Indian Ridge FarmPastured Poultry and Organic Vegetable Apprenticeships in Norwood, Colorado
Indian Ridge Farm, located at 7,000 feet in elevation, is a 120-acre diversified farm operation that centers around pastured broilers, layer hens and turkeys, but also includes hogs, dairy goats, horses, an on-site vegetable operation, bee hives, greenhouses, and hay pasture. We offer a multi-year situation for the individual who is looking to eventually own and operate their own poultry and/or commercial vegetable operation.
Meet the mentors
Indian ridge farm
We’re a small diversified family farm operation, 7,000 feet in elevation, in Southwest Colorado, about 36 miles west of Telluride. We own 120 acres and lease part of our hay pasture to a neighboring rancher and our one and one-half acre biointensive vegetable operation to a farmer named Anne who lives on the farm with her two young children.
The farm’s ditch system and fencing was completed many decades ago. We began building the farm’s more current infrastructure: the ponds, the deer fencing, the water system, the processing plant, the barn and the hoophouse in 2000. Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery began production in 2002. The garden for the CSA was expanded in 2007 to nourish over 60 households. The pastured poultry operation received a grant from the Western Region’s SARE program to study whether pastured poultry can complement an existing large livsstock system. That grant was the springboard for the success of the current pastured poultry operation.
Our goal at Indian Ridge Farm is to provide a stronger, more sustainable region by nurturing a secure and nutritious food shed. We want to provide regional residents with the highest quality, organically grown food available from a local source at affordable prices.
In 2010 we completed the installation of a 52-panel solar array that generates 10kW of solar energy. This system produces enough alternative, sustainable energy to run the entire farm operation.
We sell our products off the farm and through our local Food Hub as well as the Telluride Farmer’s Market and various restaurants.
The farm is the home to one of Colorado Western Slope’s only state-approved and inspected poultry processing facility. We do all our processing and packaging, including value-added pâté and bone broth. We recently sold our bakery so that we could focus on our grass-fed poultry.
We have been mentoring beginning farmers for over 18 years and this continues to be our goal along with providing a stronger, more sustainable region by nurturing a regenerative, grass based farm and garden.
Tony and Barclay met at a potluck in Telluride in 1985. Tony was working in journalism and Barclay was working as a teacher. Skiing was obviously a passion. After thirteen years, two children and starting, running and sellig a daily newspaper, we decided to find some land and start farming!
Barclay comes from an agricultural background, having grown up on a small organic farm and CSA called Caretaker Farm, near Williamstown, MA. She majored in Art at Yale University and became a teacher. Barclay is a parent advocate for a rare genetic disorder called Smith-Magenis Syndrome. She and Tony formerly owned Indian Ridge Bakery, which was sold in the late spring, 2018.
Tony came to agriculture in a circuitous manner. Born in Lima, Peru, his family had large agricultural interests in that country before leaving Peru for the United States in 1966. He studied economics at Denver University and has an MBA from Northwestern in Chicago. In the winter, Tony is an Avalanche Technician for the Telluride ski patrol. He’s also a certified EMT, volunteering for the Norwood Fire District.
Barclay and Tony have two grown daughters.
Both are deeply committed to environmental stewardship and local, sustainable food systems and, after reading the book “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn, decided in 1998 that it was time to “walk the talk” and start farming in earnest.
The two apprenticeships will run from the beginning of April to November 1. One position is focused primarily on poultry while the other will focus primarily on organic vegetable production. Both apprenticeships will overlap each other on a daily basis.
The end of March marks the beginning of our poultry season with the arrival, via US mail, of our first batch of 150 broilers. Upon arrival, the chicks are settled into the brooder. After four weeks, they are moved from the brooder onto the intensively rotated grazing pasture and at ten weeks they are butchered on Wednesday. This sequence repeats itself for tenty weeks until the beginning of October. Everyday, during this period, the birds are moved onto fresh pastured, watered and fed. Our 300 layer hens are also fed and watered twice a day, eggs are collected, sorted and boxed. Layer hen mobile coops are moved onto fresh pasture as needed. By the end of the season we will have raised, processed and sold over 3000 birds, as well as 100 turkeys. Early season is focused on equipment and facility preparation, systems set-up, irrigation as well as marketing and CSA recruitment. Late season is focused on harvesting, winter storage orders and putting the farm to rest for the winter. Goats are milked and tended to throughout the year as is our horse.
Stipend: We provide a monthly stipend in addition to full room and board. The stipend amount is subject to the level of commitment and experience of the applicant.
Food: Poultry, ground beef, eggs and goat milk are available from the farm. Vegetable amounts and variety dependent on the season. Basic staples such as rice and flour are available on the farm. Apprentices/woofers eat separately from Tony and Barclay with a shared weekly “farm dinner” with everyone living on the farm.
Housing: Interns will have their own living/sleeping area inside one of three furnished trailers. The kitchen and communal living room are inside a cabin equipped with a full fridge, gas oven, kitchen table, sofa, wood stove, etc. Workers share and are responsible for a composting toilet and outdoor shower, in addition to a wash sink. All workers are asked to keep their living spaces clean and organized. During the cold spring and fall months, apprentices have the use of an indoor bathing area in the main farm house.
Quivira Coalition Activities: This apprenticeship is offered through Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program. The full cohort of apprentices on regenerative ranches and farms across the west will attend an April orientation, participate in supplemental education provided in partnership with Holistic Management International, and attend the annual Quivira Conference, hosted with Holistic Management International and the American Grassfed Association, in November. Apprentices are also required to write several reports during their apprenticeship; these reports will go through the NAP Coordinator at Quivira, and be posted on the Quivira website.
Time off: One and a half consecutive days off a week. A 5 day paid vacation is offered sometime in late August or September, to be taken all at once or broken into individual days.
Visitors: Telluride has a large tourist draw. As a temporary resident, the apprentice may experience that draw through requests for visits from friends and family. The apprentice may also want to express their enthusiasm for the program by inviting friends and family to visit. We ask that the apprentice use wisdom and judgment to balance the apprenticeship demands with time available for guests. Apprentices will be asked to discuss visitors in advance with Barclay and Tony. Visitors are welcome but must work along side the apprentice for half the day on the apprentice’s scheduled workdays. Parents and grandparents are exempt.
Pets: We cannot accommodate pets on the farm.
All the fun stuff: Tobacco and Alcohol are permitted on the ranch. Illegal drugs are not. Any use of marajuana (legal in Colorado) and alcohol must be on the apprentices time off. Guns are allowed under certain conditions to be arranged with Barclay and Tony ahead of time. No parties unless Barclay and Tony are invited.
Health Insurance: The farming lifestyle has inherent dangers. While personal health insurance is not required to participate in the apprenticeship program, it is strongly encouraged. The farm carries Workman’s Compensation to cover injuries incurred on the job. But if the apprentice is injured on his or her day off, gets sick, or has or develops chronic conditions like allergies, these types of issues should be covered by personal health insurance.
Farm Vehicles: Many of the farm vehicles are standard transmission. The apprentice will be expected to competently operate these vehicles. Apprentices must have a valid driver’s license.
Personal Vehicle: There are no instances (or very few) when the apprentice would be required to use his/her own vehicle around the ranch. In order to run personal errands and travel on days off, however, the apprentice will need the flexibility of his or her own vehicle.
Services available to the apprentice:
- Washer and dryer: There is a shared washing machine and a clothes line is available for drying.
- Internet connection: Internet is available in the apprentices living quarters but phone service is spotty at best. AT&T works best in Norwood. Verizon, not so well.
Additional items the apprentice will need for the duration of the apprenticeship? Will need Bed linens and towels.
Activities on the operation that the apprentice will not participate in? Tractor operation is limited and is determined on an individual basis.
Living in Norwood, Colorado: The farm is situated outside Norwood, Co., on a mesa-top in the beautiful San Juan Mountains of southwestern Coloraod, 33 miles West of Telluride and 100 miles East of Moab, Utah. Norwood is a small town with very little night life. There are two grocery stores (one being our local food hub), a laundromat, liquor store and a few restaurants. We have a community center and are building a brand new library. Our nearest airport and large box stores are a 1.5 hour drive in Montrose, Colorado. Temperatures can fluctuate 40 degrees or more during a single day. Highest temps are in the 90’s lowest, below freezing. Weather is unpredictable, be prepared for all conditions.
2020 Applications are now closed
Check back October 2020 to apply for a 2021 apprenticeship at Indian Ridge Farm
“Even though it has only been 3 weeks at Indian Ridge Farm it definitely feels like it’s been easily over a month! Every day has been filled with perfectly amazing sights and sounds, experiences of the kind that exhaust me while simultaneously charging my imagination of the endless possibilities of the utmost fulfilling life on the farm. Everyday is a challenge, and I wonder when I will feel I have reached an equilibrium, a sustainable level of engagement. I yearn to feel a strong grasp and a thriving in the ritual, routine and rhythms (a Daranyi mantra) required at the farm that will inspire me to continue bravely year after year, if I am to continue? But this is why I continue, to answer those very questions by the only means I know and have implemented throughout my life. I want to continue down my path because it is the path before me, not because it is always easy or only exactly what I want to be doing.” – Excerpt from the New Agrarian Voices Blog
“I am a woman who follows her heart. Every time I feel the pull of something new, I marvel at how lucky I am to get to go with the flow and see where it will take me. From a life of networking and travel, to gardening and cooking and baking, to leading people on bikes through the southwest, to the more recent adventure of 16 months of bike focused travel; these things have all led me to Indian Ridge Farm to maybe perhaps fit the pieces together to create a sustainable and enjoyable life for myself.” – Excerpt from the New Agrarian Voices Blog
Cary and Caroline Conwell
Caroline and I met at Clemson University in 2012 and got married in 2016. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, and I am from Greenville, SC. We moved to Denver to get a change of landscape and dig deeper into our love for the outdoors. Denver has provided us an opportunity to not only develop professional skills related to project management, continuous improvement in manufacturing, and customer service, but also bread making, cooking, cheese making, photography, and gardening. Our pursuit of regenerative agriculture is the result of a slow, but steady evolution in our shared life mission through thoughtful consideration and reflection of the values and principles we believe in as individuals. Through reading and personal experience we have deemed it necessary to play an active role in re-shaping the way food is produced in the United States. The New Agrarian Program is our first big step towards our active participation in creating healthy food, ecosystems, and communities. One aspect of Quivira that stands out to us is the potential to build our network of like minded individuals who are beginning down this path. Additionally, Tony and Barclay of Indian Ridge Farm represent role models whom we aspire to mimic. We are excited to learn everything they have to offer and if we play our cards right, they might even share some secret ski lines around Telluride in exchange for some of our homemade pasta!
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