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Vegetable Apprenticeship

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies at Rock Bottom Ranch

Basalt, Colorado

Job Type Internship

Position Summary: ACES Agriculture Apprenticeship is a hands-on learning and training program that is geared towards those with an interest in pursuing agriculture as a career.  This production focused program exposes you to every aspect of the season from planning to production to sales, with the intent of making you a competitive candidate for future agriculture operations. Upon completion of this program, apprentices will feel confident and knowledgeable in a diversity of regenerative agriculture systems.

ACES: Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) is a nonprofit environmental science education organization. Since 1968, ACES has inspired a life-long commitment to the earth by providing innovative and immersive programming for all ages. We have three locations: Hallam Lake, Rock Bottom Ranch, and Catto Center at Toklat. Our programs focus on ecological literacy, regenerative agriculture, forest and ecosystem health, land restoration, and environmental leadership. Through this, ACES meets our mission of educating for environmental responsibility.

Rock Bottom Ranch: Located mid-valley in Basalt, CO, Rock Bottom Ranch is a 113-acre site which dedicates approximately 70 acres to natural wildlands and about 35 acres to pasture-based, rotationally grazed multi-species livestock systems and intensive low-till vegetable production. Rock Bottom Ranch also serves as an outdoor classroom for summer camps, school groups, and community education programming to engage visitors and staff alike with questions about how humanity interacts with and impacts our ecosystems through a lens of nature-based scientific exploration and food production.

The Agriculture Program aims to spark a community of food-educated citizens through the demonstration of forward-thinking, environmentally, socially, and climate-aware agriculture and land stewardship practices. We seek to educate farmers on profitable, scalable, and replicable agriculture systems. Our  livestock production raises sheep, laying hens, cattle, broiler chickens, turkeys, rabbits and bees. Our vegetable production grows 50+ crops on our ⅔ acre of intensively spaced outdoor production and in our four season extension structures. Rock Bottom Ranch’s livestock and vegetable products are featured at our summer dining events, weekly farmers’ markets, vegetable CSA, and on-farm sales. 

Our production farm and educational site is open to the public five days a week during the summer and offers farm tours, youth and adult programs, and dining events. Agricultural staff are primarily involved in the diverse array of production agriculture operations, but have the opportunity to become involved in customer service, event, and educational experiences.

Educational Opportunities and Professional Development:

  • During the season, production responsibilities are complemented by additional learning opportunities via tours, presentations, workshops, and trainings. Some of this additional programming may require limited evening obligations.
  • Programming primarily takes place in the spring and fall and may include:
    • Presentations on various agricultural topics, practices, and methods including agriculture policy, production planning, and carbon sequestration;
    • Hands-on workshops offering exposure to subjects that could include floral arrangement, welding, small engine repair, butchery, and many others;
    • In-depth training on skills including tractor operation, haying, trailer driving, manual transmission driving, small power tools and others;
    • Tours of local farm and food operations;
    • Public speaking; 
    • Events set up and execution.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

1) Low-till Vegetable Production:

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Assist with vegetable production including: soil preparation, seed propagation, irrigating, transplanting, and cultivation.
  • Assist with harvesting, washing, packaging, and sales of final vegetable products.
  • Assist with sales of produce and meat at farmers’ markets and at the ranch through farmstand and CSA pick up. 
  • Assist with maintenance of the vegetable production area by mowing and weed whacking.

Secondary Duties and Responsibilities:

1) Livestock production: 

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Assist with the daily care of cattle, sheep, goats, laying hens, meat chickens, turkeys, rabbits, ducks, and bees.  Daily care may include: providing feed and fresh water, moving animals, mucking out stalls and houses, collecting and washing eggs.
  • Participate in humane, on-property animal harvesting of chickens and turkeys.
  • Participate in evening chicken cratings through the summer.

2) Customer Service, Events, and Other Duties:

  • Provide a welcoming and educational environment to all guests.
  • Lead public farm tours.
  • Assist with leading and mentoring summer stewards. 
  • Assist with sales of produce and meat at local farmers’ markets and at the ranch. Farmers markets require longer work hours. CSA pick-up requires working in the evening.
  • Participation in on-farm events including, but not limited to, dining events, educational programs, and farm tours.
  • Evening events are either compensated with comp time or an hourly pay.
  • During the work day event preparation and site maintenance duties required.
  • After hours, on-call responsibilities which will include chicken crating, animal emergencies, animal birthing, or site maintenance issues.  
  • Contribute daily to a clean and organized site. 
  • Other duties as assigned to further the mission of ACES.

Qualifications:

Candidates must have the following:

  • Exposure to agriculture production (season of production, summer internship, regular volunteering, or equivalent experience).
  • An interest in pursuing farming as a career.
  • Strong work ethic and understanding that farm work is rewarding, yet physically demanding.  
  • Enjoy working outdoors in varying weather conditions.  
  • Able to lift heavy items.
  • Friendly, inviting personality and positive attitude.
  • Respect for farm products, fellow crew members, and all ACES staff.
  • Strong willingness and desire to learn.

Preferred but not required, candidates will have the following: 

  • Bilingual, particularly conversational Spanish.

Reporting Relationship:  This position reports to the Agriculture Manager.  The Agriculture Crew Leads also provide management and support.  

Location:  This position is located at ACES’ Rock Bottom Ranch site in Basalt, Colorado.  

Work schedule: 5 days per week, Tuesday through Saturday.  Up to 50 hours a week in peak season.  Additional rotating weekend chores responsibilities required and are additionally compensated. We value a work/life balance; however, farming has peak demands and occasional times of unpredictability where we will be challenged to work through our physical and mental limitations.  

Compensation and benefits: Compensation includes: $485/week, plus housing, utilities, and vegetables (available seasonally (June-October, lighter in June) and eggs (available March-November). This is a full-time, seasonal, position and is currently ineligible for ACES benefits package.

Housing: Housing provided. On average one hour per week of general maintenance duties are expected to be fulfilled as part of the in-kind housing compensation.

Position Dates:  March 16, 2023 – October 31, 2023.  Start date is non-negotiable.

HOW TO APPLY

Read the full job description and apply at this link.

Please direct any questions to rbrjobs@aspennature.org.  Please do not make any phone calls to the ranch regarding this position.  

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Farm and Ranch Jobs.
Uploaded by Aspen Center for Environmental Studies at Rock Bottom Ranch
Uploaded by Aspen Center for Environmental Studies at Rock Bottom Ranch