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Couple seeking work/income opportunities, farm partnerships in Seatle/Vancouver region  RSS feed

 
Jesse Grimes
Lab Ant
pollinator
Posts: 269
Location: Orange County, CA
155
bee bike forest garden hugelkultur tiny house trees wofati woodworking
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Hello Permies!

We are a young couple (26 and 29 ) who have spent this spring and summer travelling throughout California and the southwest, visiting farms, wwoofing, working and looking for the right place to settle down. We have learned a good deal about what it takes to establish a farm/homestead, gained many skills along the way, and most importantly, formed a clearer idea of what exactly we are looking for. We have had good experiences at all the farms we have visited, and been invited to stay at every farm we have worked with, but we are still looking for the right fit.



One thing that became particularly clear to us during our wwoofing experience is that we already have the skills and experience that most people seek to gain from wwoofing or farm internships. We have come to realize that what we want now is our own piece of land to apply ourselves to, and the financial stability to make that dream possible. So, we are putting out this call in search of paid positions as caretakers, land managers, volunteer coordinators, or any such position that will allow us to live and work in a permaculture farm environment while allowing us to save for our own homestead, either through money or sweat equity. We both have skills that would be useful for employment off of the land as well. What we are looking for is a permaculture based farm/homestead that is in the beginning stages, with like minded land owners who are looking for partners in developing the food systems and infrastructure. We are looking to build a long term stable living situation for ourselves and future family, as well as a good source of income. Alternatively, we could fit well in a more established permaculture farm with demonstration/education as a mission, as volunteer coordinator, kitchen manager, maintenance/groundskeeper, construction, and/or just overall competent helpers.



We have decided on the area around Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA as our preferred location. Ideally on one of the islands in the Peugeot Sound, Canada or USA is fine (Carol-Anne is Canadian and Jesse is a US citizen). We are looking to get established by the time fall rolls around, and be present for the full growing season in 2015.



We are open to a wide range of possibilities. Please let us know what you have in mind. Below is a bit of a resume for each of us, please feel free to ask us any questions you may have!


Carol-Anne -

It became clear early on in life after joining the work force at 13 that there was way more to life than working, and I was puzzled by how many people around me was doing it, every day. In my early 20's, after spending all of my money on food, rent, and living for the weekend, I decided that if I could take care of my own needs, I wouldn't need to work another crappy job. My world opened up when I realized it was a choice I was making. A CHOICE! Ok, I choose not!

I didn't know the how's or what's or much really, but I made the decision to start going after my life-destination of self reliance, and by doing it the only way I knew how at the time. Practicing permaculture in the city by bicycling near and far and every where, buying second hand, starting a garden plot at the community garden, working for an organic cafe/market co-operative, while learning of ways to get what I needed without the use of money. Still, I knew there was no security in city living, and I was looking for more.

In my early 20's, I started seeking out places to gain experience in my chosen lifestyle. I lived for 4 months at a developing permaculture inspired food-forest and off grid retreat in Belize. It was my first experience living in intentional community, and I was exposed to the blessings and perils of sharing my living and working environment with the same (4) people every day. I came as a student, and a month into my internship I was put in charge of managing the kitchen, which meant creating and preparing three unique whole food, in season, organic, high-raw vegan meals a day, planning for the once/week market shopping trip while making sure that everything was used before expiration, keeping order and thinking of ways to function more efficiently in the kitchen, and keeping the living spaces clean and pest-free. Beyond kitchen and household duties, I was taught how to observe the land and spring, to love the plants and seeds that I was to nurture, build garden beds, and came to understand the amount of time and work involved in order to become fully self-sufficient.

During this time, I was a raw-food chef for 3 years at Eternal Abundance in Vancouver, BC, in a year going from having no experience to co-managing the kitchen, creating new dishes to put on the menu, and producing mass quantities of food to feed hundreds of mouths for large and small events. I dedicated my life to insuring the community had healthy affordable food, and spent most of my time away from the kitchen helping build the business. I put my organizing and cleaning skills to use in massive cleansings of the kitchen and store, and helped transform a small cafe to a budding community hub.

I have since lived and visited at a handful of other developing homesteads in California, where the prime focuses for me were on observing the land, thinking creatively to organize space so that operations ran more efficiently, and preparing healthy food on a budget. At these homesteads I proved to be a skilled apprentice in that I am able to focus on the task, take instruction, and complete the job within my experience level with little to no supervision. I am becoming skilled at manual labour and know how to use a shovel and pick-axe, use a paintbrush and swing a hammer. I have started gaining experience and comfort with power tools, saws, and enjoy the process of learning new tools and skills. I enjoy physically demanding tasks (food and sleep are so much better after a hard day!) that produce results.

I have some experience with building hugelkultur, building raised beds, dry stacking rock walls, fencing, working with heavy machine operators, trail building, burn piles and controlled burns. I have also worked with round pole construction, having recently spent a few days working on Paul Wheaton's 'wofati' design at his laboratories, as well as a a cob oven shelter last fall.

Along with personal experience, I have watched nearly all of geoff lawton's videos, listened to Paul Wheaton's podcasts, and have started the full immersion of permaculture through reading. My favourite and preferred method of learning still, is always through careful - and often lengthly - observation, and hands on experience.

Beyond organizing, food preperation, and labour, I am a caregiver and love to be with children, animals, and those who require extra attention. My ultimate role which I aspire to in a community will be a 'mother hen' of household, who tends her flock, keeping an eye out for health, happiness, and order.

I have bicycled across Canada, down the west coast of the United States, and all throughout California, living very frugally and rustically in all sorts of climates and environments. I have been living out of a tent or on forest floors for the past year, solo and with my partner Jesse, and have the confidence to be with the forest and all of its critters. The metaphor of climbing up grueling mountains only to coast to the bottom with a huge whoop of delight is not lost on me, and I have built so much endurance, stamina, and willpower through these journies.

Other than bicycling, growing food, eating and making healthy vegan food and living the good forested life, my joys come from the ukelele, practicing staff and the hula hoop, yoga, writing, music, and being with the ocean.


Jesse:

Since learning about Permaculture in 2011, I have been eagerly absorbing any and all knowledge I can find on the subject via books, videos and online content from the likes of Geoff Lawton and Paul Wheaton. In the summer of 2013 I was finally able to attend a 2 week permaculture design certification course with the Southern Oregon Permaculture Institute. I have always had a designer’s mind, inventing, building, and fixing things since my childhood. Permaculture fit right into my nature, and I am currently working on designing the lifestyle and future in which I will be truly fulfilled. Not only fulfilled in the sense of a lifelong project of helping nature build an abundant world for myself and others, but the whole of community, culture, family, art, music, and spirituality that are encompassed by the art and science of permaculture design.

A large part of my passion for permaculture is a strong drive to teach and share these concepts with the world, however, the more I learn about permaculture the more I realize that I have so much more to learn. I have found that by teaching others I learn more myself, cementing the principles in my mind and making new connections between concepts I once thought of as separate. The more I learn and teach, the more I realize that there really is no separation in nature or ourselves, this is the concept I most want to teach and explore.


I know that I will never be able to learn and develop this lifestyle without contributing a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears of my own. I can’t, and don’t expect to receive the gifts I am seeking without bringing something to the table myself. The exchange of energy must be equal on both sides of a relationship for the cycle to continue, in nature, work, community and friendship. So with that in mind, here is what I have to offer:

I have a lifetime of mechanical knowledge and experience, a tremendous gift handed down from my Grandfather, to my Father and to myself. I knew the difference between a crescent wrench and a pipe wrench before I could read. I learned the proper use of tools very early on, and over the years have been taught or taught myself how to build or fix just about anything. I can’t claim to be an expert in everything, but I have remodeled my own house, fixed my own cars, and can consider myself proficient in many crafts including: woodworking, framing, plumbing, masonry, roofing, welding/fabrication, electrical, fiberglass (surfboard shaping and repair), drywall, and more recently cob and natural building. Anything I don’t know how to do I can confidently learn, and I am well aware that learning a craft starts with handing the master his tools.

Most of my professional experience has been as a mechanic. One of my first jobs was at a bicycle shop, and I can fix anything on a bike. I have at times supported myself as a handyman, doing household repairs and small construction jobs. My greatest experience comes from my 5 years as a maintenance mechanic for the Santa Margarita Water District in Orange County, CA. Here I worked on the street crew, maintaining a water and sewer system for 155,000 residents. I had the opportunity to become familiar with a wide variety of tools, equipment and processes, while working on everything from a ¾ inch pvc house line to a 40” butterfly valve in a pumping station. I worked around and operated all kinds of heavy equipment including forklifts, front end loaders, cranes, dump trucks, water pumps and high power vacuum trucks. I obtained a class A commercial drivers licence and am comfortable driving any size vehicle, although I no longer maintain the class A license.

My years at the water district were a tremendous opportunity to gain from a number of master mechanics a proficient understanding of their crafts. I also learned that in many situations, like when a water main is broken, you keep working until the job is done, even if that means digging in a muddy hole for hours. However, from permaculture I have learned the value of prolonged and protracted observation, and how that can prevent the need for hours of labor to correct a previous mistake. I began to see the inefficiency and fragility of the large scale water/sewer system, while at the same time discovering that the money and security provided by the full time blue collar lifestyle was not worth as much to me as the time and freedom to pursue my growing passion for permaculture, and the lifestyle that it supports. I left the water district in 2012, radically simplified my life, and have been travelling and learning about permaculture ever since. In the last year, through my wwoofing and farm work experiences, I have gained skills in such tasks as rock wall building, trail building, tree planting, greywater systems, round pole construction, and spent over 25 hours operating a skid-steer while sculpting a "permaculture pump track." Moreover, I found that many of the mechanical skills that I have taken for granted as common knowledge were not very common, and were in fact well valued by the people we were working for. I spent many hours performing maintenance and repairs that other volunteers did not have the skill for.



I started gardening over 10 years ago in containers on a small balcony, and since then have always had a garden in whatever space was available to me. I have done a lot of my own research and experimentation in biointensive raised beds and companion plantings, trying to get the most out of the small urban gardens I have tended. I am no expert, but I am proud to say I have developed a green thumb. I did a youtube garden journal of last year’s garden up until about the solstice, and you can see the last entry here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUXoAFmr-iE

I am very interested in natural building and have been doing my own research on this as well. I have fully absorbed the Hand-Sculpted House book, as well as the rocket mass heater book, and would love to be able to put this information to use. Cob wall building was part of my PDC, and I also did two days of volunteer work at the Quail Springs permaculture farm helping to install an earthen floor. I attended a 3 day lecture series by Michael Reynolds of Earthship Biotechture, where I learned the concepts and systems behind earthships and other self sustained housing. I have also done research into the work of mike oehler, John Hait and the “Wofatis” of Paul Wheaton. Recently I had the opportunity to spend a few days helping to build the newest Wofati at Paul Wheaton's lab. I have a good informational understanding of the concepts and techniques of self-sustained natural building, and have found that these methods fit nicely into my previous experience with traditional building and construction. Building with natural materials is starting to become my biggest passion.

Over the past few years I have been developing my skills as a teacher and community organizer, primarily through my passion for flow arts and fire spinning. I discovered flow arts as an exercise, meditation and creative expression about 10 years ago, but spent the first 5 years spinning by myself. I co-founded a group called OC Fire Spinners in 2010 with the intention of bringing together people in my area who were interested in fire spinning. I hosted meetings and events, taught workshops, and spread the word about the group wherever I could. Today we have over 250 members and growing, and the community members have taken it upon themselves to organize events and bring more people together. We formed a fire performance troupe called Burning Sensation, which has performed in the Great Circle at the Burning Man festival in front of 50,000 people, three years running. Here is our audition video from last year, I helped lead the Water tribe in the 3rd act.http://youtu.be/u5d-x8mFmDU My goal is to be able to do the same thing with permaculture, in whatever area I happen to be living. I have hosted permaculture workshops and classes in the Orange County area, trying to teach people about permaculture principles and get them excited to start their own projects and gardens. Here is one of my facebook event pages: https://www.facebook.com/events/285826441564782

I would love to work with a group or organization with the shared goal of teaching permaculture to the public, organizing and teaching workshops.


I am also a musician and singer/songwriter, with experience in recording and releasing my own music. I play guitar, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica, didgeridoo, trumpet, and a little bit of whatever else I can get my hands on. You can find my music atoneheartfire.bandcamp.com
 
Scott Elliott
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Are you going to Burning Man this year? I would like to join a permaculture camp there.
 
Jesse Grimes
Lab Ant
pollinator
Posts: 269
Location: Orange County, CA
155
bee bike forest garden hugelkultur tiny house trees wofati woodworking
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Sorry, not going to Burning Man this year. I'd like to direct my energy and resources elsewhere at this time. I'm sure you can find a permaculture camp through the forums on burningman.org . They may even have a camp search feature. Have a good time!
 
Kate Michaud
Posts: 77
Location: Ontario, Canada
4
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I may very well have what you're looking for...but in Renfrew County, Ontario.
No point me providing any further info here, unless you'd be interested in coming East.
in
So please to let me know, and I will provide all the details.

K
 
Jesse Grimes
Lab Ant
pollinator
Posts: 269
Location: Orange County, CA
155
bee bike forest garden hugelkultur tiny house trees wofati woodworking
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Thank you Kate, but we would like to be in a temperate climate. Good luck.
 
mike wood
Posts: 15
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Hi J. Try the caretaker gazette for paid opportunities. It's global but a lot of posts for the NW.

Hi Kate. Did you just move back there from Moncton a couple years ago?
 
Kate Michaud
Posts: 77
Location: Ontario, Canada
4
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Hi Mike

No, sorry, never actually lived in Moncton, although I've traveled through there a few of times (decades ago).
Not originally from Renfrew County either, moved here in 1998, and started this homestead.

K
 
Agustin Magnus
Posts: 6
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Hello Jesse and Carol-Anne,

I have been busy working a normal job-type-job and planning a way to get out and lurking here off and on for a while and saw your post. I don't want to waste your time but if you are still looking for something just let me know. The permaculture model I am looking to start is thus:

1. Sell my house and purchase a certain piece of land(1.5 hours from home) next spring. Western WA.
2. Start immediately during vacations etc. to develop the land. Access, water, structures...do it smart and slow w/o debt.
3. Invite a few good folks to live and work there and develop their own enterprises on the land while helping me to develop my own. Enterprises should be complementary and non-competetive. Profit sharing, rent for work, I am open to many creative and equitable scenarios with the emphasis on equitable. Your time and experience is valuable, but I won't have money at least for a while...
4. Start a farm business and slowly(within a few years) transition out of my current work into what I SHOULD be doing. Current work will finance much of the infrastructure/improvements.

Things I'd like to do: Market garden, harvest forest resources, mushrooms, perhaps chickens or goats, bike repair(bet you could show me some things Jesse!)...

Tell me, what would YOU TWO like to do? What kind of enterprise would fulfill you or get you up in the morning?

About me: 40m, single with a ladyfriend, engineer/scientist, tired of the city, cyclist, hiker...very handy, creative, probably a bit cerebral, earnest, hardworking, probably some anarchist leanings in there...hahaha.
Studied anthropology, spanish, botany, chemistry, electronics, engineering, wilderness medicine, forestry...yip, I'm a geek.

I would be able to offer, for example, a stable, quiet, fertile piece of land in a pretty spot with good market access where you could develop your skills, make a living, be part of a (yet formed) community, where we build a workshop, house, guest house(your house!) and associated buildings/infrastructure from the ground up. Save money from your own enterprise/s without too much financial risk, establish yourselves as businesspersons...

Ya know, something like that.

I also invite others to contact me as just having more friends and connections would be great. Perhaps there is a place for you too...
FYI - everything would be written out, agreed upon beforehand in a normal business manner where all of our interests are respected and protected.

fixie
 
Kristine Winniford
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Hi Jesse & Carol-Anne,

I don't know if you've found what you're looking for but if you're willing to go a bit East we may have a great opportunity for you. We're in Rice WA, about 50-60 mi from the BC border and about 5-6 hours from Seattle. We have 45 acres. We currently operate a fairly large CSA - 65 shares last season and shooting for 100 in 2015. 22 acres are being planned for a permaculture project while the other 22 acres includes are current market garden and livestock rotation, as well as hay pasture. We have dairy goats, chickens, yaks, cats, a dog, and 4 kids. My husband (Andrew) and I (Kristine) are in our early 30's. We just moved out here from our more urban location in Coeur d'Alene ID last February. We have a great thing going on out here but we need knowledgeable help. Ideally 2 people, 1 who can work with my husband on the garden stuff and another who can help me with animals and food preservation. Everyone works on harvest days! In addition to the CSA we'd also like to add another farmers market to the mix next season (we took the last season off of markets). We working on setting up a Grade A Dairy (CHEESE!!!) as well as planting an orchard and more berries. Really there's so much work to do.

For compensation, to the right couple (and we will be VERY particular as we are hoping for a long term living situation), we have a home site (w/ water and electricity) where we can easily put a pre-fab'd tiny home. All the food a small army can eat and a salary dependent on a number of things. We are flexible on the time spent on farm. Ideally someone would live out here year round, but 1/2 year would be ok too. Get in touch if you want hear more!

Sincerely,
Kristine
www.winnifordfamilyfarm.com
 
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