Job Openings

2014 Garden Manager Position at Aprovecho

Job Summary download job description

Aprovecho is seeking a garden manager for its 1.5 acre educational and market garden. This seasonally contracted and salaried position begins on February 15th, 2014 and ends on December 15th, 2014. Housing and utilities are provided on-site (see Benefits below for details). The garden manager will be responsible for maintaining a productive garden that serves both Aprovecho’s residential learning community through food and education and the extended Cottage Grove community through a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. In addition, the garden manager will work with other Aprovecho staff to coordinate an 8 month internship in Agroecology and Permaculture. This program will utilize the garden and CSA as part of its curriculum in resilient community food systems.

Aprovecho’s governing body, called the steering committee, operates by consensus and is composed of staff members responsible for various aspects of the overall programming. This position is a steering committee-tracked position pending a two-year observation period.

The Permaculture program coordinator will work directly with the garden manager to oversee the success of garden related programming. This person will be the liaison between the garden manager and the rest of the steering committee.
This job position assumes the gardener will sell 10 shares out of Aprovecho’s garden as part of the salaried position. The garden manager will have the opportunity to retain net profit after expense from the sale of any additional shares and may utilize land on or off site to do so.

Please see Aprovecho’s web site to get a better understanding of our organization.

Garden Manager Duties

Work with Aprovecho’s Permaculture program coordinator to facilitate the Agroecology and Permaculture Internship from March 15th to November 15th.

Lead students in the planning, planting, upkeep and harvest of Aprovecho’s vegetable gardens.

  • Build and maintain a 10+ member CSA in collaboration with a team of interns.
  • Teach occasional weekend workshops and give short lectures in sustainable agriculture.
  • Coordinate with other local farmers to offer a diversified experience to interns through off-site work days.

Manage half of Aprovecho’s garden as an educational market garden for sales of vegetables in the broader community.

  • Organize and coordinate the CSA program.
  • Involve interns in all aspects of management in order to enable true experiential learning.
  • Coordinate with other local farmers through a cooperative of producers.
  • Facilitate relationships between CSA members and Aprovecho. This may include potlucks, tour/volunteer days, newsletters, etc.

Manage half of Aprovecho’s garden to supply produce for Aprovecho’s residential community and educational programming.

  • The part of the garden closest to the kitchen will be managed for ease of harvest for Aprovecho’s programs by students and hired cooks.
  • Manage crop rotations in order to supply Aprovecho programs and residents with a bountiful supply of produce year-round.
  • Maintain a map of available produce in order to streamline harvests.

Maintain the demonstration capacity of the garden by managing it for aesthetic beauty, whole systems functionality, and productivity.

  • Manage the chicken and duck flock for both its egg and meat supply and its fertility and pest control values.
  • Utilize the aquaponics system as a source of garden fertility (fish guts and poop).
  • Build seven yards of compost each season.
  • Cover crop or sheet mulch fallow beds over winter.
  • Keep all paths and beds clear of non-edible plants.
  • Maintain garden infrastructure including fencing, irrigation, greenhouses, tools, and garden shed.
  • Use no synthetic inputs and seek to maintain closed loops as much as possible in garden nutrient cycling.
  • Schedule and coordinate volunteers to assist with garden maintenance throughout the year.

Work with Aprovecho staff to carry out the duties associated with the garden manager position.

  • Communicate regularly with the Kitchen Manager regarding garden planning, harvesting techniques, and crop availability.
  • Meet regularly with the Permaculture program coordinator to plan and exchange feedback on program and land related issues.
  • Attend all other necessary staff meetings throughout the year.

Applicants must have:

  • At least three full seasons experience farming or gardening.
  • At least one year of experience managing a market farm.
  • Experience and comfort working with adults in an educational / instructional environment.
  • Adequate physical strength and endurance to lift, dig, fork, carry, and perform other demanding tasks related to farming.
  • The ability to organize and lead group projects in the garden. This will include working both with adults, teens, and children.
  • The ability to lead public and private tours in which you can clearly and present Aprovecho’s garden management techniques, ethics, and purpose.
  • A commitment to open and honest communication with Aprovecho staff, students, and supervisors.
  • Three job related references, and three personal references.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Interest in agricultural experimentation and evaluation.
  • Experience living communally (co-housing, etc.).
  • An understanding in the use of non-violent communication.
  • Familiarity with or certificate in Permaculture.
  • Experience with a farm internship or other educational program.
  • Degree or certification in an agricultural field.
  • Experience with animal husbandry.

Aprovecho resources available to the Garden Manager

  • Approx 1 acre of 25 year-old garden beds on a sunny south facing hillside.
  • A 20’ x 48’ un-heated greenhouse.
  • 30 gpm of pressurized well water for irrigation.
  • Access to a 300 gallon natural spring for low pressure irrigation
  • A garden shed with potting bench, tool storage, and shade.
  • A plethora of shovels, digging forks, pruners, rakes, trowels, hoes, etc.
  • Professional gas powered line-trimmer / weed-wacker.
  • 6 – 8 Wheelbarrows.
  • Shared use of Aprovecho’s ¼-ton pickup truck.
  • A budget for garden related expenses.
  • An additional budget for livestock expenses.
  • Access to Aprovecho’s seed collection and yearly donations of seed.
  • Use of Aprovecho’s non-profit status for the purpose of soliciting tax-exempt donations of seeds & materials.
  • Monthly use of aquaculture effluent as liquid fertilizer.
  • Access to meetings with former Aprovecho Garden Managers who can help you in your planning to understand which crops and techniques have historically done well and which haven’t.
  • Opportunities for stewardship of other livestock, such as sheep, goats, turkeys, etc. by proposal to the Steering Committee.
  • Opportunities to teach courses in our programs for additional compensation.

Benefits and Compensation

  • A total compensation package of $14,040.00 divided over 10 monthly payments of $1,404.00 (from which your housing and food/utility payments can be deducted see below).
  • Access to all buildings and facilities at Aprovecho including our wood/metal shop; Community Meeting Hall classrooms, library and lounge; Strawbale dormitory lounge; bathrooms and showers;
  • A 680 square foot, two-story house on campus. The house includes a kitchen, dining room / living room, solar-electric hot water, outdoor shower, porch, bedroom, and composting toilet. This house (as well as access to all of the other facilities mentioned above) is provided to you at a cost of $550 / month (entire household, regardless of how many occupants) deducted from your monthly pay check.
  • Subsidized food and utilities at a fixed cost to you of $143 / month per adult. This includes hot water, electricity, propane, firewood, high-speed internet / wi-fi, shared telephone line, kitchen supplies (sponges, dish soap, etc.) and access to the collectively bought stores of food (includes a huge selection of organic oils, vinegars, grains, preserves, raisins, etc.)
  • The garden manager will have the opportunity to teach in classes throughout the year. The hourly wage for teachers is $20 / hr.
  • In summary, you will receive a gross monthly check for $1,404. Your rent, $550, and your food/utility payment, $143 will be deducted leaving you a gross total (before taxes) of $711 per month. Any additional vegetable sales and teaching payments will add additional income.

How you will be evaluated

  • Applicants will be evaluated based on relevant experience, enthusiasm for the duties outlined in this position, and their references.
  • Specifically, applicants with strong references and experience related to communication skills, volunteer/worker management skills, and ecological farming will be given preferred status in the application process.
  • We will arrange a phone interview with you if your application meets our requirements. If you move on to the next phase of the application process, you will be asked to come to Aprovecho for a working interview.
  • We intend to fill this position by January 15th 2014 and will conduct interviews throughout the winter.

How to Apply

Please answer the following questions and submit them in writing or via email (preferred) to Abel Kloster at or mail them to Aprovecho, 80574 Hazelton Rd. Cottage Grove, OR 97424. We will get back to you within a week after receiving your information. If you will be bringing a partner / significant other, please include some additional information about them, including name, age, and experience/interests.




Phone #:

Please tell us a little about yourself and why you became a gardener / farmer:

How long have you been working as a gardener / farmer, where did you initially acquire your skills, and where and what types of work have you been doing since then?

What experience do you have as a manager / group leader?

Do you have any experience as an instructor or teacher?

How well developed are your communication skills (both inter-personal / social and work / management related)? Please give examples.

How does your experience make you a good candidate to fulfill the duties and expectations outlined above?

Any other pertinent info you would like to provide?

Where did you hear about Aprovecho and/or this Job posting?

Please list three job related references including place or work, contact name, and contact email and/or phone number:

Please list three personal references including contact name and contact email and/or phone number:

If you have any photographs of your work, feel free to submit them with your application.

Any questions, please contact Abel Kloster

Thank you for your interest!