Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm is a 15 acre Community Supported Agriculture Farm located approximately 50 miles north of the metropolitan area in East Central Minnesota. We utilize organic and sustainable practices in raising fruits, vegetables, chickens, sheep and this year will be adding pigs and a cow. We use rotational grazing for the sheep, and a movable chicken tractor system that allows poultry to be outside and moved daily while protected from predators. We also rotate livestock to graze on areas of the fields that have already been harvested so fertilizer is applied directly to the field.
Our other focus is education. We offer shareholders a variety of opportunities to visit the farm, participate in farm activities and learn more about keeping their food source local and sustainable. We encourage them to come during the abundance of the harvest, pick their own produce and hands-on learn how to prepare it for winter storage through canning or freezing, thus keeping their food source local all winter long.
The wool from our sheep is washed, carded and spun and knit here. Beginning this year, we will be offering educational opportunities in wool preparation, dying, spinning and knitting for interested interns and members.
Interns at Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm will be involved with soil preparation, mulching, seed starting, planting and transplanting, greenhouse operation, livestock management, marketing produce, packaging and delivery, and Farmers Markets. This season will include construction of a walk-in cooler, wood fired bread oven and a cordwood sauna. Interns will experience all aspects of our integrated farm/lifestyle including communal cooking, artisan bread baking and food preservation.
Interns are encouraged to have family and friends visit at the farm, taking in to account the needs of the farm in scheduling these visits.
We would consider all levels of experience including none. Our farm is an educational opportunity to learn and grow, whatever skills or attitudes you come with.
The amount of time is negotiable. We generally require a minimum of three weeks for an intern who is interested in learning about our sustainable practices. If however, an intern wants to work on a short-term basis, we will consider that, but opportunities for intentional learning will be less. Full time would be six to eight hour days, five days a week. That may increase on harvest and delivery days and decrease on some other days.
We provide room and board. Living accommodations include a camper trailer for full-time and temporary housing for short-term interns. Interns should bring their own bedding.
A stipend is negotiable for full-season, full time interns depending on skills and experience.
Canoeing and camping equipment is available at the farm for days off at the nearby St. Croix River and Wild River State Park.
Robin Raudabaugh has been involved in sustainable agriculture since 1979, first as a co-owner of a 15 acre certified organic vegetable and fruit farm in Pine County for 12 years, then as an Agriculture Education instructor at Elk River High School for 6 years. Her degrees are in Agriculture Education from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Arts in Religion and Theology and a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Robin sees farming and sustainability as an integral part of living in the world. She is the farm manager for the CSA.
Gigi Nauer is a singer-songwriter, music teacher and a “permanent intern” on the farm. She teaches guitar, mandolin, banjo and voice at Homestead Picking Parlor in Richfield, Minnesota, and at home on the farm. She is the marketing coordinator and office manager for the CSA. She designs brochures, contacts the members and generally coordinates the business aspects of the CSA. Robin and Gigi are partners in life and business.