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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

Come experience the fall & winter on our heritage farm & homestead. Learn how to prepare & maintain a farm during winter; manage livestock outside the growing season; use oxen to plow snow & log sustainably; learn how to plan gardens based upon permaculture, polyculture & succession planting and then enjoy walking the various farm habitats, engage in your own projects using our infrastructure or just hang by the fireside.

With the changing season, focus is now on final harvesting and putting down of produce; preparing the gardens, orchard, livestock, farm and our homestead for the winter season. 

Our primary tasks will be livestock care, sustainable logging of diseased trees with oxen; training the oxen calves; preparing the berms for our perennial food forest; rehabilitating the hedgerows/ fencing; harvesting the basket willow rods; farm infrastructure maintenance; building and using the oxen snow shovel and two-wheel tip cart.

This mentorship is a chance to work & enjoy living in harmony with nature while coming to appreciate the realities of farming & homesteading. You will come away learning the challenges facing farming/ organic production; impacts of climate change and ways to build capacity & resilience. Learn the importance of soil building and observe permaculture in action. Learn self-sufficiency strategies and develop homesteading skills like heating with wood, preserving foods, fermentation and sourdough. Learn to work with and experience how draft animals, like oxen, play a very practical role on small, ecological farms. Try your hand at willow basket weaving, carpentry, historic style fence building: all within a cooperative, supportive, hands-on learning environment. Farm interns tell me 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”.

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, 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 and maintaining farm safety protocols are a must.

Part-time duties include farm security/ walking property, daily assisting with oxen, continuing food forest establishment, livestock care, basket willow management, farm/ forest infrastructure maintenance, assisting with carpentry/ construction of oxen equipment, sheds. Must be willing to work in all weather.

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 sustainable living, 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.

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.

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: Sep 8 2021    ID: 61290