I'm eager to get in on this conversation. As a relatively new permaculturist with a wonderful place to farm and learn, I am developing many permaculture projects and need help. There is so much I have to offer to an intern or seasonal worker, but cash isn't really one of them. A little, but not a lot. I am challenged, because I took an WSU ag course and they emphasized that it is illegal to have farm worker do work for room and board...you can pay them and them you can have them pay you for room and board, but the whole matter turned me off and I'm trying to sort this business out. I really wonder how other farmers handle the contracting with interns. I believe if I didn't feel unsure about this that I would have a much better way to go out and advertize for a great opportunity for interns...long term or not. Technically, I am interested in folks to join our ecovillage development project at Sahale Learning Center on the Hood Canal. Many permies know us as it was a site for some convergences in the past. I am eager to learn and develop with other and there is so much potential here at Sahale and the added benefit of learning about a community that is 40 years old. I, too, would encourage you Paul to create a mix and match page on your site where people can advertise their need and their offer...or do you have that on here already and I just haven't penetrated the vastness of the pages? (I know I haven't . I imagine you don't have any trouble connecting up with folks wanting to come work with you, but others of us aren't as sure how to hook up and meet up...any suggestions.
Hey there Irene,
My name's Melanie (my partner Michael actually talked to you on the phone the other day! I've been meaning to call you). It sounds like you have quite an amazing thing going over at Sahale. You're doing great! Educating yourself, advertising on growfood.org is a great place. Also, google ATTRA and you'll find a whole slew of farm intern/appenticeships all across the U.S. and Canada. Very well organized with information and free to join. WWOOF is also a good idea, I think there's a fee.
As for the legality... from my experience most people know it is illegal... and therefore it is under the table work/not on the books. Isn't it pretty crazy how the government has us tied up in money and threat? "No transaction can be made without us knowing!" I look at it as small, community transactions. Think, if your community changed to a local currency, how would you write it on your taxes? I dure don't know how that'd work... but just think of the exchange as a barter. So many cultures have used bartering before the monetary value of the U.S. dollar came and overtook, or gold before that. Remember that money is not the only thing that holds value, diversify value! I believe that an exchange of work for a place to live and fresh food grown is well worth it and it is how many internships on farms seem to run.
I just rattled on for a bit, but I hope you find these words to be calming and not alarming! Keep manifesting your dreams and goals with intention Irene. It will all come with ease, no need to worry. It's already happening
- Melanie Glenn
A happy spirit, a driven body, an open mind