- SAGE Project
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- Stepping Stone Farm
Want to be a Market Gardener? Stepping Stone Farm offers practical, hands on internships where you will learn by doing next to Master Gardeners and other committed, aspiring, commercial growers.
Stepping Stone is a working market garden in a delightful, fertile valley, 8kms from the centre of Moruya, NSW.
It has been set up with all the infrastructure, tooling, vehicles and machinery needed for a viable market gardening business based on organic and regenerative farming practices.
Joyce Wilkie (Allsun Farm) is currently full time mentor/manager with many years experience growing vegetables and teaching aspiring farmers. Currently there is just over 0.5 Ha (just under 1.5 acres) under cultivation and the plan is to gradually increase this to 2 Ha over the next few years. Interns will be given the skill set, knowledge and experience needed to both develop a business plan and then implement it. We want to give new farmers a better chance of securing capital and land access, and a better chance to realise their farm business aspirations.
Internships are now available for the 2022-23 growing season.
Working and learning at Stepping Stone Farm you will be part of a tight knit crew working on all aspects of running a profitable market garden.
Ideally an internship involves a 9-12 month commitment 5 days a week. We realise however that not everyone can afford to do this and we are happy to find workable, more flexible options for suitable applicants.
We supply breakfast and a cooked lunch weekdays and have a few cheap/free accommodation options available (Stepping Stone has a rudimentary kitchen and toilets but no accommodation)
Skills will mainly be learnt in the field but there are also scheduled, more formal learning sessions. All work is seasonal so in summer at peak production most of the work is practical. Winter is the time for in depth work on planning and business training.
All interns will be provided with our list of learning outcomes and our goal is to make sure that you achieve competency in enough of them, with our continued mentorship, to be able to start your own sustainable market farming business.
Stepping Stone Farm has to be profitable but it also has to be diverse enough to meet the needs of prospective interns. To be a successful organic farmer the underlying principle is "feed the soil" after that there are an unlimited number of choices governed by land availability, soil type, water, climate, personality, market , etc... Our limitations are 5Ha on borrowed ground without animals. After that we offer as many possibilities as we can including the possibility of offering committed interns a bed or two of their own on which they can experiment with crops and techniques that fit their individual needs. Here is a summary of the learning outcomes we offer:
Still think this is for you?
"I’ve landed in a community of like-minded individuals who love growing quality produce in a sustainable way. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new. My favourite activities on the farm so far have been growing our own seedlings, experimenting with microgreens, and harvesting, washing, and packing our produce for the weekly SAGE markets and our growing customer base. I’ve also been taken out of my comfort zone and learned how to operate farm machinery and use a range of tools and implements, with expert guidance and encouragement.
The farm’s most significant impact on me has been raising my awareness about the phenomenal taste of produce grown in soil organically and how this is affecting growing numbers of consumers in such a positive and healthy way.
I’ve never eaten so well in all my life, despite being a keen cook and home gardener. Another significant impact on me during this internship has been the opportunity to connect with a diverse range of committed locals, who are determined to develop SSF into a model educational farm. I feel like I’m at the forefront of a modern, community-based small farm movement."
"Stepping Stone Farm’s first year has been an exhaustively full spectrum of the mouth-watering highs and water-logged lows of market gardening.
With any vestiges of idealism ripped to shreds, and even through the turbulence of a season of fire recovery, floods, pandemic and heart failure, I can say with honesty that my faith, knowledge and practice in local food systems has only grown throughout my internship, and that I have Joyce, Shani and the Stepping Stone team to thank for their roles in that."