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Seven Axioms Farmers Use to Justify Crappy Compensation for their Apprentices

Gray Simpson


Joined: Jan 12, 2012
Posts: 67
Location: McDonough, GA
http://theruminant.ca/2012/02/05/seven-axioms-farmers-use-to-justify-crappy-compensation-for-their-apprentices/

This is a great article. I saw it on Metafilter (the link below)

http://www.metafilter.com/112699/on-compensation-for-small-farm-apprentices
Massimo citarella


Joined: May 22, 2012
Posts: 5
I have read the article and after "volunteering" I must totally agree. Farmers simply tend to 1) treat volunteers as workers, 2) ask for too many hours 3) don't give any what so ever "ducation". This result in a total drop of motivation and make volunteers regret their choice and effort.
It would simply be fair to do not ask for more then 4 hours per day, make a good rotation between volunteers, better schedule operation, make classes or so. And stop thining "you are giving so much" ... and definetly give a 50er at the end of the week!!!
Hanley Kale-Grinder


Joined: Sep 30, 2011
Posts: 112
Location: Mountain West of USA, Salt Lake City
    
    1
Thanks for sharing, really great article
Bella Donawitz


Joined: May 18, 2012
Posts: 15
Great article!
As an Ex-wwofer nothing pissed me off more then arriving at a farm to learn and I am then relegated to pulling weeds for 40/hrs. This is assembly line working with no pay. Best left to goats or bunnies.
Now I'm in the planning stages of my homestead and fully agree that if my plan depends on 'free/illegal' labour I am not fallowing the principles of sustainability. I have worked at farms that came dangerously close to being southern plantation style. wwofers are not farm equipment.


Before being defeated by building codes I wanted to offer a long term apprentice the opportunity to 'buy land' from me through sweat equity.

Now I have my eye on 4 acres in the Canadian rockies and want to keep the land for my self but want to offer perhaps a 'rent' to own yurt.
I feel like if I apply what I learned while teaching I may keep interns. Montissorie school applies a similar concepts.
I would like to start by feeding them.You can't work/learn on an empty stomach. Then sit in a class setting and teach about, lets say chickens. We then plan out what we are going to do in a 4 hr chunk. get interns to work along side me for 4 hour chunks. 5 days a week. The rest of the time is theirs.

I plan to work MANY more hours then the wwofers because its my dream/land and its their job. 'making' interns work long farmer hours 'so they know' how hard it is smacks of bitterness. I imagine a parent crushing a childs toy to instill the need for 'serious' work. If this is the life style they choose the'll work hard or starve. simple.

Somehow I would like to offer them a way to make more money. I would encourage them to start a garden to grow things like culinary herbs or other farm stand staples. They would then get 100% of what ever they sell.
anything above and beyond the 20hrs they could buy 'shares' in lets say my flock of chickens. So when we sell eggs the person gets a cut.

empowerment + education + respect +good food+ comfortable housing= happy interns
any thoughts?
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6459
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
empowerment + education + respect +good food+ comfortable housing= happy interns
any thoughts?


Yes. If you have a nice collection of gardening/husbandry/homesteading books, set up a library where they can comfortably read/study the books during their ample off-the-clock time.

Amedean Messan
pollinator

Joined: Nov 11, 2010
Posts: 768
Location: Burlington, NC - Woodland, Clay - Zone 7
    
  24
Gray, I made a similar thread regarding the same subject a few months ago.

http://www.permies.com/t/13967/frugality/Farm-internship-or-looking-free

Your link of axioms can be seen in some of the arguments, especially number 7.


Those who hammer their swords into plows will plow for those who don't!
Massimo citarella


Joined: May 22, 2012
Posts: 5
John Polk wrote:
empowerment + education + respect +good food+ comfortable housing= happy interns
any thoughts?


Yes. If you have a nice collection of gardening/husbandry/homesteading books, set up a library where they can comfortably read/study the books during their ample off-the-clock time.


... Sorry but I dont' agree... a book shel is not enough... I can read from my home. Trust me sharp minds don't need your books. Good effort but be creative, invent "brain candies". Montessori school is great. Sorry It is probably for my back ground in education, when I whant to teach something to my classes I spend a huge amount of hours on the subject, articles, internet, youtube, books, everything ... until I produce something is not already on the market. And it works because in that "new thing" there is my true passion... I am finally able to offere me, my true self, not simply a land where to sweat and books to read. I hope I can give you the idea of what I mean. Yes It is demanding specially if you are not used to this style, but Yes it is a "capitalizable" effort. When I have done it and the "lesson" is completed in a nice pack it will be something that you have primarily give to yourself. And you can deliver it as a big candy to all your guests in years. In other terms you do it once good and it will pay you back for long time.
May I suggest the "research learn" methods at the beginning if you don't really know what to do.
es. : Suggest to your team that you want to plant, lets say potatoes, pretend you know nothing about it, ask them to help you with research. work with them put the effort together. Use internet and capitalize it in a final video or so.
this will make their stay super exciting. they will come home super empowered, with a terrific memory of their experience and a video on youtube to watch and show to their friends.
Good luck.
Kilo
Bella Donawitz


Joined: May 18, 2012
Posts: 15
I'm not sure your read my whole post.
I in no way think leaving a bookshelf around and expecting interns to build a perfect structor. Nothing replaces a formal lesson.
I've heard it said many times on here. That people do not value a 'lesson' unless it is a sit down-y formal way.

This is what I said:

"Then sit in a class setting and teach about, lets say chickens. We then plan out what we are going to do in a 4 hr chunk. get interns to work along side me for 4 hour chunks. 5 days a week. The rest of the time is theirs."

If you tell them about chickens, show them your plan for the day , then start doing it with them. They should be able to continue to do so. It is creating a frame work that can be fallowed in steps. If you have asked them questions and you feel they truly understand, there can also be accountability. Also so when you come back and nothing is done "I didn't know what to do man." Isn't an acceptable answer. I don't expect people to know what I haven't taught them. However I am not intrested in teaching the samething over and over. I will cull the heard lazy people are bad for group moral and should go.

As an interesting side note. Not all apprenticeships are paid, in both the states and Canada journalists and a few others are expected to do an unpaid internship.
Trades are paid a % of what they'll be paid once certified in canada.

If you are living in a Yurt or something on my land and eating food I've cooked there is value to that. Reality is you need to ether barter or pay for food and shelter.
20hr leaves you time to work a normal job if you want and make tones of loot as a bartender/local labour in a nearby town/resort. My land isn't far from a few towns. In fact you can take a city bus.
Its also a selection process of my end.
I've met so many people that think 'money's the root of all evil', but are the first with their hand out to the farmer.
If you want to work more then that I will pay you in one form or another. Real money even.
If you are a good worker
Botem line is by just showing up to work you are not arriving at the table with 50% of a pie to give to me.

Massimo citarella


Joined: May 22, 2012
Posts: 5
bella donna wrote:I'm not sure your read my whole post.
I in no way think leaving a bookshelf around and expecting interns to build a perfect structor. Nothing replaces a formal lesson.
I've heard it said many times on here. That people do not value a 'lesson' unless it is a sit down-y formal way.

This is what I said:

"Then sit in a class setting and teach about, lets say chickens. We then plan out what we are going to do in a 4 hr chunk. get interns to work along side me for 4 hour chunks. 5 days a week. The rest of the time is theirs."

If you tell them about chickens, show them your plan for the day , then start doing it with them. They should be able to continue to do so. It is creating a frame work that can be fallowed in steps. If you have asked them questions and you feel they truly understand, there can also be accountability. Also so when you come back and nothing is done "I didn't know what to do man." Isn't an acceptable answer. I don't expect people to know what I haven't taught them. However I am not intrested in teaching the samething over and over. I will cull the heard lazy people are bad for group moral and should go.

As an interesting side note. Not all apprenticeships are paid, in both the states and Canada journalists and a few others are expected to do an unpaid internship.
Trades are paid a % of what they'll be paid once certified in canada.

If you are living in a Yurt or something on my land and eating food I've cooked there is value to that. Reality is you need to ether barter or pay for food and shelter.
20hr leaves you time to work a normal job if you want and make tones of loot as a bartender/local labour in a nearby town/resort. My land isn't far from a few towns. In fact you can take a city bus.
Its also a selection process of my end.
I've met so many people that think 'money's the root of all evil', but are the first with their hand out to the farmer.
If you want to work more then that I will pay you in one form or another. Real money even.
If you are a good worker
Botem line is by just showing up to work you are not arriving at the table with 50% of a pie to give to me.


Ciao Bella Donna, I like your posts, my answer was to John suggesting the book shelf. I apologize I am not sure I understend everything you write as I am not a native speaker. For what I understand I like very much your effort.
I wish I would have the chance to visit and your farm but I am in Europe at the moment. Best wishes Max
Matu Collins
steward

Joined: Feb 24, 2011
Posts: 1375
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
    
  47
I am offering a workshop in the wwoofer style three times this summer at my small farm in southern Rhode Island. It will be two hours of education on plant identification and permaculture principles and two hours of independant work per day. Just a week.
 
 
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