Crawford Road • Paonia, C

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12506 Crawford Road Paonia, Co. 81428


The Living Farm, LLC

Small Farms Program 2013


Our Small Farms programs are exciting, total immersion programs designed to involve students in as many of our animal, vegetable, farm production and marketing activities as possible. Our Short Stay Program is for anyone who wants to experience farm life without having to commit an entire summer. Our Summer Seasonal Program is for anyone who wants to experience an organic sustainable farm but is not interested in having a farm of their own. Our three year Professional Small Farms Program is designed to take a student from novice to farming proficient in small farm skills. Once you have completed the Professional Small Farms Program, you may apply for the mentorship program that follows the Professional Small Farms Program which will help you to get started on your own farm.

A. Professional Small Farms Program

We offer a year-round program for those who are serious about running their own farm. This program starts any time of the year providing that we have a vacancy in the program. There are three yearly terms in the program and you must reapply every year.


We pay a weekly stipend of $80 per week. You will be expected to work 5 days per week totaling 40+ hours per week and will have homework as well. We provide food grown on the farm, internet and housing. Part of the training will be hands on and part of your training will be book work. Our goal is to have you ready to start your own business in 3 years if you want to do so.

B. Summer Seasonal Program

This program is for people who want to experience an organic sustainable farm but are not interested in having their own farm some day. This program starts April 1 and ends in October 31. We can be flexible on start and end dates. We will have 5 openings this year.


We pay a weekly stipend of $80 per week. You will be expected to work 5 days per week totaling 40+ hours per week. We provide food grown on the farm, internet and housing.

C. Short Stay Program

For those of you who want a farm experience, we have Short Stay Program which lasts approximately 8 weeks.


We pay a weekly stipend of $80 per week. You will be expected to work 5 days per week totaling 40+ hours per week. We provide food grown on the farm, internet and housing.

Trial period

Everyone will go through a two week trial period after you arrive. If you are applying for the Professional Small Farms program we recommend that you come for a visit prior to starting. We are opening more than our workplace to you; we are opening our home to you as well. Part of our responsibility to ourselves, our students, our customers, and our farm is to create a respectful, cooperative, and productive environment. If you are accepted for any program we expect you to stay to the end of the term.


  • We have a mobile home with 5 bedrooms, ½ mile away from the greenhouses. There is a possibility of having a roommate.

  • You are responsible for your own health insurance, long distance transportation, and

telephone costs.

The house does have a dog. For those allergic to dogs this will not be a good situation.


Everyone is expected to help out with the maintenance of the farm including the house and yard. Everyone will have scheduled chores related to maintaining the grounds and living quarters.


Our valley has the highest concentration of organic farmers in Colorado. We have a student/ intern program that is sponsored by The Valley Organic Growers Association. There is a monthly get together for all students and interns in the valley. You will gather on one of the farms to learn from the farmer about his/her operation and to get to know the other students and interns in the area. This has been a great success and all of the students have really loved this in the last few years.

Professional Small Farm Program

This is a three year program that has been developed to teach a person how to become a professional small farmer. You will learn how to run a successful small farm sustainably and profitably. It will give you a place to spread your wings within the confines of support and guidance. At the end of the third year you will qualify to have us mentor you in your new farming endeavor. We will help you to find land if you don’t have any to start with.

Year 1 the basics

Food production

(vegetable, year round)

Animals ( sheep, chickens turkeys and more)

Business skills

Extra things to learn after work


Sheep: feeding, health, birth, milking, milk handling, observation, shearing, wool handling

How to live the farm life.

The small farms quandary and how to win.

Wool crafts: spinning, knitting, weaving, rug hooking, felting

Picking/ processing

Pigs: raising, housing, feeding, health

Basic business models

Food preservation: canning, dehydrating, freezing


Laying hens: raising, health, feeding, egg collection and handling

Parts of the farm business

Dairy products: cheese making, yogurt, ice-cream


Meat birds: raising, moving, feeding, health

Types of income

Gluten free cooking

Seasonal differences

Turkeys: raising, housing, feeding, health, breeding


Extensive reading material

Seed saving

Sales: retail, wholesale, Farm’s Market, CSA

Local farm tours

Edible landscaping

Basics of Bio dynamic farming

Year 2 The aha year

Food production

(vegetable, year round)

Animals ( sheep, chickens, turkeys and more)

Business skills

Extra you can learn after work

Planting systems

Sheep: all above plus, deliver babies, genetics study

In depth study of customers

Sprouts and micro mixes

Soil makeup

Compost and fertilizers

Tractor driving and running of equipment

Yearly crop planning

Farm irrigation

Plant language

Marketing program

Willow furniture making

Plant varieties


Crop rotation, insect control

Year 3 Bring it all together

Food production

(vegetable, year round)

Animals ( sheep, chickens, turkeys and more)

Business skills

Extra you can learn after work

Value added food production

Chicken breeding program, incubating eggs

Create your first products

Mushroom production

Flower and bedding plant production

Create feed rations for all animals

Write a business plan

Tree and shrub propagation


Fodder production

Farm accounting

Year 4 and beyond

Mentoring to help you start your own successful farm

Help with selection of stock for your farm.

Help you to create a successful business plan and start it.

We want you to have a good time!

When you come to work here, you come for a farm experience. You give much of yourself – maybe more than you ever thought possible. We want you to have an adventure here of land, weather, plants animals and learning.

Farm Rules

At The Living Farm, LLC. we strive to make the working and living environment harmonious. Therefore we have developed some rules which help us to pay more attention to our goals: farming well, learning, appreciating each other, and enjoying the beauty of this place. Please study these rules and guidelines. Abiding by them is a requirement for being here. Please note the distinction between "rules" and "guidelines" is simply that the former tend to be more easily enforced than the latter. By no means does this indicate that following the guidelines is any less important than following the rules. We consider all the behaviors described here as essential to the smooth functioning of our farm.

Farm Rules

  • No recreational drugs on the


(One violation of this rule is grounds

for instant dismissal.)

  • Violent or aggressive actions

(physical or verbal) to others are

not allowed.

  • No smoking anywhere or anytime. Violators will be asked to leave.

  • No pets.

  • Be to work on time.

  • Quiet time in the farm house is from 10 pm- 6 am. Music, TV, and

conversation can continue at a

reasonable volume in places out of

earshot of sleepers.

  • Clean shared living spaces.

Specific weekly and daily clean-up

tasks will be required for the

common house.

Farm Guidelines

  • Alcohol consumption is

discouraged, but allowed - in

moderation, but never during

work hours.

  • Get enough rest. The work is

demanding and should be executed

efficiently and in a state of clarity.

  • Music selection and volume

should be agreed on in the

communal spaces.

The Living Farm

Student Application 2013

Please fill out application and email to or mail to

The Living Farm Lynn Gillespie 12506 Crawford Rd. Paonia, Co 81428


Before you start filling out the application, consider

What do you want to get out of this program?

Can you really get it here?

You usually get only as much as you give.

What do you want to give to this program?

Are you really able to give it?


Can you visit the farm for a 2 day to 1 week trial? We understand this will not be practical if you are an

European student.

There is no particular deadline for submission of your application. The best time to apply, however, is

late winter when we are making plans for the next season. First application in will get preference.

How to Apply

Send a completed program application along with a resume pertinent to the position you are applying for, and three work-related references to the address or email address listed above. Please send us a picture of yourself. Contact us by phone (970-527-3305) or email ( ) with questions.

Real Farm Experience: Your farm experience will emulate a real life farm owner experience. There are a many days where we work many hours. Other days we work few hours (mostly in the winter). Everything is seasonal and runs on cycles. You will be asked to put forth an extreme amount of effort some days. As a team we will ask you to pull your own weight. If you refuse to do something then another team mate must take up your slack. This behavior will not be tolerated. We are all in this together. You want a real farm experience, here it is.
Equipment: The farm has a very tight budget. All the equipment on the farm is valuable and needs to be taken care of extremely well. It is very hard to come up with the money to replace stuff. You are working with a 50 year accumulation of equipment; it would take us another 50 years to replace it all. Don’t destroy this farm by being careless of the equipment or housing.
Respect: I can teach you how to do all the work required to successfully run a farm. What I ask in return is respect. The best way to show respect is to show up on time. This in my mind means showing up at least 5 minutes early and being ready to work on time. Those that show respect for this operation and my family will get preferential treatment when new opportunity arises. Those that are late and cause disruption in other people’s schedule will be asked to leave.
This is a school not a job: This is a tuition free learning facility not a job. A stipend is given to help you with your daily needs beyond what the farm provides, not provide you a living. If you are in need financial support than you will need to get a job elsewhere.

The Living Farm

Small Farms Program Application

Part 1: Personal Information

Today's Date _____________________________________________

Name ___________________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________

City _________________________ State _______ Zip____________

Day phone ________________ Eve phone ______________________

E-mail Address ____________________________________________

Date of Birth ____________________________

Emergency contacts ________________________________________

What level are you applying for?

□Summer seasonal then move up to Professional Small Farms Program

□ Summer Seasonal

□ Short Stay

Part 2: General statement of interest

Please provide a statement of interest in about 500 words indicating what you would like to get from this program.

Part 3 Interview:

  1. What skills/qualities/knowledge would you like to acquire or develop through being at The Living Farm?

  1. How do you see your prior work and life experience contributing to your work at The Living Farm?

  1. Some of the work you may do entails continuous and sometimes strenuous physical activity. Do you have any experience with work of this nature?

  1. What skills or passions do you have that you would like to share with other students and staff at The Living Farm?

  1. You will be in an environment where you will have the opportunity to look at and take responsibility for your own behavior patterns. How committed are you to utilize this opportunity?

  1. Our programs require high levels of self-discipline and initiative. Describe a recent experience where you demonstrated these qualities.

  1. What are your long term goals?

  1. Do you have any health problems, allergies, special needs or addictions?

  1. Are you on any medications?

  1. Have you been convicted? If yes, what for?

  1. Can you lift 50 pounds?

  1. Are you a vegetarian, vegan or omnivore?

  1. How do you see your role in creating a sustainable world culture?

  1. Our programs require some work on weekends as part of weekly work hours. Are you open to working on weekends? Our weeks can be really long can you work a 50+ hour week? We work until the day is done, there is no 9-5 schedule. Are you willing to put in the effort for the whole day sometimes night too?

  2. Do you like animals? What types? What experience have you had with animals?

14. Is there anything else that you think we should know, or that you would like us to know about you?

15. Will you come with a car?

16. Do you intend to farm for a living?

17. When would you want to start? Can you be here year round?

PART IV: contract

  1. All information furnished by me is complete and correct

  2. You will need to provide a copy of your driver’s license or other photo ID upon arrival.

(c) The Living Farm will not be held responsible for any mishap, damage, loss or

injury to me or my belongings while on the farm. I have my own health insurance.
(d) I understand that the Director of The Living Farm has right to cancel my

stay on the farm at any time for any reason.

Tom and Lynn Gillespie • 12506 Crawford Rd. • Paonia, Co. 81428 • •970-527-3305
Signature: Date:

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