2010 Natural Building & Homesteading Internships at Red Earth Farms

by ziggy on February 19, 2010 -- 0 comments -- Follow

My friends Mark and Alyson, who live at Red Earth Farms, are recruiting interns for the 2010 season. They are looking for help with their natural building project, a lovely straw bale barn/house, and with their various gardening and homestead projects. If you are looking for experience, please read their call for internships ahead!

Welcome! We’re Alyson, Mark, and Cole and we’re in our third year of developing the homestead we call Gooseberry Farm, part of Red Earth Farms Community Land Trust. In 2010 we’ll be hosting interns from May through September for flexible lengths of time. If you’re interested in homesteading skills, permaculture, natural building, or life in an intentional community, this opportunity may be for you.

Natural Building Internship

This internship will focus on the completion of our strawbale barn-house. The building is based on current best practices in natural building and passive solar design. It has round pole post-and-beam framing and a cement-free rubble trench foundation. It features an earthbag stem wall, strawbale walls, and a pallet-truss gambrel roof. This year we’ll be doing second floor strawbales, roof insulation, a cob staircase, earthen plasters, a poured adobe floor, electrical wiring, plumbing, and finish carpentry. We will also be adding an outdoor kitchen with a cob bread oven and possibly a thatch roof. Folks accepted for the Natural Building Internship will work mainly with Mark who has seven years of experience doing and teaching natural building. Interns will also get exposure to several other natural building projects happening in our neighboring communities.
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Homestead & Garden Internship

Alyson heads up the gardens and she is looking for an intern whose primary focus is growing and preparing delicious things to eat. This year, besides growing enough food for the family to eat throughout the winter, we will be planting fruit trees, developing a constructed wetland, creating an herb garden, and improving our existing gardens. This internship will include designing the gardens and edible landscape, preparing beds, planting and tending vegetables, scything, baking sourdough bread, cooking from the garden, preserving the harvest, and bringing food to local markets. Our gardens are mostly raised mulched beds, so there is very little weeding. Alyson has studied permaculture and has been growing food since childhood. We also have a charismatic two-year-old daughter called Cole who will want to “help;” interns may be called upon to make sure she does so safely.

Accommodations & lifestyle

Interns should come prepared to camp. We have tent sites with raised platforms. Our meals are mainly vegetarian, and you will be expected to take your turn cooking for the group as soon as you feel ready. We have two weekly potluck dinners: one with our neighbors at Sandhill Farm and Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, and one just for Red Earth Farms. For bathing we have solar showers and a beautiful pond. You will have access to our wireless internet during certain hours of the day. We go to town once or twice a week but otherwise life is pretty much defined by work and play on the farm. Past interns have enjoyed going for a swim and then relaxing in a hammock after a day of hoisting strawbales and picking tomatoes. We think Gooseberry is a great place to spend time, because we like our quiet solitude but we also like to jog over to Dancing Rabbit for the occasional Ultimate frisbee game. Quiet campfires or rowdy dance parties—the choice is yours.

What you’ll get in the bargain

You’ll get a glimpse of three intentional communities and access to our collective knowledge in the areas of growing and preparing food, homestead design, natural building, consensus decision making, and community living. Throughout your internship you will receive direct one-on-one attention from us and the opportunity to learn building and gardening skills in a fast, fun, effective way—by taking part in building a real rural homestead.

What we’ll expect from you

You need to have a good work ethic and be capable of physical labor. It would be great if you have some building or gardening experience but it’s not required. We will choose interns with the best overall fit for the program. Interns will be expected to work about 30-35 hours per week. You’ll also need a way to get here and to wherever you’ll be going when you leave. We can arrange transportation to our place from a nearby train or bus station.

How to contact us if you’re interested

Email: markmazziotti@gmail.com
Or call: 660-883-5329

“Living and working at Gooseberry Farm for the season gave me a taste of what it actually takes to get a homestead going, and how to really integrate the two disciplines I am interested in learning—permaculture and natural building.” —Zeb Sweesy

“Mark and Alyson are very warm and gracious hosts. They have a lot of knowledge to share on a surprising array of subjects. It is clear that both are on this life path because they believe in it, which seems to bring a tough resoluteness and a joyful delight to their game. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend spending some time learning and working with them. I look forward to returning, myself.” —Marke McConnell

“It was fantastic to live with a cycle that was so close to the earth and other human beings.” —Kris Hammerberg

“Being an intern at Gooseberry Farm was an incredibly inspiring experience for me. Mark is a creative and enthusiastic builder and he delights in sharing his craft with anyone who has interest in learning. He and Alyson engender a culture of vigorous work, light-hearted play, and communal bonding that I found nourishing to my mind, body, and soul. I’ve already recommended their internship to many of my friends and I can’t wait to hear how it changes their lives.” —Ashley Schenk

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