Host Farm Info
Host Name:Karl Sutton
Farm description:Fresh Roots Farm is a certified organic small fruit and vegetable and flower seed farm located seven miles south of Polson, MT at the base of the Mission Mountains. We are a family farm run by a husband, wife and our twelve-year-old daughter. We are entering our 10th season. We specialize in cool and warm season annual and biennial seed crops, strawberries, raspberries and currants. We market our berries through Western Montana Growers Cooperative's wholesale and CSA, and additionally, in 2017 we started a value-added popsicles enterprise, Flare Pops. We have an on-farm commercial kitchen to produce our popsicles from our fruits, vegetables and herbs that are marketed at two farmers markets, a variety of wholesale accounts and multiple festivals. The berries and popsicles cash flow the seed farm, which is our main focus of production. In 2021 we produced about 5 acres of contract seed for various seed houses.
Internship description:We believe in hard work and having fun. We seek to provide our interns with a sense of what it is like to work/run a small organic farm. Farming is physical work and you can expect repetitive movements and being outside in a variety of weather conditions. Please note that farming is not a clock in and out business; there will be times when we need to get a harvest or other project completed before ending the day. Work weeks are approximately 40 hours (Monday through Friday). Start times / end times and days can vary depending upon weather conditions. We are looking for self-motivators and individuals who are able to work both independently and as a team.
Languages spoken on farm:English
As part of a shared effort to provide a safe and inclusive experience for all interns and host farms, including BIPOC AND LGBQTIA+ participants, please describe how you will foster a sense of community, safety, and acceptance on your farm:My wife and I started farming later in life. Prior to farming we were wilderness guides, a high school teach and therapist. My wife continues to work as a mental health therapist off the farm 2 days per week. We started farming with the intention of creating a positive space for our daughter to grow up. Our past work experiences and the past 10 years of operating a family farm business has taught us the importance of building a cohesive team. If we do not have employees who feel safe and included then the farm will fail. We work hard on checking in with individuals to ensure their needs are being met. We strive to have open communication. Farming is physically and emotionally challenging. We try to be aware of each individuals physical well being by balancing work tasks so that their bodies have time to recover and avoid injuries.
Would you be able to provide financial compensation for an intern? If so, what form would this be in?Starting wages are $12 hr. Typical work week is 40 hr per week unless weather or other factors dictate a shorter work week. Compensation is legal and the above amounts reflect gross pay before taxes.
Would you be able to provide housing and amenities for an intern? If so, what form would this be in?We have a second 2 bedroom 1 bathroom house on the property that is very comfortable, spacious and furnished. Individuals must be comfortable with communal living. No smoking allowed. In trade for free housing, we do ask interns to care for the animals (dogs, cats, horse) and general watering duties 1 weekend per month. This typically does not require much work but does require an individual to remain on the farm during that period of time.
What are your general expectations for an intern?Applicants do not need to have previous farm experience. Applicants, though, do need to possess a strong work ethic, curiosity, positive attitude, flexibility, problem-solving skills, and ability to work hard for long hours on tasks that sometimes can become tedious. Applicants need to be prepared to work in all weather conditions. Summers can be hot so applicants need to be prepared to work early in the morning, 5:30 am starts during the hot summer months is not uncommon. Applicants need to be or plan to be non-smokers.
Are you able to provide educational on-farm training for an intern?We believe strongly in hands on learning. Interns will work side-by-side with us starting plants, transplanting, weeding, setting up and record keeping of field trials, managing irrigation, harvesting berries and seed crops, threshing and winnowing seeds and preparing biennial seed crops (carrots and beets) for long term storage. Interns also may choose to participate in the Organic Seed Alliance online internship. Wifi is available in the employee house. The time to complete the online coursework is not part of the paid period of work.
Preferred start date(s):April 2022
Preferred length of internship:7 months