Blue Skye Farm Internship

Farm Internship IconThe Blue Skye Farm Internship is a full-time summer residential program at the home of Wolf Camp & School of Natural Science. It’s an entrepreneurial, sustainable homesteading internship informed by the principles of permaculture – training participants to be energy efficient and self-sufficient living off the land. Our certification with the Washington State Farm Internship Project allows us to fill 3 positions. Two positions are available for Summer 2022 so apply right away before space fills.

Skills you will develop include • Organic Fruit Orcharding, Herb & Vegetable Gardening • Wild Edible Foraging & Preparation • Medicinal Herb Collection & Preservation • Farm Animal Care & Cultivation • Sustainable Building & Wetland Restoration • Entrepreneurial Cottage Industry Budgeting • Paleo & Vegan Cooking & Food Storage and more.

FAQ – Mission, Directors & Participants 

The mission of the internship is to guide you to become a self-sufficient homesteader and an expert on sustainability skills.  It is designed for aspiring homesteaders, hobby farmers, and budding entrepreneurs to develop skills of energy conservation and self-sufficiency at our home campus on Blue Skye Farm. Work to learn homesteading, sustainability and permaculture skills which include a revolutionary lifestyle of appropriate living that cultivates the home environment in a way that benefits nature as well as humans.

WJECCArtBook7No matter your previous experience, you will be expected to fully participate in every possible training opportunity to push your skills to a higher level of excellence, although your own health will be the priority. We hope that along with your development of a personal medicine wheel of health, guided by permaculture principles, the values of earth skills, and your own self-care and self-motivation, you become a person to whom anyone could turn to in times of need.

Farm Internship Directors: Kim & Chris Chisholm will be your mentors through this experience, and participants will also receive guidance from veteran staff.

FAQ – Dates, Living Quarters, Cost & Compensation

2022 Dates:  May 21 – August 12 are required full time although for a full experience, we recommend staying through the first week of October when our farmstand season ends, fruit trees are pruned, and gardens are put to bed for the winter.

Living quarters are a private 30′ rv/motorhome (best for a couple) or shared room in farmhouse (best for singles who are careful about cleanliness, sanitation, colds/flus and Covid-19 but who don’t mind farm/camp gear staged all over common areas of the house). Whether in the RV or house, everyone will have full access to the kitchen and bathrooms, and a full-size fridge/freezer and storage space in the barn/garage.

Work-Trade & Compensation: The internship is designed as a work-trade program. Besides produce that is directed to winter storage for farm owners and feeding summer staff, interns may keep 100% of farmstand revenue (open on weekends from June 25 – Oct 2) which varies depending on weather, work productivity, and other variables common to farming. Sales were $2,000 in 2019 with productivity expected to increase by approximately 35% per year as fruit trees mature and berries expand.

We recommend you bring a simple laptop, and even a chromebook is fine since we run of our business on Google Drive. Otherwise, there are no expenditures you will need to make throughout the summer, as all your expenses including room and board, workman’s compensation insurance, etc. are complimentary. However, most participants do supplement our meals, garden and orchard harvests with additional groceries as well as periodic fishing, clamming and wildcrafting trips with Wolf Camp apprentices. To participate in some of those activities, you may need appropriate outdoor gear so check out our Summer Expeditions Packing List for ideas.

Food, facilities, gear, books, transportation between courses and markets, etc. is complimentary in exchange for the help you will be providing such as organizing, packing and periodic kitchen duties. You take care of your own personal variables such as health care and insurance, smart phone and personal vehicle expenses if have you one or both of those, and entertainment if you so choose. You’ll also have free access to books and field guides in the Wolf Camp library.

FAQ – Farm Internship Benefits & Background

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We ran our farm internship periodically as a pilot program over the years until the Washington State Farm Internship Project legislation passed in 2015 and we began the program in earnest. Check out our apprenticeship testimonials from novice apprentices, former campers-turned-instructors, and experienced educators who all succeeded in our summer apprenticeships and agree that results far exceeded expectations.

Some might think that not spending any money all summer, and gaining income from farm sales are the bottom line benefits, but the real bottom line is your transformation into an experienced farmer with foundations in small business management. Successful participants also gain eligibility for employment at Wolf Camp and have strong recommendations for employment elsewhere. Washington State requires that internships are for the benefit of participants. Click that link for a pdf describing state laws about internships.

FAQ – Work Priorities & Skill Goals

Organically raised chickens foraging on grass at Blue Skye Farm.
Organically raised chickens foraging in front of veggie garden at Blue Skye Farm.

Your goals will expand over the course of the summer, from learning the basics of sustainable farming, to the development of your entrepreneurial skills, to being given teaching opportunities during the summer.

1st Priority: Learn to earn a living by producing, marketing and selling farm produce.

2nd Priority: Take care of yourself, while supporting other staff. It is important that you come into the program as healthy and prepared as possible, for although during the training portion of the program your educational needs are the focus, during the summer camp season, the needs of the children at camp will be our focus.

3rd Priority: Develop a working knowledge of the skills. Interns always relate how at the end of the summer, they were amazed at how this “just happened” but on the other hand, with skills like these, it’s all about studying each and every aspect at length.

FAQ – Additional Skills Gained

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2015 Blue Skye Farm Intern Sarah Inskeep at her study site on the barn roof where she always watched the sunset. Edges of garden, chicken coop and house to right.

Specialty Skills

• Sustainable Farming
• Farm Animal Care & Cultivation
• Organic & Biodynamic Herb & Vegetable Gardening
• Appropriate Energy Technologies
• Sustainable Building
• Natural Selection Forestry (chopping and chainsawing, wood splitting and moving)
• Budgeting & Profits from Entrepreneurial Cottage Industry
• Wild Edible Foraging & Preparation (Herbs, Nuts, Roots, Flowers, Fruits, Insects)
• Primitive Cooking & Food Storage (pit cook, clay oven, ash cakes, smoking, jerkying, pemmican)
• Medicinal Herb Collection & Preservation (drawing from knowledge of area herbalists)
• Hide Tanning (wet and dry scraping, brain and other high-tannin methods, hair on and off)
• Clay Harvesting, Molding & Firing
• Parfleching (carrying cases, drum making, sheaths and quivers with fur and tanned hide)

Secondary Skills Introduced

• Birding & Bird Language (academic and song-to-alarm interpretations)
• Naturalist Sketching & Journaling (using sit spots, drawing instruction, quick journaling strategies)
• Wet Fire Maintenance & Fire by Friction (bow drill, hand drill, fire plow, flint & steel)
• Flintknapping & Primitive Tool Making (from harvested stones, bones, wood)
• Bow & Arrow Making (survival bows, self bows, lumber bows, fletching, lashing, etc.)
• Primitive Fishing (wiering, netting, spearing, bow fishing, hand fishing, hook and line, gorges, bullfrogging)
• Natural Water Purification (seeps, filters, rock boiling, and locating natural springs)
• Bowls & Cordage Making (double and triple reverse wrap using nettle, fireweed, cedar, kelp seaweed)
• Bioregional Ecosystems (old growth temperate rainforest, glaciated alpine meadow, intertidal and estuary, river and lake, wetland and bog, desert and sagebrush steppe, mixed pine and subalpine forest)
• Music and the Arts (flute making, drumming, songwriting, poetry, clay sculpting, natural paints, singing and pianos/guitars on hand)
• Risk Management (assessing sites, planning activities, mitigating hazards)
• Emergency Rescue, Advanced First Aid, CPR (wilderness and water settings)
• Health & Organizational Strategies (western lineal and medicine wheel use for self, lessons, projects)
• Incorporating Permaculture & Starting New Schools (examples of non-profits, partnerships, sole ventures, and communities)
• Political Environmentalism (left and right wing strategies, legislative and artistic strategies)

Ready to Apply?

2-3 positions will be available for Summer 2022 so apply right away. Please note that Up-to-date health insurance, CPR certification, and vaccinations (Covid-19, Tetanus, MMR) are required for adults to participate or work in our programs.

Or email us to be put on our our list for this program in the future. We always keep your information absolutely private, and will never share it.

Click here for supplemental FAQs received from applicants. We’re looking forward to receiving your application, but feel free to call or email us so we can clarify any questions you have. There is so very much to gain and to give in this program, so we’re looking forward to sharing it with you. – Kim & Chris Chisholm

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Blue Skye Farm Rainbow Series: View from our barn looking over Meeker Creek restoration project before replanting began in Winter 2015