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Lead Farmer

The new year is upon us, and with that comes a fresh outlook for the approaching farming season at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga. We are looking for an experienced, self-motivated vegetable grower with market garden experience to manage our annual food and flower crop production alongside our returning Farm Coordinator.

The Salt Spring Centre of Yoga is one of the oldest yoga retreat centres in British Columbia. Aside from hosting retreats, we also operate an organic farm that provides food for our guests, residents, and members. After four decades of ecologically sound agriculture, we are breathing new life into the Centre’s historic farmland with water-harvesting earthworks and perennial crop systems. Come get your hands dirty with us and help oversee a team of enthusiastic volunteers in tending the land and producing nutrient-dense food for 25+ residents and hundreds of program guests over the course of the year.

If your idea of spirituality means working selflessly to serve the earth and your fellow humans — as well as practising asanas or meditation — then being an integral part of the Salt Spring Centre farm team at this unique little sanctuary could be the right fit for you.

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Responsibilities & Qualifications

Responsibilities

In collaboration with the Farm Coordinator, you’ll be responsible for the daily operations of our 2-acre (and growing) “market garden” with the primary aim of producing fresh, organic, nutrient-dense crops for Centre residents and retreat guests. The position requires a minimum commitment of 28 hours of work per week, plus 4 hours of community duties and work projects. However, the ideal candidate will be someone who loves working and learning in the field, and doesn’t mind giving a little extra when the rhythms of the land require it. There will also be opportunities to visit other organic farms on the island. Farm work is physically demanding and can be strenuous, and we work in the fields rain or shine throughout the season. From your start date in mid-March until October 31, you will be asked to undertake the following duties:
  • Seeding, transplanting, irrigating, weeding and mulching
  • Harvesting and washing produce for kitchen use and our farm stand
  • Enhancing our annual and perennial herb and flower gardens
  • Sharing in the instruction and support of the farm team
  • Compost creation and fertility management
  • Daily and weekly task planning and worker scheduling
  • Maintenance of tools and equipment
  • Succession planting throughout the growing season
  • Processing, preserving and storing produce for the winter
  • Collecting and cleaning seed for future planting

Qualifications

  • Minimum of 2 years farming experience
  • Strong knowledge base in annual and perennial production on 1+ acre of land. Experience with farm-to-table initiatives and/or collaboration with restaurant kitchens is a definite bonus
  • Interest in the many traditional paths of yoga
  • Physical ability and experience in operating rototiller and/or Kubota tractor
  • Practical knowledge of and experience with farm tools including hand tools and irrigation systems
  • Experience or interest in permaculture and restorative agriculture practices
  • Supportive, approachable leadership style and non-violent communicator
  • Strong organizational skills and multitasking ability
  • Good sense of humour and positive attitude

Working Conditions

We’re definitely not your average workplace. Many people who have lived and worked here consider it to be among the most unique and transformative experiences of their lives, and often return to volunteer again. If you are primarily interested in putting in your hours and collecting a paycheck, then this place probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re open to exploring community life and spiritual practice, while working hard to be of service to others, then you will likely savour your time with us at the Centre.

Compensation

  • Private indoor accommodation with shared bath
  • Two hot vegetarian meals a day and access to a shared staff kitchen
  • Monthly stipend for living expenses
  • Access to ongoing yoga classes and other special events at SSCY
  • All of the valuable lessons and experiences that come with living in community among 20–25 people or more.

Teaching & Learning

We hope to inspire and support your passion for regenerative agriculture throughout the upcoming season and into the future. We are all teachers AND students here at the Centre. Here are some additional projects at the Centre, which you can learn more about or even contribute to firsthand:
  • Passive water management and design (irrigation, swales, ponds and paddies)
  • Perennial plant propagation (hardwood/greenwood cuttings) and pruning
  • Food forest design, establishment and management techniques
  • Innovative methods of mulching and soil improvement
  • Occasional farm days working alongside Salt Spring Seed Sanctuary growers

Yoga & Community

As an added bonus, when you join our vibrant community as the Lead Farmer, you will have the opportunity to participate in the offerings provided as part of our Residential Karma Yoga Program for your first 10 weeks at the Centre. You will learn and practise alongside other karma yogis who come to work in our kitchen, maintenance, and housekeeping teams. This allows new residents to gain a thorough introduction to the teachings and practices of yoga that inspire the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga. Participants in the program normally pay $1,155 for the 10-week period, but we include it as part of the co-coordinator’s compensation. The program includes:
  • Two 75-minute classes per week on yoga philosophy, practice, and community life
  • Two 60-minute classes per week on traditional yogic breathing and meditation
  • One 90-minute community circle per week for group discussions on matters relevant to community life
  • Access to ongoing yoga classes and other special events at SSCY