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Volunteers

Sprout Creek Farm Volunteer Program

Applications for Sprout Creek Farm Volunteers are accepted year round.

Why be a Sprout Creek Farm Volunteer?

Volunteerism at the farm is of great value as both an educational experience for the volunteer and as a support for our farm. Since we have a small farm staff, our volunteers are a part of the ‘farm family’ and an important part in helping us fulfill our mission. During their time at the farm, volunteers gain hands-on, practical work experience as well as the opportunity to support a local farm that seeks to provide educational experiences for children and adults that will foster an appreciation for, and understanding of, our place within the natural world, and thus encourage responsibility for the future of our environment.

What Goes Into Being A Sprout Creek Farm Volunteer?

Volunteer opportunities range in length from 3 months to multiple years. Volunteers must be available on a regularly scheduled basis. We will spend time making sure you are trained and prepared for the volunteer work and then will depend on you to carry out that work.
Since our farm serves the needs of both animals and visiting families, we have exceptionally high standards for our volunteers. Volunteers are screened and carefully selected through an interview process.

How To Apply

Volunteers are accepted on a rolling basis except for the Friends of the Farm program. Since there is a training course and specific requirements for this program, applications are accepted:
September 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020 - for the February 2020 training dates
March , 2020 – April 30, 2020 - for the May 2020 training dates

To apply, please review the volunteer opportunities below and then apply using the Teen Volunteer Application or the Adult Volunteer Application.
Please send completed application to:

Sprout Creek Farm
Education Department
34 Lauer Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
Email: Education@Sproutcreekfarm.org
Fax:  845-454-6158

All volunteers must be capable of working both independently and as part of a team.
Sprout Creek Farm volunteers are subject to a thorough background check.
Sprout Creek Farm reserves the right to alter the volunteer program or its contents in any way without prior notice.  Volunteer positions may be terminated at any time per the discretion of the farm and without notice.  The farm director reserves the right to dismiss any volunteer that does not comply with rules.
Sprout Creek Farm is committed to the principle of equal educational opportunities without the discrimination of race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, or presence of a legally protected disability or any other legally protected status.

Volunteer Opportunities at The Farm

SUMMER CAMP CREW
Age Requirements:  16 to 18 years. Oldest applicants are seniors in High School.
Seasonal Position:  Application deadline is May 31. These volunteers are at the farm in week long blocks. Summer camp are week long sessions from early July through late August.
Description: These volunteers will assist counselors with farm chores, animal encounters, crafts, games, snacks, water playtime and the prep and breakdown of the day’s activities. They are helping to create a safe, relaxed and fun environment where camp children can learn and have fun. Each volunteer is assigned to a specific counselor and age group for a week at a time.
Experience: Previous experience working with children and/or other summer camp programs is helpful but not required.
Commitment expected: Summer camp volunteers must commit to at least two full weeks; Monday through Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm. The two weeks can take place between early July and late August. Volunteering for more weeks is encouraged but not required,

FRIENDS OF THE FARM
Age Requirements:  Adults - 18 and older.
Application Dates:  September 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020 - for the February 2020 training dates
February 1 , 2020 – April 30, 2020 - for the May 2020 training dates
Description: This year round program allows adults the opportunity to gain experience in public speaking and interpretation while learning about all aspects of farming, cheesemaking, horticulture (gardening) and the animals on our farm. Friends of the Farm are an extension of the education department and help to fulfill the mission of the farm by interacting with the farm’s visitors and participating during scheduled farm events. 
Experience/Requirements:    Must be reliable and a team player. Passion for farming, farm animals and  sustainable living  combined with a desire to teach the public about the natural world. No extensive prior farming or agricultural knowledge or public speaking needed provided there is a willingness to learn.
Commitment expected:    Friends of the Farm participants must attend two 6 hour training sessions and be able to demonstrate competency with the materials covered in the training classes. The training sessions are taught by farm staff - professionals in their field - for the purpose of allowing the Friends of the Farm participants to assist us in educating the public and hosting events on the farm.  Friends of the Farm are required to volunteer a minimum of 5 hours a month at the farm and to attend 2 bi-annual meetings. .

FRIENDS OF THE FARM JUNIOR PROGRAM
Age Requirements: 14 – 18 years old (Freshman - Senior in High School)
Application Dates:  September 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020 - for the February 2020 training dates
February 1 , 2020 – April 30, 2020 - for the May 2020 training dates
Description:    This program allows high school students the opportunity to gain knowledge in public speaking and interpretation skills, while learning about all aspects of farming, cheesemaking, agriculture (gardening) and the animals on our farm.  Friends of the farm Juniors will gain hands-on experience in many different aspects of farm work and the skills necessary to present information. 
Experience/Requirements:    Must be reliable and a team player. Passion for farming, farm animals and  sustainable living  combined with a desire to teach the public about the natural world. No extensive prior farming or agricultural knowledge or public speaking needed provided there is a willingness to learn.
Commitment expected:    Friends of the Farm Junior participants must attend two 6 hour training sessions and be able to demonstrate competency with the materials covered in the training classes. The training sessions are taught by farm staff - professionals in their field - for the purpose of allowing the Friends of the Farm Junior participants to assist us in educating the public and hosting events on the farm.  Friends of the Farm Juniors are expected to volunteer at least  two 5-hour shifts/month during the school year and two 5-hour shifts/week during the summer.

FARM HAND/ANIMAL CARE
Age Requirements:  16 - Adult
Description: This position allows you to assist in caring for the farm’s herd and can include feeding, milking, tending to chickens and gathering eggs and performing daily chores on the farm. These chores can include shoveling, sweeping and helping to maintain the cleanliness of all grounds, buildings and animal pens. Assist with hay production and fencing as needed. This is an opportunity to learn first hand about rotational grazing and other farm management techniques from professional farmers.
Experience/Requirements: MUST BE PHYSICALLY FIT AND ABLE TO LIFT 50 lbs without difficulty. Must have quick reflexes. Previous experience with animals preferred but not required. Ability to perform tasks outdoors year-round. This is a very physical position and involves being outside in all types of weather.
Commitment expected:   Volunteers need to commit for a minimum of 3 months and maintain a regular schedule. During the months of December - February, volunteers are needed to help with milking and feeding in the mornings and afternoon only. Details of the commitment depend upon time of year and will be discussed in the interview process.

GARDEN CARE
Age Requirements:  16 - Adult
Description: Garden volunteers will work in the farm’s half acre garden alongside our gardener helping to plant, maintain and harvest fruits and vegetables. The garden has different tasks depending on the season. Here is an example of the type of work available in different seasons.

SPRING:
fixing last year's raised beds & equipment
cleaning up greenhouse & land to prep for upcoming season (raking, hauling away dead, etc.)
sowing seeds
opening up new plant beds (rototilling, prepping soil, composting, laying dripline, laying landscape material, planting new plants)
transplanting new plants
harvesting lettuces, kale, radishes, brassicas
watering greenhouse plants

SUMMER:
opening up new plant beds (rototilling, prepping soil, composting, laying dripline, laying landscape material, planting new plants)
maintaining/updating trellised plants as needed
weeding plants!
harvesting veg/lettuce/fruits
watering greenhouse plants

FALL:
weeding plants!
cleaning up dead/spent plant material
harvesting lettuces, kale, radishes, brassicas, pumpkins, corn
watering greenhouse plants
cleaning up greenhouse after the season
repainting/fixing up items as needed

Experience/Requirements: Previous experience growing food preferred but not required. Ability to perform tasks outdoors year-round. This is a very physical position and involves being outside in all types of weather.
Commitment expected:   Volunteers need to commit for a minimum of 3 months and maintain a regular schedule. Details of the commitment depend upon time of year and will be discussed in the interview process.

ADMINISTRATIVE CREW
Age Requirements:  Adults - 18 and older.
Description: The farm is also a business and maintains a market, full program schedule and special events. Our administrative crew volunteers help the farm by handling office tasks, such as filing,keeping inventory, reordering supplies, screening and routing phone calls, maintaining polite and professional communication via phone and email, greeting and assisting clients/visitors and some data entry.
Experience/Requirements:    Must be reliable and a team player. Previous experience working in a professional office setting is a plus.  Training can be available  provided there is a willingness to learn.
Commitment expected:   Volunteers need to commit to a minimum of 3 months and be available at least 4 days a month.

Thank you for reviewing the volunteer program offerings at Sprout Creek Farm. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have about our volunteer program.

Kerry Gallagher
Director of Education
Sprout Creek Farm
718-845-485-8438 ext 103
Kerry@Sproutcreekfarm.org