all aspects of the full farm operation.
Please take a look at our Genuine SeedtoGather SealTM Growing Practices to be able to get an idea of what we are about here.
Our season starts in mid to late February (the earlier a farm partner is selected, the earlier joint discussions can begin on the possibility of a few more added vegetable growings for the 2018 season) and goes through when the last Fall Dry Beans are harvested, shelled, and packaged, which should be around late November. Of course, it would be lovely if 2018 season partners have a long term goal of staying committed Arugula's Star Farm partners for a longer haul. Forward momentum can be gained by moving from one season to the next together, as plans for the next season can already start to unfold in our united farming partnership while we are farming in 2018.
How does a Farm Partner Get Compensated?
An ASF Farm Partners' pay will not be a set salary or hourly, instead the pay will follow suit to that of a farm owner, pay can only come form net profits. This model is exactly how I as a farm owner get payed and this is exactly how a farm partner will be payed. At the end of a week of sells the net profits will be divided in between our farm and the partners something like this: 40%/30%/30%, 50%/25%/25%, 36%/32%/32%. Depending on the skill set, experience, presence that is brought forth, and level of determination & commitment will finalize the % share of net profits received. Farm partners will be able to get payed throughout the season, as soon as sells begin based on the above percentages of net profits. Also, Farm partners will be able to utilize the vegetables grown here for eating. Sells will begin when Snap Peas and Snow Peas start to be harvested and sold, which should be around mid April. I have decided on this system of compensation, because it allows for the partners to reap the benefits of what they sow. It also keeps everyone responsible for all tasks, as we will all be in it together.
What is the Estimated Weekly Work Load?
As partners we will start the week off with a round table discussion in order to lay out the agenda for the week. We will also set a monthly agenda chart that will help us see our frame of reference based on all the crops overall season.
On average, an Arugula's Star Farm partner might can expect to be out on the farm 4 days out of the week. I have a presumption that if there are 2 farm partners, we should be able to accomplish the farm checklist for the week and have some days off. Because ASF's growing focus is on a handful of crops, a weekly rhythm should be able to be set that is fairly consistent. For example, one partner's farm work days might always be Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday. Keep in mind though, that some weeks because of particular plantings, harvests, or weather might have to be altered. In conclusion the main point to consider when thinking about a farm partners weekly commitment is that each week there will be the necessary farming "TO DO's" on the docket and as a farmer your weekly work load correlates directly to that.
Farm partners will have to be strong, proficient, and determined workers, as most field work is done manually. We have large tractor and BCS, but as we are not at the point yet where we are growing acres and acres of crops, there is not current justification for investment of large scale implements. Therefore, we plant, manage, and harvest by hand. As partners, goal would be to create enough of a demand and secure enough markets to justify adding helpful larger scale implements over time, especially for dry bean and fingerling potato production.
What are the Growing Goals & Markets for the 2018 season?
The Goal for Arugula's Star Farm is to continue forward with our focus on:
- non perishables like Heirloom Dry Beans
- slow perishables like Heirloom Fingerling Potatoes and Winter Squash
- summer fruits of Sweet Melons, Watermelons, and Cucumbers
- Popcorn & Sunflower Micro Greens (non-freezing weather)
- early season crops of Snap & Snow Peas, Heirloom Lettuce, & Beets
- fall root crops of Beets, Carrots, & Rutabagas
(Farm Partners will be able to put forth thoughts on crops. The sooner I find the perfect fit farm partners then the more input they get to have.)
Out of all of these goals, Dry Beans are the top priority, as a large goal here is to become a TN Heirloom Dry Bean production leader!
Our markets will consist of:
Nashville Grown (a local food restaurant distributor) http://www.nashvillegrown.org
Leipers Fork Farmers Market on Thursday afternoons
Direct Farm to Customer by way of Farm Pick Ups and Deliveries
Selling to MEEL (Nashville's local meal kit and marketplace provision doorstep delivery company) https://www.localmeel.com
Retailing in some specialty retail Shops in Nashville
What are Possible Living Arrangments?
If one does not live locally, then partners would have provision to set up semi-permanent sleeping/weather protection/living site, with access to indoor bathroom and outdoor running water. Meal cooking could be done on open fire, or by way of outside oven. Creativity and Adaptability is key.
**Looking future forward, depending on Future Commitment, Working Compatability, & Ability Skillset there would be potential for construction of simple farm worker quarters for Farm Partners. This possibility would be viable even sooner if partners had a strong construction/building skillset.**