• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • r ranson
  • Jay Angler
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Timothy Norton
  • Christopher Weeks
gardeners:
  • Saana Jalimauchi
  • Jeremy VanGelder
  • Ulla Bisgaard

Looking to make a change, internship or apprenticeship advice needed

 
Posts: 3
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Hi y'all,  
I'm hoping you'll be able to share some crumbs of advice for my situation. I'm 25F, and unattached. I feel like if I don't make the leap now I never will.

I have a degree in biology and currently work in a biomedical lab, it's killing me. Genuinely. I've made it a year and a half and I've decided it's not for me.

I'm beginning to look into internships and apprenticeships related to permaculture farming and livestock management. I currently have as large of a vegetable garden as my space will allow. I've volunteered in equine therapy, wildlife rehab, and animal shelters. I have a basic understanding of equine management as I traded barn chores for lessons throughout my teens. The city I currently live in is not urban agriculture, or community garden friendly.

I don't know where to start when considering the positions that are listed online. I do have a blue heeler that I would have to bring with me, which I'm pretty sure will be an issue.
I'd really like to find a position that provides a stipend and housing. I'm absolutely willing to relocate and I have a good bit of savings I've built up after graduating college.

Any advice on what to look for in the internship postings, as well as what a reasonable pay structure would be. Any words of wisdom you can offer are absolutely welcome.

Thank you in advance,

Erin
 
pollinator
Posts: 1780
Location: Victoria BC
314
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I stuck it out in my IT(stands for Intensely Terrible, right?) Job for 5.5 years. Awful.

But, I saved a bunch of money while I did it, living cheaply in shithole apartments and deleting all luxuries.This gave me a great deal of freedom to do what I pleased after that...

If you are making decent coin and saving money, I would suggest giving yourself a target date... but save some more money first. Money is a very useful tool.


In my area, stipends vary from none to slim for entry level stuff. A half decent wage is possible with experience and a bit of luck..



When I left, I went straight to a farm apprenticeship, then to helpxing/volunteering, to a long term worktrade on a farm, to owning my own.


If I did it again, I very much would NOT consider any sort of fixed/long term commitment early on.


I visited the farm that I apprenticed on for an afternoon, met the farmer and her long term helper, and signed on for the season. I did not have the experience to spot the red flags, and 2ft of snow hid a lot of chaos.


It was an interesting summer. It turned out that this farmer was over her head, and dead set on digging herself deeper. There were grossly inadequate systems, damned near tools, and all her funds
were spent immediately on things like plants and livestock... and nearly all time was spent trying to keep the plants and livestock alive with terribly inefficient systems.

The very thing that attracted me to that farm from the list online was the huge diversity of things.

But.. ALL of them were being done poorly. We killed ourselves planting market gardens, then lacked the time to care for and harvest the crops. Livestock died. Predators got fat. We spent days on end doing things to save a hundred bucks after blowing thousands on 5x the plants that we had time to plant, and then I found a hundreds of dollars worth of plants still in pots, abandoned after the *last* overenthusiastic ordering spree...


It turned out to be very educational, in terms of what NOT to do...






In any case... my advice in a nutshell:

1) Save some more cash, while learning more from books and the net. Let the pandemic fade..

2) Get mobile; something cheap and easy to move... campervan, mini-skoolie, truck+camper... Not a huge trailer, not an expensive tinyhome.

3) Pick up more experience without committing to long term stays. WWOOF, Helpx, etc. It was always easy for me to stay longer if I wanted, given that I had my own housing; it also let me go to sites on short notice where the housing was full, but they could use another body. The flexibility, comfort, security, personal space was great.

I would think this would help quite a bit with the dog issue, too.


4) Seek a longer term, paid placement as you do this. Best case you stumble into a perfect match right away, worst case(barring zombies..) it takes a while, but you become both more valuable and more discerning as you collect experience.

5) Settle in to live on site, secure in the knowledge that your savings are growing while you live on your stipend.



Another advantage of this approach is that you can bounce around figuring out what region suits you, too.


PS: I have very little grasp of what utility that biology degree could provide in terms of career options; it seems at least somewhat relevant? ..hopefully someone else will know that side of things better!


Good luck!
 
Erin Manley
Posts: 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
D,

Thank you for taking the time to share all of that! It’s much appreciated! I’m hoping my degree will at least give a foot in the door since my agricultural experience is lacking.

I’ve been interested in skoolies for a while now and think something like that is a great suggestion!

I’ll keep everything you said in mind when I’m looking at option!

Are there any specific red flags that I should keep in mind? I’m also mildly concerned about my safety in woofing/helpx, do you have any words of wisdom in this department?
 
D Nikolls
pollinator
Posts: 1780
Location: Victoria BC
314
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Erin Manley wrote:D,

Thank you for taking the time to share all of that! It’s much appreciated! I’m hoping my degree will at least give a foot in the door since my agricultural experience is lacking.

I’ve been interested in skoolies for a while now and think something like that is a great suggestion!

I’ll keep everything you said in mind when I’m looking at option!

Are there any specific red flags that I should keep in mind? I’m also mildly concerned about my safety in woofing/helpx, do you have any words of wisdom in this department?




NP; sorry for the wait; moved the tinyhouse away from the solar array to start a mudroom, and when I moved it back the sun vanished just when I needed to charge my batteries! Finally got a bit of juice for the laptop today..


RE: skoolies, if at all possible I would suggest buying someone else's failed project, something at the point where you can see how bad the work will be. I spent a LOT more time on my 20ft bus than I intended, all the problems were well concealed behind factory panelling..

My 20'er was a perfect fit for many  places. It is a single rear wheel E350 with a bus body the same width as the cab; the extra width of a dually would have kept me out of at least a couple places.

Doing it again, I'd probably put a box truck at the top of the list, something around 24ft total length, but a shortbus skoolie would work fine. Juuust enough extra living space to make a big difference vs the ~13ftx6.5ft that I had.. but I sure wouldn't do a 40' fullsize skoolie unless I was specifically planning on an area with lot of wide open spaces; here on the west coast, *very* few places that I went would have been accessible!



RE: specific red flags, what I should have been watching for was basically farms that were not on any sort of trajectory to function as a self sustaining unit, due to a management system best describing as optimistic flailing. This is not to say that this is what you will need to watch out for... my hope in advocating for short stays is that a few of those will inform your criteria for a longer term arrangement much better than my advice could!



RE: safety, I believe I was safer traveling and helpxing than living/working on the outskirts of a modest sized city. The only times it felt sketchy in terms of people was when I was in or near a city; I made a point of NOT sleeping in a city.

I had some sort of creature stalk me while hiking down a mountain in the dark, and I damn near got swept out to sea by a rogue wave... but I had zero issues with people. Oh, and I blew up a power transformer. Protip, get a backup camera. In my defense, some dummy painted it fog grey, and it was hella foggy..

I was alone with no cellphone, and nobody knew where I was. OTOH, I'm male, able-bodied, and I keep a knife on me. So, my risk profile is a bit different. Still, can't say my safety advice for your scenario is any different than I would advise for any other lifestyle..

1) Listen to your gut, and leave if something seems off. Have the resources to do this, IE, keep your vehicle in good shape, and have the money to get it fixed and/or towed if something comes up.
2) Have the mindset to assert and defend yourself, and the means to do so. If you don't have the former, the latter is no use, and you're better off with just a phone.


Self defense/martial arts training, with the right dojo, is an all around excellent thing. Most places give a free starter class, check some out and see what you like!

I took Yoshinkan Aikido for a couple years, until I moved to a place where there is none. Loved it. Deeply regret that I didn't do it many years earlier. It is mostly about redirection, a proactively defensive art.. this was a good fit for me, I have enough aggression built in that I wasn't seeking an art that emphasizes this mindset. If you are a bit more hesitant, a more offensively focused art might be a great balance.


I don't believe or want to imply that you're very likely to need anything beyond item 1.. but IMO it's like fire extinguishers and car insurance, something one should do as a matter of course.



Hopefully I haven't preached too much, hope you'll let us know how things progress!

PS: I'm pretty sure there is a forum rule against mentioning pets without posting a pic..
 
It's weird that we cook bacon and bake cookies. Eat this tiny ad:
Can we do it? Freaky Cheap Tickets to the 2025 Permaculture Technology Jamboree - this weekend only!
https://permies.com/wiki/259997/Freaky-Cheap-Tickets-Permaculture-Technology
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic