I am a recent graduate with a degree in psychology, but I'm in a phase of experimenting with different lifestyles and jobs. I'd love to spend a few months working on a farm, doing whatever needs to get done, in exchange for a room, or maybe even as a paid or unpaid intern. I am currently in Portland, Oregon, so somewhere in the Pacific Northwest would be ideal. I have little farm experience, but I have helped my brother in his permaculture landscaping, so I have an appreciation of the ethos and type of work involved in at least that kind of agriculture. I have references from school and other jobs.
When creating your profile on helpx, it would help if you describe some of the permaculture related activities
you helped your brother with, and any transferable skills from your other jobs. Include any skills you want to
learn and if there's a particular aspect of farming you're interested in (organic vegetables, animal husbandry,
agritourism, etc.) Most farms are looking for someone to work a full day, a few look for half-day workers.
And many want interns with a desire to become farmers later on, though some would love any healthy, hard
worker just the same. Be sure to ask about work hours, days off, room and board arrangements, transportation
to grocery stores, etc. if you don't have a vehicle. Include your preferences in your profile.
Include that information on this thread too to get more help and leads from this site.
When you contact farms by email, attach your resume and a recent picture of yourself (they're going to ask for
it anyway). The email also serves as a cover letter, so briefly let them know how you heard about them, why
their farm in particular interests you, and highlight your best qualities and skills as a potential intern.
Cai, thanks for posting! My farm sound vegetables doesn't have any housing right now and we are slowing down for the season, but if you are motivated to learn minimal soil disturbance agriculture and organic methods in the permaculture spirit we are interested in exploring the possibility for next season. Our current internship tries to include as much education as possible and allows you to grow in the way you are interested. For example our current intern is studying to be a dietitian and developing a menu for our CSA with fruits and vegetables that we grow here on the farm. Our last intern was handy In the Woodshop and built us hour roadside egg box and a cool stencil, and all of our interns eat well with crops that we teach them quality and identification Pest Management and harvesting. So if you're interested in living near Seattle next spring or summer and would like to explore the possibility check out our website, we are sound vegetables on all the social media accounts and it is our .com domain as well. We're just about to harvest some greens and kale here's a happening now.
You should definitely check out websites like WWOOF.org, Workaway.info, and ATTRA.ncat.org if you haven't already. All of these sites are a little different in what they offer, but generally the are work trade positions that trade skills for room and board. Each of these sites requires a membership fee of around $20-25, except for Attra which is free. Here's a little rundown on what each site offers:
WWOOF: world wide opportunities on organic farms. Generally these places are good for the beginning farmer who wants to dip their toes into the world of organic farming. Generally shorter stay of 1-3 months with work trade between 15-25hrs/week in exchange for some variation of housing and basic food. Each farm has their own requirement so do your research.
Workaway: workaway offers a variety of skill sharing in exchange for housing and it might not always be farm work. Depending on what you decide you are willing to help with you could be involved in anything including childcare, cleaning around the house, construction, cooking, farm work, and more. Generally the work requirements are between 15-25 hrs/week in exchange for housing and some meals. Length of stay is dependent on each host and can range from 1 week up to 3 months. Average is around 1 month.
ATTRA: Attra is geared towards people who are sincerely interested in pursuing farming as a career path. In the internships/apprenticeships page you will find many listings for farms seeking interns. Generally these internships are for entire farming seasons. Farmers are looking for people who really want to learn the business of work in on and running a farm and are willing to work hard. Interns usually work 40+ hours a week in exchange for housing and produce from the farm. Most farms offer a small stipend as well and may offer basic staple ingredients (rice/beans etc) Every farm is different so it's work it to take your time and find what works for you.