Organic Biointensive Farmer

Ecology Action

Willits, California

Job Type Full Time

Program Description:

Ecology Action is a non-profit organization focused on sustainable agriculture research and education. We’re seeking to interview stable people eager to make a long-term commitment (at least 5 years) to work as long-term, full-time, year-round Biointensive Farmers starting in 2019 at two separate biointensive research and demonstration mini-farms in Mendocino County, CA: our headquarters at The Jeavons Center (TJC) site near the town of Willits, and our Victory Gardens for Peace (VGfP) site near the town of Mendocino.

Duties & Responsibilities:

Farmers at both sites will work closely with Ecology Action Mini-Farm managers, apprentices, interns, members of the public participating in farm tours and workshops, and Ecology Action staff members. Gardening tasks and responsibilities include garden planning, bed preparation, planting, composting, weeding, watering, harvesting, data collection and record keeping. Additional tasks include teaching and outreach (you will receive training in biologically-intensive farming and teaching methods to prepare you for these activities). Specific activities include:   

Garden: daily gardening tasks, including seasonal work in the 11,000 sq. ft. raised-bed growing area near Willits, or the 20,000 sq. ft. raised-bed growing area near Mendocino. 

Teaching (under the guidance of the Mini-Farm Manager): preparing and teaching GROW BIOINTENSIVE topical and crop classes for students and the public, and assisting with the training of interns and apprentices at the site.  

Outreach: Assisting with garden tours, and workshops, both open to the public (2 per year).   

Research: data collection (crop yield and soil amendment data), plus assisting with farm data management.

Optimal Qualifications:

Education & Experience: You have a background in farming, are interested in closed-loop, sustainable, regenerative, "beyond organic" agriculture, and are skilled at working the land. Three years of organic agricultural experience, based on a degree in sustainable agriculture or related field, or from life experience. Able to work within a farming structure that contains demonstration, teaching and research aspects, and involves working with the public.

Good interpersonal skills: We're looking for self-starting, solutions-oriented, co-creative team players. The ability to interact with the public, and with our annual group of diverse international interns. Flexibility, patience, a sense of humor, and respect and understanding for others, especially people from other cultures and countries. Cross-cultural experience a plus.

Strong communication skills: Fluency in English is required. Ability to clearly convey information about demonstration, teaching and research garden activities to individuals or groups is important. A second language, particularly Spanish or French, is desirable.  

Excellent organization and planning skills: Orderly, with meticulous attention to detail, good at keeping track of data and not afraid to take on special projects and build your skill-set. Ability to work with Microsoft Office applications—especially Excel; comfortable using Mac OS. Knowledge of data management systems a plus.   

Interested in the work we do: The ideal candidate has a desire to live and work in our sustainable farming community; to become an important part of our research and training programs and projects; and to participate in continued training in biologically-intensive farming. To ensure continuity of our research, we are looking for long-term farmers: a minimum 5-year commitment is requested.

Our goal is to train farmer-teachers, and help individuals empower themselves to grow all of their own food sustainably. We work with individuals from around the world to help them grow better diets using fewer resources while building soil. If you have skills and interests that you think will fit well with this program, we encourage you to apply!

Salary and Benefits:

Salary: The Biointensive Farmer is a long-term, full-time staff position (40 hours per week), with up to 8 hours of simple overtime pay possible during the 6-month main growing season (~April 15-October 15), with an hourly rate $15 per hour.

Holidays: Holidays: Full-time employees have the following nine paid holidays: New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving (2 days), and Christmas (2 days)..

Medical Stipend/Dental/Vision Reimbursement/Vacation/Sick Leave/Family Emergency Leave: After completing one year of employment, full-time employees will receive up to $600 reimbursement per year for dental/vision/medical expenses, plus a $200/month stipend to be used towards medical insurance, preventative care, etc.; four weeks of paid vacation annually, including 1 week in August; and up to two weeks of paid sick leave and/or family emergency leave. Exceptions can be made by the Director.   

On-Site Housing:

On-site staff housing is offered at both locations, with the following differences:

The Jeavons Center Site near Willits, CA:

Rural, but a 15-minute drive accesses stores, laundry, restaurants, theatres, and community events; 1-hour drive to redwoods, lakes, hiking/camping, and coastal vacation destinations; 3-hour drive to San Francisco/Bay Area.

Housing is included for staff, with a $250 refundable cleaning deposit. This provides a large private bedroom in a beautiful, clean, recently renovated, 2-story off-grid yurt with shared common space (living, kitchen, dining, bath) for staff and interns. Includes water, solar and generator power, wood heating (you may be asked to help gather firewood), propane, and garbage. No on-site laundry (laundromat in town). Separate couples housing may be available. Location not suitable for children. Staff members are responsible for providing their own cell phone/personal computer (office computers are for business use only) and high-speed internet service (basic internet for checking email is available, but is not suitable for streaming or surfing).

Much of the food grown on-site provides meals for staff and students, but due to the size of the garden and the number of staff, each staff member contributes $200 per month towards purchasing groceries from the farmer's market and local natural food store meals. You are responsible for purchasing any other food for personal use. No animal husbandry, hunting, or fishing takes place at this site, and all food is vegetarian(no meat of any kind allowed), but eggs, cheese, milk and butter are used in moderation. We attempt to eat primarily from the garden, and supplement our diet with food grown locally, avoid buying food that has traveled a long distance, and do not eat much in the way of tropical fruits such as bananas, mangos, papayas, etc. During your time off site, you can, of course, eat whatever other foods you like, including meat and tropical fruits. There is a rotating cooking schedule and all interns and staff farmers will cook at least once a week, sometimes more. Once a week there is a scheduled cleaning time, during which all residents of the staff housing participate in cleaning the common spaces. The property is about 20 minutes outside of town by car, and it is not a safe or easy road to walk, so you must have a reliable means of transportation. Smoking, drugs and alcohol intoxication are not permitted on site.

Please note: as this is a research and demonstration site specifically focused on the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method, no other farming methods may be practiced on site by staff farmers.

Victory Gardens for Peace site near Mendocino, CA:

Housing, internet, utilities, and food are included for farm staff at this location, with a refundable cleaning deposit of $250.

The Victory Gardens for Peace mini-farm is on the property of the Stanford Inn by the Sea in the town of Mendocino. Accomodations include a single room with tv, heater, desk, dresser, bedding, shared bathroom and free on-site laundry facility. Staff farmers are responsible for cleaning their own rooms. Couples housing may be available; the site is not suitable for children. There is no kitchen available to farm staff, but two communal vegan meals per day are provided by the Stanford Inn kitchen, and staff share a small communal kitchenette with coffee pot, microwave, rice cooker and instapot, and an outdoor camping-style stove is available. The entire property is vegan, meaning there are absolutely no animal products allowed onsite—no meat, fish, flesh products, eggs, cheese, butter or milk. However, the farm is within walking distance to town and staff members are encouraged to eat whatever other foods they desire off-site (at their own cost). All food grown onsite goes to the kitchen at the Inn, which then provides staff meals. 15-minute walk brings you to the vacation destination town of Mendocino with shops, restaurants, community events etc. Staff farmers have (respectful) access to public resort spaces at no cost, and to onsite yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, and massage at own cost outside of farm working hours.

Staff members are responsible for providing their own cell phone/personal computer (office computers are for business use only).

The Inn is an eco-resort and we respect their rules of no public alcohol consumption, no public intoxication, and no smoking or drugs anywhere on the premises.

While this site is less rural than The Jeavons Center and you can reach much of the town on foot within 15 minutes, we strongly recommend staff members have a reliable car onsite.

Ecology Action has spent almost 50 years developing and teaching the GROW BIOINTENSIVE®Sustainable Mini-Farming Method. This low-tech (but sophisticated) farming method helps small farmers maximize agricultural yields, build soil fertility, and minimize water, energy, and off-farm nutrient inputs. Our work has demonstrated results in communities in the U.S. and worldwide, helping people grow plentiful and nutritious food without depleting precious natural resources. This modern, dynamic method is based on universal scientific principles, combined with millennia-old farming practices. It is successfully being used in 152 countries, in virtually all climates and soils where food is grown. Our programs are centered at the Jeavons Center Mini-Farm located in Willits, CA (inland climate) — and at the Victory Gardens for Peace Mini-Farm in Mendocino California (coastal climate). Our mini-farm program serves as one of the oldest sustainable agriculture research projects in the world.


Timeline and Application Procedure:

Please send and application letter and resume with 3 professional references and 3 personal references to:

Ecology Action, 5798 Ridgewood Rd., Willits, CA 95490 
or email:

Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled. Thank you for your interest in dynamic, high yielding, resource-conserving biologically-intensive soil-and-food growing!

—The Ecology Action Team

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Farm and Ranch Jobs.
The Jeavons Center Biointensive Mini-Farm. Uploaded by Ecology Action
The Jeavons Center Biointensive Mini-Farm. Uploaded by Ecology Action