What do you think is important in a farming residency or internship?
As we plant the seeds for future opportunities at Art Farm Panama, I want to know what you see as important to such a program.
I've been gleaning other programs online, but would love to have a discussion about what makes a kick ass program.
Have you had experiences that were either great or horrible? Care to share? I would love to learn through your experiences.
I appreciate any thoughts you have to share.
I'm not too familiar with that type of program, but a system where costs and profits are shared has worked well for me. I have been sharefarming for the past four years, made good money for myself and the owner. I'd say the key is to have a profitable business plan, where the profits come from farming aka produce. We sign a 1 year contract every year, about 4 months before the current contract expires.
If what you are proposing is what I think it is, then profit is key. Work out how to divide costs, the costs that become permanent like trees, fences, fertiliser? should be worn by the owner, while fuel costs and labour should be worn by the farmer. Livestock could be worn by either party, as could machinery/plant etc. With what I'm doing, I am making about 35% of the profit from the farm, and the owner is making the rest, my return on capital employed is way higher then his, and his return on effort is way higher then mine.
A clear contract is also important where everything is covered, verbal agreements are all good, but having things in writing saves confusion. This is part of good communication. Without good communication, and shared goals things can go poorly.
Location: Chiriqui, Panama at 400 meters Wet Tropics
Thanks for your feedback Andy. Actually, that wasn't what I was thinking at all, so I appreciate getting your ideas that are completely different from my original train of thought. I'd love to know more about sharefarming. Here in Panama, it's typical for a farmer to outright rent their fields, and I haven't seen any evidence of sharefarming, yet. But this is an idea I will keep in mind and share with other likeminded people here. I like the community aspect of it.
To expand a little on what I was thinking, it is more like a traditional artist-in-residence, where a person comes for a specific time to complete a specific project. There are often requirements attached that require the artist to perform certain duties, like give a community workshop, or present their work at the end of the residence. I see this as a way for people to present projects based around permaculture principals to be co-created with us on the farm.
So to refine the question a little, if any of you wanted to execute a project, or study something particular on a tropical farm, (say butterflies, or medicinal plants), what key components or framework would support you best during your residency? What requirements or guidelines would you expect the farm to request? What length of time would you need to complete your work? Would something like this interest you?
I want to leave this broad and open, because, as Andy's comment shows, we all think differently and all thoughts have value. Thanks again for your input. Pura Vida
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