2023 URBAN FARM VOLUNTEER LEARNING PROGRAM – APPLY NOW!

The Farmers on 57th market garden is seeking Learning Program volunteers for the 2023 season!

This full season learning experience will immerse you into the world of ecological farming. It is a practical hands-on experience where you exchange your labour and commitment for our instruction, supervision and mutual commitment. We follow COVID-19 protocols to keep the market garden a place of health and well-being for all.

Farmers on 57th is an urban farm on Vancouver Coastal Health land, 57th Avenue near Cambie Street, in Vancouver, BC. The 1/2 acre market garden grows beautiful organic flowers and veggies for distribution through a 75-family CSA program. We operate on the grounds of George Pearson Centre, home to 100+ people living with disabilities. There are a number of community related projects run on site that volunteers have exposure to.

Volunteers commit to work with us in the market garden 4-6 hours each week, for 30 weeks from March until the end of October, with several weeks off for vacation. We have field shifts available Monday, Tues, Fri, Sat 9am-3pm & Sun 10am-2pm, and starting May, Thursdays 9am-3pm. You must be available for at least one regular 6 or 4 hour shift per week (same day each week) to participate in the urban farming volunteer learning program. June onwards volunteers occassionally switch, or are asked to switch depending on availability and farm need, to a different field day within the week. For example, volunteers may want to experience the main Tuesday harvest & CSA distribution shift at least once, and the farm may need help covering shifts while staff or volunteers are away.

We are looking for new people to join our core team of part-time staff and perennial volunteers. You have strong self initiative, enjoy a mix of team and independent work and also understand that you play a pivotal role in building community in the garden. You must be physically fit (or ready to get fit!), can shovel, rake, crouch and bend and are comfortable with manual work in all kinds of weather. We work rain or shine. You will receive a weekly portion of the “farmer’s take” of seasonal vegetables as well as the satisfaction of learning to farm every step of the season from bed preparation, seeding, crop maintenance and harvest all the way to distribution via our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Harvest Box program.

Duties may include:

  • Tilling
  • Composting
  • Amending with compost
  • Irrigating
  • Prepping beds
  • Weeding
  • Mulching
  • Transplanting
  • Direct seeding
  • Potting
  • Trellis installation
  • Tool maintenance, cleaning and farm organization
  • Harvesting
  • Washing and Disinfecting Harvest Totes & Surfaces
  • Preparing CSA boxes
  • Interacting with Pearson Residents, CSA members & general public

Skills and Requirements: 

  • Interest and willingness to learn about organic gardening
  • Commitment to work through growing season in all weather
  • Physical ability to perform manual labour
  • Ability to learn skills and work independently
  • Understanding of the relationship between community gardening and advancement of community connection
  • Police Record Check (no fee) as we work on the grounds of a facility where vulnerable adults live, and host children at the farm
  • Copy of BC Vaccine Passport QR code (or proof of COVID-19 vaccination)

Skills and experience you will gain from volunteering with us this growing season:

  • how to prepare beds, seed, transplant
  • harvesting & processing; food safety
  • ability to prepare own garden and trouble shoot problems as they arise
  • weed, plant, insect and disease observation & identification
  • soil health: nutrient balancing, composting, preventing soil erosion, cover crops
  • crop rotation
  • irrigation systems
  • beneficial organisms
  • organic pest control
  • connect gardening with community health: in terms of healthy food and community development

For more information about our urban farm visit www.farmerson57th.ca

Application deadline: Rolling, until all volunteer shifts are filled. This post is regularly updated to indicate which shifts are still available to apply to.
To apply: Please fill out the online application form (preferred), or email your application to karen@farmerson57th.ca with answers to the following questions, your name & phone number:

  1. Qualifying question: Will you be able to complete a criminal record clearance AND email a copy of a BC Vaccine Passport QR Code?
  2. What is your motivation for wanting to be a volunteer with Farmers on 57th?
  3. How does this volunteer opportunity fit into your future plans?
  4. What would be your top 3 learning objectives while taking part in the Urban Farming Learning Program?
  5. March-October we ask that our volunteers commit to a weekly shift, same day each week. Please indicate which day(s) you could be available to volunteer on a weekly basis: Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat 9am-3pm & Sun 10am-2pm, and starting in May Thurs 9am-3pm.
  6. We know our volunteers have lives outside of farming! But, are you able to commit for the entire (rest of the) growing season March-October, give or take several weeks? Do you foresee any obstacles to fulfilling this commitment? Please indicate any known dates you will need away from the garden during the growing season (ie. vacation, exam period, back to school that may require change to schedule).
  7. What is your gardening and/or food growing background?
  8. How did you hear about this volunteer opportunity with Farmers on 57th?
  9. What are your preferred pronouns? (optional)
  10. How do you self-identify? (optional)
  11. Please list any allergies you have that we need to be aware of (ie. bee stings, nut, gluten).

All applicants who submit a complete application will be called to discuss the program and our mutual fit. Volunteers must complete a police record clearance, free of charge, and email a copy of your BC Vaccine Passport QR Code.

We are a settler-led and majority white community space striving to be a safe, inclusive community space for people of all identities. In the case of there being more applicants than available field shifts, people who self-identify with a group under-represented in our community will be prioritized.

Many thanks!

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