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Position: Ecological/Permaculture Gardener with Potential Permaculture Internship Program
Type: full-time, entrepreneurial potential, some food, accommodations, more (see below)
Organization: Living Landscapes Eco-Logical Design

Location: near Madoc, Ontario (east of Peterborough)
Housing provided: yes
Renum.: Not a paid job. Learning opportunity + potential joint venture income (see below)

Living Landscapes Eco-Logical Design is opening up existing and new market and educational garden spaces for 2 additional people to utilize for guided learning and limited market gardening for profit.

This is an internship Permaculture Design Course opportunity with some potential for market gardening and income from joint venture sales (not a paid job). There is potential for ongoing involvement, an expanding role, and on-site or remote partnership opportunities. Participating in plant and produce sales is optional though preferred (at the Peterborough Regional Farmers Market and possibly the Marmora Farmers Market in the spring). We will negotiate fair income from market sales based on time and other commitments of all individuals involved.

Role and Responsibilities

  • Utilizing the gardens as market gardens to earn money at the markets (optional) while learning or expanding holistic ecology-based garden and farm design skills and applying them.
  • Co-planning and implementing perennial and annual mixed market and educational gardens.
  • Collaboratively implementing soil building programs in existing and new gardens.
  • Collaboratively implementing gardens around existing trees and shrubs.
  • Planting trees, shrubs, herbs and other plants.
  • Propagating and caring for plants for plant nursery (entitles you to ongoing plants--see more in "Opportunities" below).
  • You must be willing to take responsibility for co-managing gardens and will be working independently frequently.
  • You must be willing to take direction on implementation and maintenance strategies. Gardens must adhere to ecological principles, including no-till practices (although one initial establishment tilling may be used), perennial polyculture designs, and attention to other important factors such as biodiversity, soil-building, economic opportunities, and community involvement.
  • Other opportunities for off-hour off-site jobs in landscaping and garden maintenance may also be available for interested candidates. Inquire if interested.
  • Minimum 30 hours/week of work required (e.g. 6 hours/day 5 days/week). Approximately half of this work is market gardens and half is other activities as described above (varies with time of year). Market days are not included as part of the work and are a separate money earning potential.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Must have a Permaculture Design Certificate or begin getting up to speed and working towards one immediately through an offered curriculum (separate beyond required work hours).
  • Ability to work unsupervised required. You must be able to take responsibility for your work, and proactively seek out guidance if you need help, with the goal of becoming increasingly independent and self-sufficient (though there will be ongoing guidance and collaboration).
  • Exceptional organizational and planning skills required.
  • Business, sales and/or marketing skills and experience an asset.
  • Highly motivated and self-directed (after becoming aware of responsibilities).
  • Gardening, farming, or market gardening experience an asset.
  • Ecological knowledge and ecological restoration or ecosystem management experience an asset.

Location Info

We are located in a small, budding off-grid community. Our farm is located north of Madoc, Ontario (between Ottawa and Toronto just off Highway 7, north of Belleville about 45 minutes).


The start time is as soon as March, and if there is space at the time (there may not be), start time can be as late as the beginning of August before we leave for 4-6 weeks. Another possible 2020 start time is when we get back in September or October, for the fall planting and harvest season and for preparing next year's work. An ongoing, evolving partnership role is a potential.

Learning and Other Opportunities

If you don't already have demonstrated experience in holistic agroecology or permaculture farming or gardening, you must be willing to complete a structured Permaculture Design Internship over the course of a month, culminating in a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC):

  • Permaculture designer and teacher Trent Rhode will work directly with you, facilitate your stay, and support your ongoing learning by supplying basic to advanced learning resources and guidance as required. Trent has 14+ years of experience in permaculture/ecological design that includes a permaculture teacher training, 2 design courses (including one as part of teaching team), mentorship by experienced regenerative farmers, gardeners and restoration ecologists, training through the University of Guelph and University of Victoria, and experience running his own permaculture design company since 2012. Trent is currently a member of the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA). This will be his fourth season facilitating the PDC internship program.

  • Garden coordinators who contribute to regenerating the land and caretaking the plant nursery will be entitled to extra plants grown at the nursery in perpetuity, as they are available (usually in the spring). We always grow too many plants that can't be planted due to space, resources and time constraints (we have to overplant seeds, as germination rates and available labour are unpredictable). You will have access to these plants each year (e.g. walnuts, aronia, fruit rootstock, hazelnut, veggies, medicinal herbs, etc.).
  • Permaculture Design Interns will work through a permaculture/forest garden based structured internship program during the 2020 growing season (or beyond), and will earn a PDC, while helping with and learning about setting up a permaculture homestead and perennial polyculture based forest garden and nursery. Shorter work-exchange opportunities are also available – please inquire.

    • This includes installing the next stages of perennial polyculture gardens and orchards throughout the property, a passive solar greenhouse, aquaculture systems, and setting up infrastructure for egg birds.

  • Permaculture Design Internships are a minimum of 30 hours/week of hands on work for 1 month, but the program can extend to 6+ months (this will be coordinating/implementing gardens and extra hours beyond this potentially selling produce if interested), with evening times for studying and at the end of the 1 month study period doing a design project. Working out other time frames (e.g. 1 month here, 1 month away, 1 month here) is possible - please inquire.

  • Internships are structured by skillset topics and seasonal necessity-based learning, but a core curriculum required for a PDC will be the foundation, particularly in the fist month. The PDC core curriculum is based on PINA's core curriculum.

  • The spring work will be seed starting (including from seeds currently going through treatment), nursery care that will involve learning about plants, as well as co-designing and planting new gardens, caring for already planted plants, and planting vegetables, trees and other perennials in pots and in the ground.

  • Summer is mostly maintenance, harvest, design, nursery and plant care, and preparing new garden areas.

  • Fall will involve preparing new garden areas for spring, more design, and of course harvest, as well as food and medicine preservation and processing, including canning, drying and making tinctures.

  • Regardless of time of year, the program will involve reading books and multi-media course materials in your own time, doing exercises and activities, and discussions with the facilitator, community members, and other current and past interns. The longer you stay, the more things you will learn about.

  • We also have an option for house sitting for 4-6 weeks in mid-August to September, staying in our off-grid tiny home. We will be away during this time but will still be available and in communication. Others will be on the land at this time as well running a separate market garden.
  • Other work exchanges are also possible for shorter periods, though you will not be able to earn a PDC (requires 1 month minimum commitment, though again, this can be over a longer period).

Accommodation Details

  • Our garden coordinator cabin is currently full (it only fits 1), but there is space for "glamping" for another coordinator, with access to a screened in kitchen, water, electricity to charge devices, and Internet. We also have winter sleeping bags you can use until it gets warmer, but you will have to bring a tent and other bedding, though if you don't have one, for the right candidate we may be able to supply a tent and bedding. Additionally, from late August to late September, you could stay in our home while we are away, and there may be space over the late fall and winter in a building as well.
  • We will supply staple bulk food items in the kitchen including different types of nuts and seeds, flour, rice, legumes, and oats.
  • You will also be entitled to food from what we grow, which will provide all or a significant portion of your vegetables when they are in season, and some fruit. This is not a WWOOF opportunity, however, and we will not provide for all of your food needs beyond the aforementioned items.
  • You will have access to a large cooler that you can keep stocked with rotating ice containers from our freezer.


To apply, please send an email to:
briefly explaining why you'd like to do this internship, how long of a commitment you are interested in, possible start and end dates, and your experience with permaculture, ecology, organic gardening/farming, or agriculture in general. You may call 705-313-4769 for more information.

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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: Feb 17 2020    ID: 56091