Who's Who and What's What
Dan is our farm manager who is responsible for all aspects of
managing Brookfield Farm including the apprenticeship program. The
Farm Manager is responsible for the program content, administration of
the program, hiring and firing, apprenticeship contracts, evaluations,
as well as career development. The Farm Manager is accountable to the
board of directors of the BFCT (see below). Dan Kaplan is also the
General Manager of the BFCT and a board member (ex-officio - i.e.
Karen is married to Dan and they have managed farms together for the
last 19 years. She is a registered nurse and works off the farm
sometimes, cooks a farm lunch for the farm crew every workday, and
sometimes replaces Dan in the field for a change of pace for both of
Brookfield Farm Assistant Manager
Brookfield Farm hires an assistant manager every season to help Dan
manage the day-to-day aspects of running the farm. The assistant manager
will work closely with apprentices and be responsible for some skill
training during the season. The assistant manager for 2014 is Zoe Abram.
Brookfield Farm is a project of the BFCT. It is not a "legal entity"
but rather a DBA ("doing business as") for the BFCT (legally Brookfield
Farm owns nothing, hires no one, and is fully managed by the BFCT).
Biodynamic Farmland Conservation Trust, Inc. (BFCT)
This is the organization that owns the farm property and equipment,
manages the apprentice program, and is our employer. The BFCT is a
non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation, and it managed by a board of
directors. Dan Kaplan is the general manager of the BFCT and an
"ex-officio" board member. Peter Littell is the President of the
board of the BFCT. All board meetings are open to the public.
Our program is a hands-on working/learning experience designed to
move dedicated candidates towards farm management. We take people from
all backgrounds; from inexperienced city folks looking to explore
agriculture as a career option to experienced farmers looking for a new
approach agriculture. As such, each apprenticeship will have different
challenges and take on a different character.
We will tailor each experience to the expressed needs of each
participant. It is essential that participants make their needs clear
and well known before we write an apprenticeship contract during the
hiring process. The contract will contain our (farmer and apprentice)
expectations for learning as well as benefits and expectations for
labor. This contract will be updated during the program orientation and
During the first week of the apprenticeship we will conduct an
orientation for all participants. At this orientation we will go over
safety policies, farm policies, and location and names of buildings and
equipment. We will individually review each apprenticeship contract and
update them as necessary. We will also begin to set vacation times,
assign tractor responsibilities, shopkeeper responsibilities, the Boston
driving schedule, and start figuring out how to have a good time
All apprentices are given written learning materials throughout their
apprenticeship. These materials include crop plans, seed orders,
planting schedules, maps, budgets, overall farm plans, and various other
supporting materials. In addition there is a small farm library from
which apprentices are welcome to borrow books.
Brookfield Farm is an active participant and one of the founders of the Northeast CRAFT Program . All apprentices are encouraged to take part in all CRAFT program events during the season.
Throughout the apprenticeship, participants are encouraged to develop
future plans for their own farm projects. It is considered a part of
your apprenticeship, if you desire, for the Farm Manager to review &
critique these plans. In addition, all possible steps will be taken by
the Farm Manager to help apprentices find job placement or further
opportunities if so desired. Future mentoring & consultation for all
apprentices is considered part of the package.
Regular Work Schedule
Monday through Friday: 6-7am, 8am-12pm, 1-5pm
Saturday: 6-7am, 8am-noon
The apprenticeship is, at its core, a working-learning experience.
Our primary method for teaching how to manage a farm is by giving you
skills and having you perform tasks within our farm system. Apprentices
are given an overall task list each week on Monday morning and specific
tasks are then assigned by the Farm Manager throughout the week. All
assignments are made with the needs of the farm and the specific stated
needs of apprentices in mind.
Apprentices are on a rotating chore schedule for the greenhouse,
livestock, and lunch clean up. One week out of every three each
apprentice is the chore person and responsible for:
- watering the greenhouse during the week (during work time) and on
the weekend as well. (If you are at a CRAFT meeting the farm
manager will take care of midday
- for helping Karen, Dan, and Kerry to set up & clean-up lunch at
the farmhouse. The kitchen needs to be fully cleaned up by 12:50
- making sure the cows have water, feeding & watering the pigs and
chickens, and looking in on the livestock at least once per day. The
grazing will be managed as part of the general work day. (If you
are going to the CRAFT meeting, you will need to do livestock chores
farm shop is open at hours that conflict with the regular work
schedule. During our orientation, each apprentice will be assigned
responsibility for one consistent shop time. The people who work on
Tuesday and Thursday will need to work until 7:30 pm. The person who
works on Saturday will work until 2 pm. Each person will be allowed comp
time to make up for this responsibility. This comp time will need to be
taken on the following afternoon (i.e. Tuesday person leaves on
Wednesday at 2:30 pm, Thursday person leaves on Friday at 2:30 pm, and
Saturday person leaves on Monday at 2:30 pm).
CRAFT Program Events
All apprentices are encouraged to take part in all CRAFT program
events during the season. They happen during regular work times
(Saturday mornings or Monday afternoons) and if you attend, there is no
need to make up the work time. If you do attend the events you are
expected to come to work at 6am on Saturday to help with chores, set up
the farm shop, and pick corn. If you do not attend the event, you are
expected to come to work on Saturday mornings for the usual schedule.
Apprentices need to use their own vehicles to attend the CRAFT program
events. The program will compensate for the travel at .40c/mi. It is not a
requirement to attend the CRAFT program events.
One apprentice each week will drive the vegetables to Boston. Each
apprentice can be the Boston Driver, if they desire, but not for less
than two months at a time.
Every apprentice will be trained in the safe use and maintenance of
two farm tractors. The tractor assignments will be made during the
program orientation. All attempts will be made to let each apprentice do
all of the jobs on "their" tractors during the season so they can learn
the jobs thoroughly. In this way apprentices are given the opportunity
to learn general tractor skills by focusing on two tractors while at the
same time minimizing training needs and repair costs.
A stipend of $750 is paid to each first-year apprentice. Stipends are
paid on the 15th of each month. A tax withholding is taken out of this
stipend. Stipends will be set year-to-year by the General Manager and approved by the Board of Directors.
All apprentices are covered by workers compensation and covered (with certain legal limitations) for all work-related injuries.
All apprentices will be eligible to purchase insurance through the Mass Health Connector. Apprentices may elect to keep their current insurance. In either case, they will be compensated $100/mo towards health insurance premiums.
Lunch at the Farmhouse
Monday through Friday there is a prepared lunch provided at Dan and
Karen's house. There is ample food and people are encouraged to eat as
much as they want. We use as much farm food as possible and the meals
are primarily vegetarian. We can make some allowances for special
dietary needs (if they are addressed beforehand). One apprentice (the
chore person) helps Dan (and/or the assistant manager) clean up the
kitchen each day
All apprentices are allowed to take as many vegetables, fruits,
flowers, and herbs as they can use (including putting up for winter).
You can also take up to 50 lbs. of produce per year as gifts for family
All apprentices can take up to $50 worth of farm meat (beef,pork)
each year. Additional farm-raised meat can be purchased at 50% off
Shop Sale Products
Apprentices can help themselves to milk, bread, eggs, and apples (for
their own consumption) for sale at the farm shop at no charge.
Apprentices also receive a $50 store credit. All other Shop Sale
products (cookbooks, t-shirts, soap, blueberries, coffee, pickles,
popsicles, ice cream, beef, lamb, and cheese) can be bought at cost.
The farm owns a 3-bedroom house next to the farm. Each apprentice is
assigned a private room. Room assignments are first come, first served.
There is a shared kitchen, living room, bathroom, garage, and laundry
room. Utilities are included in the housing with the exception of
telephone. It will be the responsibility of the apprentices to get phone
service and pay for the bills in their name. The apprentice house must
be kept clean at all times. You can decide, as a group, how you want to
achieve this goal, but all apprentices will be responsible for the care
and clean appearance of the house.Mowing the lawn will be the
responsibility of the apprentices and tenant in basement apartment. The mower will be provided by the Trust, but the lawn must be mowed on a regular basis (at least every 2 weeks in July, August, and September, every week in May and June).
Each apprentice will be allowed one week paid vacation to be taken
between July 1 and Aug 15 of the calendar year. Vacations must be taken
in a continuous one-week period (Sat Afternoon until the following
Sunday evening). Each apprentice will also be allowed one Saturday off
during April, May, October, and November. Vacation days may not be
"saved" and used after that time. All vacation time will be established
in April, trying to take needs of all participants into account.
Apprentices do not have to take vacations.
It is expected that there will be some need during the season for
every apprentice to take some personal time, whether for weddings, car
repairs, doctor's appointments, or other personal needs. Each apprentice
is allowed up to 2 personal days each season. Personal days are not vacation days. They are considered to be used if a special need arises (major or minor person needs).There is no need to make up work for personal days and they do not need to be taken as full days. It is expected that the farm manager will be given ample notice about the need for personal time and that opportunities will be taken when possible to make personal time happen at convenient times for the
farm schedule. If more days are needed, they will need to be cleared ahead of time with the farm manager. Personal time may not be saved and used during a second season.
Everyone's going to get sick. When you're sick, you don't
work. If you miss more than 7 days of work during the season due to
illness, there will need to be some discussion with the Farm Manager as
to whether the apprenticeship is the right situation for you. You
do not need to make up work for sick days.
There will be comp time given for any regular work that is performed
after regular work hours. The farm manager will always give you a choice
as to whether you want to work after hours or not in these situations.
In the event of a farm emergency (animals out of the fence, etc.) it is
expected that apprentices who are on or near the farm will help until
the situation is corrected. There will not be comp time given for these
Apprentices will go through an evaluation with the farm manager two
times during the course of the season. The first evaluation will happen
sometime between July 1 and August 15. The final evaluation will happen
sometime during the last two weeks of November. The evaluation will
consist of individual consultations with the farm manager to see how
well we are all meeting the expectations of the apprenticeship contract.
The evaluation will be multi-directional with apprentice and farm
manager evaluating one other
All apprentices are accountable to the farm manager. The farm manager
is accountable to the Board of Directors of the BFCT. The Board is
accountable to the bylaws under which it operates.
If any grievances arise it is expected that the first course of
action for all apprentices will be to speak directly to the farm
manager. If there is still a problem that cannot be resolved, all
apprentices are welcome to speak directly with the President of the BFCT
who will be responsible for resolving the matter with the farm manager.
Continuation of Apprenticeships
Many apprentices feel that one year on the farm is not enough time to
get the training they need. We encourage people to consider the
possibility of staying for more than one season. While encouraged, it is
not automatic for apprentices to be accepted for a second year - the
basis for the decision will be your performance review over the first
year and solely at the discretion of the Farm Manager. The process for
continuing an apprenticeship is
- By Oct 15, each apprentice declares his/her interest to the Farm Manager in returning for another season
- The Farm Manager reviews applications and has three options - acceptance, provisional acceptance, or rejection
- Current apprentices will be notified of the Farm Manger's offer by Nov 15
- At that point a contact will be will be drafted to outline the
specifics of the apprenticeship continuation. The contract process will
be completed by Thanksgiving.