Alex Briggs

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Initial Interview:

Final interview:


I thought more about the opportunity of Farm Manager, as well as getting in touch with a friend who would be perfect for it. Should you decide to, I would be excited to take on the challenge. If so could you email me a lay-out drawing of you land, as well as any plans or other resources you have for your garden? I am not very experienced in an arid climate, but would take full advantage of the upcoming months to prepare

Main Questions

If Farm Directorm, how willing is he to learn new skills File:Alexcv.doc

Logistics and Practical Checklist

Did you submit a resume?


Please introduce yourself and what position you are applying for (if not clear on position, it will be covered later)

Apprentice - he has four years of mechanical engineering school, so some entrepreneurial work, he wants to learn to build. He can do CAD/Solidworks - will do CAD work - also wants to work on agriculture.

Are you interested in working on-site at FeF or are you interested in remote collaboration.

On Site

Are you applying as a volunteer or for a paid position?

Room and board would be excellent - paid for management

Are you ok with a 2 week trial period? One month trial period?

Yes, can he come in july (2 weeks in early july) and do the trial and then come back in august if it works or else go back to school. He is busy planting in may and june, the harvest will take some time in august and september, but he has less busy time in the middle and then availability after mid-september - the 15th - this is flexible - he could start in july and just work all the way through.

If it's the paid position, is $2000/month acceptable to you?

Which track are you interested in (management or admin/apprentice/entrepreneur)

When are you available?

Mid-July would be ideal, but I am flexible because I have no contracts where I am

I can travel after 2 weeks when I get my license back, I can come earlier, I need to go back out East on July 4th and then come back

How long will you stay with us?

He wants to start a farm like this in the East. He could work for a year or two or longer if it is beneficial.

How did you find out about us?

Have you seen my TED Talk?

What do you care about?

The environment, OSE is the interest, to build an autonomous farm and be self sufficient, then you can make real strides for environmentalism, you need an alternative.

What do you see yourself doing with us at Factor e Farm?

20-30% in the shop - 80-70% doing agriculture

  • Site Survey - yes I can learn from Dan Schellenberg
  • Keyline Plowing
  • Cover Crops
  • Rice crop experimentation?
  • Garden - slowly push it out further
  • Research Missouri crops
  • Layer cardboard on top of weeds and plant potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Greenhouse
  • Create paper trail to train other people
  • Recruit Subject Matter Experts to oversee the work and plans
  • Work with advisors

How are your communication skills?

I worked in a community kitchen at the university, we would gather produce from grocery stores and cook it for the community, I coordinated the community kitchen and volunteers to get everything going.

I've played sports - I'm generally a good guy to work with other people.

Can you lead people?

I can lead as far as I'm confident, and I can be pretty honest about that, and I welcome feedback and criticism, I've worked with a facilitator that helps guide discussion, I'm familiar with consensus-based communities.


I can dialog, in non-confrontational ways - personally, I can work hard and keep myself working outside and inside doing research - long days.

How do you manage conflict?

I'm honest with myself and with everyone else, and that's usually enough to keep conflict minimal, I'm cool-tempered, I can't think of anyone I've really gotten in an argument with - sometimes there are differences of opinions and those are best solved by giving people their own space. I try to get at the root cause of issues and come to a full resolution with full agreement instead of trying to impose a decision upon other people.

Would you argue if someone offends you?

I wish I was better at calling people out on things I find offensive. If its really overblown, I've gotten better at calling it out.


I like to be as light as possible in social interactions.

Can you work in a hierarchy?

I do my best to bring horizontality to any situation I'm in, I have been on sports teams where its hierarchy, (I missed the rest of this).

How much structure do you need?

I feel really good without structure working on my own with things I'm comfortable with, with other things that I'm less comfortable with, I would need more structure.

If it was a new task, what kind of structure would you like to have?

To have someone check my work, check-ins that are proportional to my familiarity, work with someone next to me so I can mirror them, then have someone check in on my once an hour or so.

What activities would you need minimal oversight on?

  • Vegetable Garden
  • Developing Soil Structures (swales, etc.)
  • Tending an Orchard

What activities would you need more oversight on?

  • Tractor Farming

What is the best decision you've ever made?

I'm very happy with my decision to go to Montreal and pursue an Engineering Degree. It is nice to view the world from a physics standpoint.

What is the worst decision you've ever made?

I got arrested at a student protest last Fall, it was not a useful action to change things.

What is your biggest failure?

This garden - put too many plants together - too many things with too little fertilizer.

What is your biggest success?

I taught myself to ferment, make yogurt, beers, wines, pickles.

What kind of design can you do?

In this context, permaculture design, contouring the land, catching water, maximize soil space, thinking about Sun and how it hits the land.

I also have experience doing mechanical design, and I would like to bridge that to fabrication.

How much experience do you have on the lathe and mill?

One class three years ago.

Can you be ready for a challenging and rigorous environment?

Yes, I do a lot of work currently, and I feel good and continue to feel good, because I am interested in the work and it keeps me going to learn.

Perseverence and Morale

It's my view that this is the work I have to do to feel good about myself and safe about my future and good about the world that I live in. I don't expect it to be easy and I'm comfortable with that.

What is your long-term perspective on your plans?

I want to go back to Maine and build an autonomous community using these techniques.

I would like to build computers from the ground up.

How does our work relate to your care?

Open source machines enable people to farm themselves, and the energy systems. Biomass is important to him - gasification - sterling engine systems - biochar. Interested in the modern steam engine. The simpler things are the better, the more they can be made anywhere, the better. The sterling engine is generally a good solution.

For that which you care about doing with us, what is your track record/work samples?

I've used tractors in hay fields - what he thinks of as a standard tractor - it did have a loader - not a lot of experience - he has informal experience with MIG welding - used lathes, mills, grinders - he has a vice grip that he made on a lathe it has a thread and different parts - he can send us a picture of it with his resume - he built his loft and bed - he has carpentry experience, hopes to be doing a lot of it at the farm coming up - wants to make greenhouses and will take pictures and send it over - he picks things up fast. He can watch someone do something and then do a good job - he can cut in a straight line and not hurt himself.

What would your average day look like at FeF?

gardening for a couple of hours, then go in the shop and lathe and weld and work in the shop and in the evening...

Interested in field testing?

  • Yeah, that's the value of the open source model. the person using the tool has the best insight into how to make it better.

Farm experience?

He grew up gardening and has worked on a subsistence farm in high school, worked in a tomato greenhouse, has done urban agriculture in montreal, is going to do some woofing.

Soil-Food Web?

He knows some about the soil, do not disturb the soil, he's not familiar with the term?

How do you see the tractor working with the soil-food web?

Create tracks around raised beds so a cart or tractor can follow them and now compact or kill the soil.

Can you be a farm manager?

If you show me exactly what you want, I could do it. It's a bit above his comfort level. He wants to learn the manufacturing primarily, gardening is within his comfort level, if you hired him for the farm director job, he feels confident that he would do a good job - he would have to research to do it well - its important that he would be allowed to do manufacturing.

What would your work day look like?

He wants to be in the workshop - but he would do agriculture if we needed him to - he would split time 50/50 on manufacturing and agriculture if we needed to. His ideal breakdown would be 80% of the time in the shop and 20% in the field.

how many hours a day do you work?

It's self-motivated - he's familiar with share cropping.

When are you available?

Maybe by July 15th. We will let him know by Monday

Select Questions

  1. Tell us about yourself.
  2. Tell me about the last 5 years of your life.
  • McGill University in Montreal working on a mechanical engineering degree - just needs to do a final lab and project and three classes and then he will have a degree. There is more urgency in our climate and state of things in general - started a mechanical engineering degree because he wants to learn how to build his own tractor and do his own farming - the world is too complicated and it doesn't have to be.
  1. What are you interested in getting out of this opportunity?
  2. What do you think is the best use of your time?
  3. What are your three strongest skills that you bring to this position? Substantiate.
  4. What are the principles you use as guidance?
  5. What are your professional accomplishments that you are most proud about?
  6. If you could investigate anything, what would it be?
  7. What are your most important resources?
  8. What are the qualities that are inspiring about you?
  9. What opportunities are you hoping to get?
  10. What inspires you?
  11. What are your outside interests?
  12. How do you add value?
  13. What are 5 of your greatest accomplishments in your professional history?
  14. What are 5 of your greatest failures in your professional history?
  15. Illustrate your creativity.
  16. What do you look for when hiring someone?
  17. Would you rather create strategy, design a solution, solve a problem, or create a process? Why that?
  18. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What did you learn in your present job or position? How long would it take you to make a contribution to this company? What do you imagine that contribution would be? Why should we hire you? What can you offer that someone else does not? What interests you most about this position? What interests you least about this position?