- Learn how to manage an organic orchard and run a small farming business.
- Learn about community supported agriculture and co-operatives.
- Accommodation and food supplied, plus a small stipend.
- Ideal opportunity for couples (single people should still apply).
- LGBTQI+ people encouraged to apply.
- Some agricultural experience highly recommended. This opportunity is ideal for people who are keen to start a farming enterprise.
- Potential to join the co-op with a new business proposal or by taking on ownership of the orchard business.
- Applications close late Aug.
- Mon 19thOct – Sun 2ndMay (28 Weeks)
Work may include anything related to operating an orchard eg. tree care and maintenance, managing for pests and disease, soil and water management, animal management (poultry), harvesting, grading, packing, value-adding(preserving), delivering and selling. The position is 5-6 days a week including some weekends. This schedule continues over the holiday period and may include some work on Christmas and/or New Years Day. Early starts or late finishes are a common occurrence. Saturdays begin at 4am and finish after deliveries and farmers markets at 2pm.
Volunteers may be offered the opportunity to take on ownership of Tellurian Fruit Gardens after the residency (in July 2021). Alternatively, they may make their own business proposal to join the co-op.
I will endeavour to give you experience in every aspect of running the orchard from picking fruit to managing online orders. I would love to have a more structured ‘lesson’ once a month or so but this may take a more informal style due to being time poor – harvest season is a lot of work so it’s definitely a ‘learn by doing’ environment. I am open to volunteers taking on specific rolls or projects that they are interested in.
Your learning will only be limited by how many questions you ask. You will also have access to my mentors and the previous owners of the business, Katie and Hugh, who have 20 years’ experience. You will also be given access to the Grow Great Fruit program – an extensive online educational resource.
In addition to learning the ins and outs of operating an organic orchard, there is potential to learn about soil biology and chemistry, food sovereignty, CSA, farming co-operatives, small business finance and communications.
Who we are looking for:
‘Future farmers’. Hardworking people who know that ‘knock-off’ is when the job is done. Quick learners. Those with a passion for regenerative food and agriculture systems and aspirations to becoming a farmer. People who are interested in food sovereignty and alternative models of food distribution (e.g. Community Supported Agriculture), who work well in groups but also unsupervised, and who like to ask questions. LGBTQI+ people should apply.
Who we are:
Tellurian Fruit Gardens (TFG) is a member of the Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op (HOFC) which is located on the mid-slopes of Leanganook (Mount Alexander) in Harcourt, Vic. HOFC is a group of farmers working together to regenerate our farm, feed our community, grow our potential and radically change the food system. In addition to the orchard, the co-op also hosts a market garden, micro-dairy and tree nursery.
TFG is a 4Ha orchard of mostly stone fruit, and some apples and pears. We sell our produce mostly through CSA and farmers markets but also though our farm shop, pick-your-own, online orders and wholesale.
I am Ant, the farmer/owner of Tellurian Fruit Gardens. I manage the farm and run the business with the help of a few casual employees and helpful volunteers (CSA members/wwoofers). I am passionate about food sovereignty and creating resilient and sustainable food and ag systems. I like to experiment with fermenting and preserving food. I would happily include volunteer residents in any social activities (e.g. potlucks, gigs/dances) or leave them to their own space.
Accomodation and meals:
Basic but comfortable caravan accommodation will be provided. The caravan has 2 single beds, cold running water, electricity, gas and wi-fi access. There is a communal composting toilet, hot shower, laundry and basic kitchen within 50m.
Breakfast will be separate (food provided) but lunch and dinner will be shared. You will be expected to participate in a cooking roster (you don’t need to be a master chef). Weekend meals can be shared or separate. All animal products and veggies are sourced locally if not direct from farmers I know.
Volunteers can harvest veggies/herbs from the garden and also grow whatever they like.
How to apply:
To apply, please fill out the form here. Once applications close (end Aug), we will organise a brief phone interview and then a visit to the farm to work for a day/few days. If accepted, there will be a two week probation period at the start of the residency.