2021 Farm Apprenticeship - Graduates and Undergraduates - Sylvester Manor Educational Farm

LOCATION: Shelter Island, NY (USA)

CLOSING DATE: open until filled


JOB #: 16733

POSTED: December 30, 2020


We are excited to open applications for farm apprentices for the 2021 farm season. Apprentices
will gain experience in vegetable production and livestock care through hands-on learning. We
currently grow 3 acres of mixed vegetables and are fencing an additional 3 acres for 2021. In
2020 we raised 15 pigs on 2 acres of marginal woodlands and hope to expand pig production in
2021. We also have 60 acres of perennial pasture we intend to manage with livestock. We are
expanding livestock operations and are considering adding broilers, laying hens, sheep and
goats to our systems (to be determined). Our vegetables are distributed through a Community
Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and on-site farmstand. The farmstand sells our produce,
pork and other locally produced products. Leftover shares from our CSA in 2020 were donated
to the Shelter Island Food Pantry and Shelter Island School. Starting in 2021, we will be
implementing a sliding-scale CSA membership and providing donated shares for local families
in need.

About Sylvester Manor:
Once a Native American (Manhansett) hunting, fishing and farming ground, Sylvester Manor
has since 1651 been home to eleven generations of its original European settler family. Gifted
to the Shelter Island community in 2014, t he 235 -acre historic site is the most intact
slaveholding plantation remnant north of Virginia. Sylvester Manor sits on Gardiners Creek and
has been transformed to an Enlightenment-era farm, then to a pioneering food industrialist’s
estate and today to a nonprofit organic educational farm and vibrant arts and education center
with programs open to all. The property includes the original Manor House built in 1735, a
timber frame farmstand and a 19th century windmill. For more information, visit
www.sylvestermanor.org .

Our Farming Practices:
Our goal is to grow in a way that replenishes the health of our soil and ecosystems. We do not
use herbicides or fungicides and, when necessary, only OMRI-approved pesticides. We
implement mechanical means of pest control (row cover, crop rotations) and use organic
pesticides as a last resort. We use cover crops to add organic matter, suppress weeds, prevent
erosion and improve soil structure. In 2020 we implemented a compost program and will be
piloting food scrap collection from staff and CSA members in 2021 to divert waste and produce
more compost. We are working towards reduced tillage and plan to expand into no-till vegetable
production in 2021.

Our animals are raised without the use of hormones, steroids, and preventative antibiotics. If an
animal is sick we will treat them as needed. We’re working towards feeding only certified organic
feed to our pigs and chickens, but this has been a challenge since we are located on an island
and feed is very expensive. Ruminant animals will be 100% grass-fed and all animals will be
raised on pasture or woodlands.

We are not certified organic but have taken the NOFA-NY Farmers Pledge in year’s past.

Apprenticeships run from at least March (potentially earlier, depending on experience and
availability) thru November. A full-season commitment is required.

Responsibilities include:
● Greenhouse seeding & monitoring
● Bed/field preparation
● Field seeding/transplanting
● Installing and running irrigation
● Weeding and cultivation
● Harvesting produce
● Washing and packing produce
● End-of-season breakdown and field clean up
● Help ensure a clean, safe working environment by cleaning up and maintaining
● Livestock chores (watering, feeding, moving animals, electric fence maintenance, egg
collection & processing)
● Pasture management
● Processing broiler chickens
● Helping with CSA distribution and farmstand
● Compost production
● Weekend rotation responsibilities
● Participation in data collection of labor statistics for profitability analysis purposes.
Farm employees are invited to participate in this analysis if interested.
● Optional participation in group discussions centered around racial equity and social
justice in agriculture such as the National Young Farmer’s Coalition Racial Equity
● Optional participation in CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer
Training); bi-weekly/monthly farm tours, meet-ups, and potlucks, to meet other
farmers and apprentices from the agricultural community
● Helping with various other activities of the non-profit, including education and
fundraising events

What We Offer:
● $14/hour
● Housing: Farm employees are housed in a private residence across the street from the
Windmill Field. Each individual will have their own bedroom, bathroom and access to
shared living space, shared laundry facilities and a communal kitchen.
● Weekly food stipend: Communal meals among residents have worked best in the past
with a weekly rotation of lunch/dinner responsibilities for the group. Cooking and
cleaning responsibilities are shared. A comfort level with communal living is essential.
● 5 days paid time off
● A stipend for professional development. In year’s past this included admission to a
farming conference/workshop of apprentices’ choice. This could be an online course as


This is an entry-level position and while previous experience is valued, it is not required.
Preference will be given to candidates with at least 1 season of farming experience. We
encourage applicants of all backgrounds with diverse experiences to apply if they feel they can
meet the job requirements.

● A positive attitude, collaborative and respectful nature and willingness to work and live
well with a diverse group of people
● Time management skills and awareness of efficiency
● Strong verbal and written communication skills - use of Google Sheets and Docs is
● Work well independently; weekend responsibilities are shared and some independent
work is required
● Ability to take direction: most of the learning is hands-on and at times self-directed
● Reliability and commitment: every farm employee is essential to the success of the farm
● Demonstrated interest and passion for food, farming and ecology
● This job is very physical. Employees are expected to fulfill the following physical tasks:
bending, kneeling, sitting, carrying, walking, squatting, standing, sometimes up to 8
hours at a time. Employees are required to lift up to 50 lbs.
● We work outdoors in all weather conditions including: cold, wet, windy, rainy, hot, humid,
dry and sunny
● Apprentices will be trained on the safe use of mechanized farm equipment and are
expected to follow safety protocols at all times.
● The farm is expanding and the way we do things may evolve throughout the season as
we adapt and improve. For this reason we seek individuals who are highly adaptable,
open-minded and excited by evolving systems and the farm expansion.
● Willingness to interact with CSA members, Farmstand customers, potential donors and
the public
● We are a multi-faceted organization with public walking trails, farm-based educational
initiatives, history and heritage programming, fundraising events, and other community
events. Farm employees are encouraged to participate and there may be some
occasions where extra hands are needed.
● Current driver’s license
● English fluency

Our work schedule is currently Tuesday-Saturday, about 45 hours/week in the beginning of the
season, gradually increasing to about 50 hours/week depending on the needs of the farm.
Additional weekend duties rotate among all full-season crew. Due to the nature of our work, we
do work most major holidays, including but not limited to, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Fourth of
July, and Labor Day.

COVID-19 Policies & Procedures:
We are considered essential workers and will continue to work throughout the COVID-19
pandemic. We provide face masks, hand sanitizer and there is a hand-washing station at the
farm. Disinfectant and hand sanitizer will be provided in employee housing. Employees are
required to wear masks and follow social distancing protocols at work and are encouraged to do
so outside of work. Though we do not place formal restrictions on our employee’s lives outside
of work, we do request that everyone is considerate of their fellow employees and housemates
out of safety and respect. We ask that employees refrain from hosting overnight guests in staff
housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If any employee does not feel well, shows 2 or more symptoms, or is suspected of having
COVID-19, they will be required to stay home and we will work with the local health department
to determine an appropriate plan of action. If an employee comes into contact with a confirmed
positive COVID-19 case, they will be required to stay home, quarantine and get tested,
according to the guidance provided by the SufHow to Apply:

All interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter to Cristina Cosentino, Director
of Farm Operations, at ccosentino@sylvestermanor.org .

We encourage BIPOC, LGBTQ+ candidates, and people from all backgrounds and/or other
underrepresented groups to apply.

More Information »