If I visit Alpha Farm, how long could I stay?
First Time Visits
When someone first stays at the farm they are classified as a Visitor and can stay for about 3 – 7 days. If a Visitor requests to become a Long-Term Visitor/Farm Hand their 3 to 7 day visit can be extended at the discretion of the community members from 3-7 days to 1-6 months. These are the two most common categories of involvement at Alpha Farm because it’s where everybody starts.
If someone visits the farm and expresses an interest in making the farm their home and becoming a member they can request to become a Prospect. A Prospect is an individual who lives on the community and is exploring becoming a Resident. Their assignment, term of stay, and continuation at Alpha requires consensual approval. They have a voice and can vote in Alpha Farm process, but cannot singly block the group. They receive the same stipend as Residents. Prospect is a non-Board category.
After being a Prospect and settling in at Alpha a Prospect can request to become a Resident and make the community their long-term home. Residents have made a commitment to stay at Alpha Farm, serve as a a Director on the Board of Directors, and have gone through the Alpha Farm residency process. Their approval or removal at Alpha Farm requires consent of all existing Residents. They have full right of process, full obligations for stewardship of the organization, and full responsibility for the vitality of the farm and maintenance of agreements. Residents receive a regular monthly stipend and are required to be on the Board of Directors. Residents can stay as long as they want deeming they do not get kicked out of the Community (this is very rare and is usually the result of a personal-health, safety, or legal concern).
We are open to a wide range of new residents; however, we are most in need of committed community-builders: people who are mature, skilled, and emotianally well-adjusted, who have experience making and keeping commitments to a community, marriage/partnership, career, or children, and who are interested in making a long-term commitment to life in community. Good communication skills are a big plus, if not a requirement.
What kind of work would I be doing?
Most community members do a variety of work, both through our community-owned businesses and on the farm. A typical work-week includes a mixture of the tasks listed below. Each week is a little different depending on the needs and the skills that are present on the farm.
Alpha Mail: This is the farm’s main source of income. We deliver the mail under contract from the U.S. Postal Service.
Office Work: This includes bookkeeping, accounting, taxes, visitor correspondence, and organization
Auto Maintenance: Where experienced individuals work on the different vehicles and machines of the farm.
General Maintenance: Occasional construction projects, grounds work, and other various projects.
Garden Work: Working in the Alpha Garden doing things like weeding beds, watering plants, preparing the soil for the following Spring, and other similar tasks.
Housekeeping: Cleaning the different communal spaces.
Child Care: If there are children on the farm childcare is considered a job for the parents or anyone who is babysitting for the child or children.
Shopping: Alpha gets almost all of it’s food and supplies from different stores in Eugene. Every week someone will go into town to buy items on the shopping list from stores such as Oroweat, Cash & Carry, Fred Meyer, and Jerry’s.
These are the most common examples of work on the farm. From time to time there are other tasks on the schedule such as sewing, 4th of July party preparation, baking bread, and carpentry. If you have a skill that can contribute to the community and it wasn’t listed above, no worries! The schedule is made every week at a scheduling meeting and each person has a say in what they do the following week.
Our work expectation is 40 hours a week because between a farm and self-employment, there is no end of tasks to be done. Visitors usually begin by working on the farm, and add work in one of our businesses if they are exploring residency and there is a need. Work driving the mail route is open to those who have made at least a six-month commitment.
Occasionally new residents join Alpha who have established artisan or freelance businesses that they bring with them. These often can be accommodated, on a case-by-case basis, by meeting with our residency team. Otherwise we encourage new residents to work on the farm or through the mail so they can integrate well into the community.
What about finances?
Because we are an income-sharing community, all income made on or through the farm comes to the community, which in turn pays for everyone’s needs and provides a small allowance for personal desires, like entertainment and long-distance phone calls. When you become a resident, however, all assets and liabilities are your own. If you come with savings, it is yours to spend as you wish, though we encourage people to live as close as possible to the community standard of living, so that they can get a sense of whether they could live as members. If you come with debts, they also are your responsibility; your individual situation will be discussed with the residency team to see if we can work out a solution.
The community has a strong need for more sustainable sources of income. We would love to have Residents who have had (successful) experience starting small businesses or running companies.
Alpha Farm is are classified at a 501(d)3 organization where all board members share a common treasury, when paying income tax the members each file for their equal portion of the farm’s total income for the year and the farm is responsible for paying the individual’s owed taxes. This is for Residents on the Board of Directors only, not Visitors or Prospects. As a 501(d)3 we can accept donations, but the donations re not tax-deductible. We also have a working Board of Directors made up of our Residents.
What kind of diet do you eat?
Our diet is primarily ovo-lacto vegetarian, with meat or fish served daily, but we accommodate other diets as needed. Typically at our shared meals we cook for two or three special diets to accommodate allergies or other health concerns.
Does Alpha do commercial farming?
At present our garden is for ourselves and does not yield enough to serve a commercial market. However, there is interest in commercial farming and gardening, and we welcome those with commercial farming and farm management experience, particularly anyone interested in making a commitment to Alpha long enough to get such a business on its feet.