Worker Share Program
Folks who work at the farm develop a special relationship with the way their food is raised, the place 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 20 weeks, a total of 80 hours.
Barn Worker Shares operate primarily in the barn, washing, sorting, weighing, portioning, packaging or boxing produce.
Field Worker Shares will be mostly outside, harvesting, bunching, sorting—whatever needs doing.
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.
We have 16 Worker Share positions available:
- 3 field positions on Tuesday morning, 8am to noon
- 3 barn positions on Tuesday afternoon, 1-5pm
- 4 barn positions on Wednesday morning, 8am to noon
- 2 field positions on Friday morning, 8am to noon
- 2 barn positions on Friday afternoon, 1-5pm
- 1 farmer’s market position on Saturday morning in West Bend, 7 to 11:30am
- 1 House Garden position starting in early May with flexible hours, usually ends by Labor Day
Barn and field Worker Share shifts are 4 hours long, once a week. They start in June and run for 20 weeks, until the end of October or beginning of November.
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 time of year and weather conditions. They start on the Tuesday before the first CSA box is delivered (usually the 3rd or 4th Tuesday in June), and end on the Tuesday before the last CSA box is delivered (usually the 1st Tuesday in November).
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 the Tuesday before the first CSA box is delivered (usually the 3rd or 4th Tuesday in June), and end on the Tuesday before the last CSA box is delivered (usually the 1st Tuesday in November). Tuesday afternoon barn Worker Shares usually 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 delivery vehicles, tear down the packing line and clean up 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 usually 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 are basically the same as those of the Tuesday morning field Worker Shares described above. Friday morning field Worker Shares start around the 2nd or 3rd Friday in June, and end on the last Friday in October.
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 around the 2nd or 3rd Friday in June, and end on the last Friday in October.
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 around the middle of June, and ends the last Saturday in October.
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, and ends in early September.
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 arrange for a friend or family member to pick it up,
2. You can schedule a Vacation Hold, then a double box later in the season thru Member Assembler,
3. You can donate your box to the Women's Shelter or Cops for Kids program,
4. You can receive a credit in your CSA Member Assembler account for the cost of that box. (This will be the cost of a Family Share divided by 20 weeks.)
If you choose option 1, 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 deducted form the cost of your Family Share. You can go into your account on Member Assembler at any time to check the balance. Terry enters these credits about once a month. Each credit corresponds to the date those hours were worked. By the time our season ends, your balance should be zero. It takes 80 hours to work off a Family Share.
If you work more than the 80 hours required, you can use your credit to purchase extra vegetables, a Winter Storage Box, or use it towards next year's Share.
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, you pay for the balance of the season. If you have to stop because you suddenly get offered the job of a lifetime in Vienna, we'll credit you for the boxes you'll no longer be here to get. (Think of us when you're sipping kaffee and eating Sacher Torte in a sidewalk cafe.)
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 necessary 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.
If becoming a Worker Share fits into your schedule, please choose “Worker Share” instead of “Prepaid Share” on the page that asks for “Share Type”. Shortly after you sign up, download a Worker Share Application here, fill it out online and return it to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, as an attachment. Or, you can print it out and snail mail it to the address below.
Returning Worker Shares do not need to fill out an application, and have 1st choice of shifts.
Chuck and I would love to work with you this season!