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Seeking: Ecological Farm Intern(s) or Couple
Type: work-trade in exchange for housing, food, learning, more (see below)
Farm: Plainfield Heritage Farm

Location: near Belleville, Ontario
Housing: private on-farm accom.
Dates: 3 to 6-month stay
Starting: August 2022

Come experience the beautiful fall season at our ecological farm where our practices are rooted in regenerative, organic approaches that foster local ecology. This mentorship will be an opportunity to work and enjoy living in harmony with nature while experiencing some of the joys and challenges of farming or homesteading.

Learn about the importance and practical application of organic permaculture food gardens, orchard and guilds. Help us establish the new berms for our future food forest. Love animals? Learn how oxen play a key role on a farm or homestead: experience working with our oxen teams in a variety of tasks including sustainably logging. Learn to care for heritage cattle, chickens & geese and practice holistic pasture management. Appreciate the vital role livestock play in creating precious soil and local ecology. Learn the many roles of willow including harvesting, basket weaving, creation of living fences, water retention and windbreaks and vertical food production. Try your hand a basic carpentry, historic style fencing or get support for and engage in your own projects using our infrastructure. This season will be very busy with harvesting and preserving  so there will be much opportunity to ferment, preserve and prepare a wide variety of foods. Learn how to make sourdough breads and your own cheeses.

Farm interns tell us they learn a lot; not only are the skills they learn here transferable to the larger world but, they discover they are far more capable than they imagine. You are encouraged to read the former farm intern reviews on our Facebook page: “Plainfield Heritage Farm”. 

Part-time duties include caring for livestock; daily work with the oxen; maintaining and preparing the food gardens and guilds; continuing the permaculture berm establishment; rehabilitating hedgerows, fencing; farm R & M; seasonal preparations; food preservation; assist with an important local community fundraiser being held at the farm to foster local community food. Must be willing to work in all weather.

You’ll leave with experiential understanding of the interdependence of ecology & organic food production with practical ways to help mitigate the impacts of our changing climate on food growing and on the ecology about you. You will observe, work with and help expand our permaculture and come away with clear understanding of why permaculture is a vital approach in using nature to foster food production on farms and on homesteads. Practice self-sufficiency strategies and develop homesteading skills like preserving foods, fermentation, sourdough, cheese making and willow basket weaving. Learn to work with and experience how draft animals, like oxen, play a very practical role on small, organic homesteads or farms. Try your hand at basic carpentry, historic style fence maintaining: all within a cooperative, supportive, hands-on learning environment. 

This minimum 3-6 month stay opportunity is appropriate to an individual or couple who is not maintaining an off-site job and is willing to be predominantly on-farm. We are diversity friendly! Must be able-bodied, trustworthy, value the natural environment and care about animals. The right candidate has good self-awareness, values non-violence, cooperative approaches, possesses excellent observational skills, and is a dependable, independent self-starter. Experience with cattle, carpentry, machinery are all assets but, not required. What is required is a willingness to try, possibly fail yet, keep at it until skills are learned. Steel-toed boots, gardening gloves and maintaining farm safety protocols are a must.

Accommodation is in a private apartment, newly renovated. Wifi available. Feel free to take online courses or connect with friends. Cell service works well here. Housing valued at $1000/ month plus mentoring plus food; work hours in lieu of rent are 104 hours a month (4 hours 6 days a week) or 174 hours per couple. We will treat you like family: join us for dinner, as it suits you. Food is excellent, organic where possible and predominately our produce. In your downtime, work on your special projects taking advantage of the infrastructure here, receive talks, films etc on organic farming & marketing & sustainable living, learn willow basket making, bread making, cooking/ preserving. Walk our farm enjoying the varied habitats & trails. Our place is close to hiking trails, Frontenac Park, Bay of Quinte. Local tourist attractions & wineries within an hour's drive (covid permitting).  This is a great opportunity for people who are exploring organic food production, sustainable living, homesteading, writers, meditators, painters, readers, naturalists, bird watchers, or interested in intentional community. 

Farming and taking care of ecological land is serious work. It is not suitable for people who smoke, who cannot do sustained physical labour, or who need to make a lot of noise as we are conscientious to our neighbours.

Interested in the food business? My spouse has been working for decades in the natural food industry, had developed private labels so can speak to new food product development and trends within the natural food industry. 

Potential for future profit-sharing farm ventures such as market garden enterprise for the right candidates. We are also considering members for a future sustainable intentional community. One of our farm interns this year discovered and then went on to start a career in the organic food industry. Note that many of our interns return to us and form part of our farm-based community here. 

Our high-welfare heritage farm is 64 acres of meadow, coniferous & hardwood forest. It is truly a paradise. We are focused upon fostering the best in people and seek the same gentle care in return. Our major enterprises are heritage grass-fed beef, goose for table, oxen teams, registered heritage cattle. 

Do check out our Facebook page under Plainfield Heritage Farm for more photos, comments about our program from previous interns, videos and to get a sense of who we are. Here is a video of my oldest oxen pair logging.

If you have questions, call us at 613-849-7552.

Email resume & cover letter to:

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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: Jun 2 2022    ID: 64670