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Position: 2018 Farm Internship
Type: full-season internship with private room, veggie share, monthly stipend (see below)
Organization: Zócalo Organics Community Farm
Location: Hillsburgh, near Guelph, Ontario

Internship 2018 Information

You may have heard about our internship program and are interested to learn more. Before applying for the internship program please read this full outline to get a sense of what we do, and what you will learn while working with us.

Program Duration

Monday Beginning of May 2018 until End Oct 2018


Our Full-Season Internship Program is for people who are looking for an intensive, on-farm work-learn experience. Here are some of the aspects of the program to look forward to:

Hands-on training in the field focused on growing organic vegetables on a small scale. You will be part of a small team of 2 interns, 2 full-time farmers, 2 farmer-staff members, and a number of supporting volunteers. Together we accomplish the task of offering a 22 week CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) program to 110 members, we harvest for 30 weeks of deliveries to local restaurant and retail clients, and we attend a weekly Saturday Guelph Farmer’s Market. We also have other complementary activities as part of our farm: hosting occasional school groups, and hosting occasional events or retreats in our barn.

6 CRAFT DAY field trips. We are part of the CRAFT organization (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) and through this organization each of our interns will have the opportunity to visit and learn from 6 different organic farms in Southern Ontario.

A weekly yoga class at the farm for the farmers and interns, because farmer health is really important to us!

3 on-farm practical training workshops covering fundamental Organic Farming topics. These will be offered by the farmers at Zócalo.

New in 2018! “Cultivating Presence” Course; a 4 week course in October for farmers offered at Zócalo. This course is about learning to stay in the present, be joyful, communicate effectively, set boundaries, and create positive change in your community as farm.

A library of great farm resources, and podcasts (which we listen to sometimes as we work) as well as access to our planning documents (crop plans, weekly planning schedules, etc.)

We engage in regular dialogue and feedback with the members of our team and schedule check-ins through-out the season to help you meet your learning goals. Additionally any intern can request more check-ins as needed.

Interns attend and co-host monthly community potlucks at the farm

A private room in a shared intern accommodation. Since our Farm-team is small we also enjoy doing things together; sharing meals, playing games, or watching movies together in our down-time!

Farm Details:

Our address is 5881 Third Line, Hillsburgh/Erin, we are located 30 km from downtown Guelph

Phone number: 226 821 0572

We grow organic produce for household consumers, chefs and restaurateurs, and wholesalers.

For the 2016 season our main offerings will be Seasonal Salad Blends, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and other organic vegetables. Our CSA vegetable boxes include carrots, garlic, onions, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, our signature salad greens, squash, and much more!

Ideal Candidate:

We are looking for people who are excited about what we are doing, who are humble, inquisitive, social, and willing to work hard. You should be ready to focus most of your energy on growing great food, on learning what it takes to grow great organic vegetables on a small scale, and on being a positive members of the team. After you complete your internship we are committed to remain your mentors for any future gardening, farming, or homesteading endeavours and will do our very best to help you succeed.

Why we grow:

We grow because we love the taste of what we grow. Our food has amazing flavour and nutrition because our soils are alive and thriving. Our work as organic farmers is one way we can steward our resources and take care of our planet and ourselves. Though we are a small farm, we work to influence climate change, soil erosion, and water conservation on a daily basis.

We also love being an access point for people in our local community, helping them create and maintain a meaningful connection to their food and to the land. We host guests in a Yurt through Airbnb, and we host a handful of student groups to share and celebrate the land we live on.

Who are we:

We, Sebastian Ramirez and Bethany Klapwyk, run Zócalo Organics.

We got into farming because of our passion for the environment and our love for the outdoors. We did not come from a farming background, which means we’ve been learning as quickly as possible from as many mentors as possible. Wehave 8 years of experience working in Organic Agriculture. We have interned at Ignatius Farm, Green Being Farm, The Stop Community Food Centre, and volunteered on farms in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Morocco, Florida, and New York. We partook in the Sustainable Agriculture 1-Year Program at Fleming College, and took the Holistic Management Course for farmers. We are also part of the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO) and are connected to many mentors throughout the province.

In June 2014, with the help of friends and family, we were able to purchase a farm, which we named Zócalo Organics. Before us, this farm was called Deerfields Nursery, a successful Organic Farm business run by John Sutherland. John had a vision of land stewardship that led him to plant many trees on the property and care for the land organically for 25 years. We are honoured to carry on his legacy. In his retirement John has continued to be a mentor for us as we learn and work on the property.

We are committed to growing delicious Organic produce for years to come.

In the short-term our focus is to produce high-quality organic vegetables. Our long-term vision includes pasture-raised livestock and various types of perennial fruits. In addition to training on practical components of farming we especially enjoy philosophizing with other farmers/interns about health and wellness, mindfulness, vulnerability, “leaning” the farm, and learning to create the lives we want as farmers.

What is unique to our experience?

There are many internship experiences out there, and you must find what works for you. Interning on a small-farm like ours means you have direct access to the farmers who run the operation on a daily basis. We can invite you into our story and our experience of operating a small-farm, and train you in the methods we use to operate our farm. We are unique in that we only use a walk-behind tractor to accomplish the tasks on our farm. We follow many of the principles in “The Lean Farm” by Ben Hartman, and “The Market Gardener” by Jean Martine- and these are the primary resources we use for teaching. We grow a lot of crops in a small space using this tool, and other hand-tools. We also use greenhouses and hoop houses to lengthen our season. Farming at our scale is not only a our preferred method of growing but also very accessible for beginner and learning farmers.


We provide a PRIVATE room in an apartment on the farm. The Intern apartment is equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, common space and 2 bedrooms; and is heated with a wood stove in the cooler seasons (we provide wood).  Wifi is available in the apartment, and laundry can be accessed at the main farmhouse.

We expect our interns to keep their accommodations clean in their own time with bathroom tidying, vacuuming, cleaning the stove, taking out garbage, sweeping, etc. We also expect that shared areas in our home are kept tidy, especially the kitchen where we share lunches.

The Work Schedule:

  • All interns will be available to work from Monday-Friday full-days 7:30-5:30 work-day AND:
  • harvest days once CSA begins (Tuesday and Thursday) begin at 6:30/7 am unless otherwise stated
  • rotate on a schedule to join for CSA, delivery days, and markets
  • interns are expected to bring their own snacks/water out to the field, we take a 20 minute break in the morning on longer days.
  • rotating weekend chores; we rotate on a schedule during weekends and ask each intern to be available for a monthly pre-booked watering/chores weekend.
  • Interns are expected to attend the once-monthly Saturday Farm Potlucks to build community with one another, to meet our CSA members, and others who live on the farm.
  • Lastly we ask each intern to spend 3 Saturdays (over the season) helping and learning about our farmer’s market.

Sick Days and Vacation

  • Each intern is allowed 4 days of pre-booked vacation (not in July or August)
  • Personal appointments for mental or physical health are encouraged outside of work-hours, however we allow time for this as needed
  • Sick days are taken as needed, please rest and get better!


You can expect a warm meal at lunch time 3 days a week. For breakfast, dinner, other lunches, and weekends you are expected to fend for yourself. You have a kitchen in your accommodation, and we will provide you with a CSA share of vegetables. We can provide rides to get groceries and supplies if you do not have a vehicle.


We provide a regular CSA veggie share for each intern, housing, yoga, and a $500/month stipend.

A Week on the Farm

Things change through the seasons but once the CSA begins in June our weeks have a fair bit of structure to them. For an intern the schedule would look like this:

  • Monday: Planting is the main focus of Mondays; we focus on planting, transplanting, and seeding in the field and Greenhouse. At lunch we touch base casually about the week-plan. The afternoon continues to be working on
  • Tuesday: We accept community volunteers on Tuesdays and work together as a big team to bring in and wash all the harvest for the CSA program.
  • Wednesday: The farm-team harvest for restaurants. As a team we harvest, mix, wash, and prepare salad greens for delivery to restaurants. Interns do the salad washing and preparing of orders in our wash-station. Occasionally an intern will join our staff at CSA delivery.
  • Thursday: Interns take turns delivering produce (every 3rd week) to restaurants. Some washing and harvesting is done in the morning. The rest of the farm team will work on cover cropping, fertility, planting, and weeding. Some market preparations are also done on Fridays. This is the day when we try to finish up the tasks on our to-do list.
  • Friday: Focus is on the field. We do weeding, bed-prep, trellising, and further planting is done. Plans are drawn up for the following week of work!
  • Weekends:
    • Monthly Community Barn Party/Potlucks!
    • each month each intern is on watering duty for one weekend
    • and each intern occassionally is scheduled on a Saturday market.
  • Ongoing: We work to maintain good soil moisture for the plants, we follow the tasks outlined in our crop plan to keep on schedule with planting, we use the tractor when necessary to prepare new planting areas in the garden, we observe pest and disease issues and address them as quickly as possible.


Our vehicles (car and truck) are not lent out for personal trips. You should have a driver’s license as we you will be doing restaurant deliveries/pick up supplies once you are trained and comfortable with our vehicles. We can help interns get their grocery supplies if they do not have access to their own vehicle. Having a vehicle of your own is encouraged as there are a lot of fun things to be involved in locally!

Demands of the Program

The internship program requires a great deal of physical and mental energy. It is not realistic to have outside employment or study requirements during the program. Interns who come prepared- physically, emotionally, and financially - gain the most from our program. While there are focused workshops and field-trips, the practical work we do together on the farm takes up the most of our time.

For the most part we hope your experience is that you feel healthier and happier than ever since you will be active on a daily basis, eating well, and part of a supportive community.

(By the way, you may also request to talk to a former intern if you would like to ask them their experience!)

For more pictures and information on our farm visit our facebook page or website.

To apply:

Please fill out our internship application document at:

When applying, please indicate that you saw this posting at

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GoodWork ID: 42735       Date posted to Sep 29 2017