Worker Share Program
Folks who work at the farm develop a special relationship with the way their food is raised, the farm that raises it and the people who work there. Organic vegetable production is labor-intensive and nature-friendly. We believe it produces food with a higher nutritional value and better flavor.
In exchange for a season’s worth of our Family-sized boxes, Worker Shares agree to work 4 hours per week for 18 weeks, a total of 72 hours.
Barn Worker Shares operate primarily in the barn, washing, sorting, weighing, portioning, packaging or boxing produce.
Field Worker Shares are mostly outside, picking, bunching, sorting—whatever needs harvesting for either that week's CSA box or the farmer's market.
For all Worker Share positions, prior experience is not necessary, willingness to learn is. We will train you in the various jobs you will be required to do, and the most efficient way of doing them. We expect you to work hard, keep moving, finish the jobs assigned and ask questions as needed. Preferably, Worker Shares will be at least 18 years old and have their own transportation.
Barn and Field Worker Share shifts are 4 hours long, once a week. They run for 18 weeks, until the end of October.
We have 16 Worker Share positions available:
- 3 field positions on Tuesday morning, 8am to noon, starts June 27, 2023 and ends Oct. 24, 2023
- 3 barn positions on Tuesday afternoon, 1-5pm, June 27, 2023 and ends Oct. 24, 2023
- 4 barn positions on Wednesday morning, 8am to noon, starts June 28, 2023 and ends Oct. 25, 2023
- 2 field positions on Friday morning, 8am to noon, starts June 30, 2023 and ends Oct. 27, 2023
- 2 barn positions on Friday afternoon, 1-5pm, starts June 30, 2023 and ends Oct. 27, 2023
- 1 farmer’s market position on Saturday morning in West Bend, 7 to 11:30am, starts July 1, 2023 and ends Oct. 28, 2023
- 1 House Garden position starting in late April or early May with flexible hours, usually ends by Labor Day--a great choice for teachers
DESIGN A WORKER SHARE POSITION to fit your schedule, or ask us for suggestions. We've had folks work in our orchard, or weed in the fields after work, and these have been very useful to the farm. Chuck and I will also consider Worker Shares who prefer our smaller, Couple Share, which requires 56 hours to complete.
Tuesday morning Field Worker Shares harvest produce for that week’s CSA box. This involves digging, picking, sorting, bunching, counting, boxing, etc., as well as a fair amount of bending, squatting or even crawling around on your hands and knees, moving heavy boxes (up to 40 lbs.) from the field to the truck, then into the barn. Field Worker Shares may also be asked to weed, plant, lay drip tape, install row cover, etc., depending on the amount of work, time of year and weather conditions. They start on Tuesday June 27, 2023, and end on Tuesday October 24, 2023.
Tuesday afternoon Barn Worker Shares focus on preparing the vegetables for the next day’s CSA box packup. Their duties involve washing, portioning, bagging, counting produce, filling Extras orders, etc. They start on Tuesday June 27, 2023, and end on Tuesday October 24, 2023. Tuesday afternoon barn Worker Shares take their boxes home with them at the end of their shift.
Wednesday morning Barn Worker Shares finish any preparation not completed on Tuesday, build CSA boxes, set up the packing line, pack all CSA boxes, load the delivery vehicle, tear down the packing line and clean up crates and bins and the basement of the barn so CSA members find a neat, clean area when they walk in to get their boxes. Wednesday morning barn Worker Shares start June 28, 2023 and end Oct. 25, 2023. Wednesday morning barn Worker Shares take their boxes home with them at the end of their shift.
Friday morning Field Worker Shares harvest produce for Saturday’s West Bend Farmer’s Market. Their duties involve digging, picking, sorting, bunching, counting, boxing, etc., as well as a fair amount of bending, squatting or even crawling around on their hands and knees, moving heavy boxes (up to 40 lbs.) from the field to the truck, then into the barn. Friday morning field Worker Shares start June 30, 2023, and end October 27, 2023.
Friday afternoon Barn Worker Shares prepare the vegetables for Saturday’s West Bend Farmer’s Market. Their duties involve washing, bunching, weighing, bagging, portioning and boxing the produce we’ll take to the market. They also load the delivery truck with market supplies: tables, canopies, bags, signs, etc. Friday afternoon barn Worker Shares start June 30, 2023, and end October 27, 2023.
The Saturday morning Market Worker Share helps us at our stand at the West Bend Farmer’s Market. Duties include setting up and taking down the stand, stocking, selling, waiting on customers, adding up purchases and making correct change. Excellent math and people skills are a must. The Saturday morning market Worker Share starts at 7am and ends at 11:30am, a 4 ½ hour shift. Their first day is July 1, 2023, and last day October 28, 2023.
The House Garden Worker Share helps plant, weed and maintain the flower and herb beds in the House Garden. The House Garden Worker Share also helps to pot up extra plants from the Garden for sale at the West Bend Farmer’s Market, turns the compost heap, and cuts the grass on the paths and around the edges. Benefits of this position are the flexible hours, permission to cut bouquets and receipt of extra plants and bulbs. The House Garden WS starts in early May weeding, preparing and planting the beds, dividing and repotting plants, and ends around Labor Day.
In addition to a weekly Family Share, Worker Shares receive free produce. Whether it’s oddly shaped, slightly damaged or just more than we need, we think edible food should be consumed, not composted.
Whichever Worker Share position you choose, remember that farm work is physical. It helps to be in reasonable shape because of the bending and lifting involved.
Both field and barn Worker Shares need proper clothing to handle wet, dry, hot and cold weather. Rain gear and rubber boots are recommended for both positions (you would be surprised how wet you can get washing vegetables inside the barn). Field workers will also need hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and water bottle. Footwear can be boots or tennis shoes, but never sandals or flip flops.
Chuck and I understand that our Worker Shares will be gone for a shift or 2 during the season for a vacation or other prior commitment, and we can handle your absence. Let us know as far in advance as you can when you’ll be gone so we can schedule other folks to fill in.
When you’re gone, you have a few choices as to what to do with your Family Share:
1. You can schedule a Vacation Hold and deduct 4 hours per shift from the 72 you need to work to pay off the cost of your Share;
2. You can schedule a Vacation Hold, then an Extra Box later in the season;
3. You can arrange for a friend or family member to pick it up.
If you choose option 2 or 3, you will need to work the hours needed to earn that box. It’s wise to plan to be at the farm a little longer than your usual 4-hour shift in order to bank or make up hours. You may also come and work on the farm outside of your usual Worker Share shift to bank or make up hours. Chuck and I have plenty of jobs that need doing around the farm.
Once you start as a Worker Share, your hours will be tracked to achieve the goal of 72 hours, paying the cost of your Family Share. Every 4 hours equals 1 Family Share. By the time we deliver the last CSA box, or work the last farmer's market of the season, your Share should be paid for. It takes approximately 72 hours to work off a Family Share. (Worker Shares who pick their boxes up at our farm do not qualify for a discount.)
If you work more than the 72 hours required, you can use your credit to purchase extra vegetables, a Winter Storage Box, towards next year's Share, or we will pay you at the rate of $8.75/hour.
If you find you are not able to work off the cost of your Family Share by the end of the season, you simply pay the remainder. If you start as a Worker Share and find you must stop, but wish to continue receiving weekly boxes, we'll credit you for the boxes you've worked off, then you can pay for the balance of the season. If you have to stop and no longer want to receive a box, we'll cancel your membership, add up the hours you've worked and figure out whether you owe us or we owe you.
Although we love children and animals, please make other arrangements for them when you’re at work on the farm.
A Worker Share position is a serious commitment to work. We rely on your efforts to complete vital tasks. If someone simply fails to show up, another person has to try to fit those duties into their already full schedule, throwing a major wrench into the farm works.
Shortly after you sign up as a Worker Share, please download a Worker Share Application here, fill it out online (it's a .doc, so can be changed) and return it to us as an attachment at: firstname.lastname@example.org . We will download it and print a copy. Or, you can print it out and snail mail it to the address below.
We are especially grateful for Worker Shares who come back to the farm for another season. Their experience helps the tasks go faster, allows us to pair them with new Worker Shares for training, and gives us a chance to enjoy their company for another year. Returning Worker Shares have 1st choice of shifts. They should fill out a new application, but do not need to supply references.