Blue Skye Farm Internship

Farm Internship IconThe Conservation College Blue Skye Farm Internship is a full-time summer residential program. 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. One room is still available for Summer 2019 so apply right away.

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

2019 Dates:  June 7 – September 21 are required full time, and you can also extended your stay with complimentary room and board through October. Our certification with the Washington State Farm Internship Project allows us to fill just 3 positions. One room is still available for Summer 2019 so apply right away.

Tuition & Compensation: The internship is designed as a work-trade program where by the end of the summer, you are reimbursed as least as much as you spent. The official tuition for the program is $1,500 which is equivalent to your first week of training workshops totaling $300, plus two additional training camp weeks at a discounted $600/wk rate each. However, we will put your up-front tuition contribution in a designated savings account, out of which you will receive reimbursements from helping at a couple of camps in August as well as from farm sales: interns split 50% of shared revenue which varies depending on weather, intern productivity, and other variables common to farming.

There are absolutely no other expenditures you will need to make throughout the summer, as all your expenses including room and board, workman’s compensation insurance, etc. are complimentary. Food, facilities, gear, books, transportation between courses and markets, etc. is complimentary in exchange for all the help you will be providing such as organizing, packing and periodic kitchen duties. Again, you don’t have to spend an additional dime after arrival except for personal variables such as smart phone and personal vehicle expenses if have you one or both of those, and weekend entertainment if you so choose. You’ll also have free access to books and field guides in the Conservation College library, as well as complimentary guidance through  Wolf Journey Earth Conservation Course field exercises as time allows.

FAQ – Farm Internship Benefits & Background

Blue Skye Farm Rainbow Series: House & Orchard under reconstruction Winter 2015

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. Curriculum for the program will include field exercises from the Wolf Journey Earth Conservation Course including Book I: Trail of the Neighborhood NaturalistBook II: Trail of the Traditional Herbalist  and Book VII: Trail of the Sustainable Citizen. 

1st Priority: Learn to earn a living by producing, marketing and selling farm produce. The Conservation College will cover expenses like farmer’s market booth fees and city permits for farm stands on the street, so revenues will be split 50/50 on everything you produce and sell from our farm.

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

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)

FAQ – Summer Schedule

2017 Farmer’s Market Booth

June 2019 Calendar

June 7: Friday Orientation & Orting Farmers Market

June 8: Saturday Meeker Creek Restoration Work Party, Puyallup Farmers Market, Streetside Farmstand Prep & Evening Campfire

June 9-14: Learn Daily Farm Chores; Greenhouse, Tilling & Transplanting Processes. Direct Sow Summer Crops, including co-create potted plant production of Herbs, Tomatoes, Peppers & More.

June 15 Saturday Workshop: Sustainable Home & Gardens – Living on an Acre

June 17: Individual Conferences, Recycling & Gear Trainings

June 18-20: Wolf Journey Earth Conservation Course Trainings

June 21: Morning CPR-AED required if not currently certified, and then 3-7 PM Orting Farmer’s Market sales training, and evening solstice campfire with all staff.

June 22: Wolf Journey and farm chores.

June 23-29: Caretake Blue Skye Farm from Sunday-Thursday and run Friday Orting Farmers Market booth. Expect half weeding/watering/planting/chores, half research/harvesting/advertising/selling/accounting this week.

July 2019 Calendar

June 30 – July 5: Attend the Outdoor Teachers Training. In addition to adult training curriculum, mixed-age classes include orienteering, wildlife tracking and birding, wilderness survival and fire making, wild edible and medicinal plants, plus an Independence Day fun-run/walk/bike/skate.

July 6-7: Saturday Catch Up with Kim/Chris; Sunday Prep Youth Camps

July 8-12: Blue Skye Farm Kids Day Camp in Puyallup from 9:00-4:00 and caretake Blue Skye Farm & Farmstand in the evenings, plus Friday Orting Farmer’s Market Booth.

July 13-14: Saturday Catch Up with Kim/Chris; Sunday Prep Youth Camps

July 15-19: Wilderness Survival Day Camp in Puyallup from 9:00-4:00 to learn emergency survival skills and prepare for assisting August camps, and caretake Blue Skye Farm & Farmstand in the evenings.

July 20-21: Saturday Catch Up with Kim/Chris; Sunday Prep Youth Camps;

July 22-26: Wildlife Tracking & Birding Day Camp in Puyallup from 9:00-4:00 to prepare for assisting August camps and to learn more sign of birds, rodents, predators, insects and other critters important to farming, and caretake Blue Skye Farm & Farmstand in the evenings.

July 27: Saturday Catch Up with Kim/Chris;

August 2019 Calendar

July 28 – Aug 2: Attend the Wild Cooking & Herbal Medicine ethnobotany training for deeper learning about plants.

August 3-4: Saturday Catch Up with Kim/Chris; Sunday Off;

August 5-9: Caretake Blue Skye Farm & Streetside Farmstand with optional work at Four Elements Organic Farm & Friday Orting Farmers Market.

August 10-11: Saturday Catch Up with Kim/Chris; Sunday Prep Youth Camps;

August 12-16: Wild Cooking & Herbology Day Camp in Puyallup from 9:00-4:00 for $600 tuition reimbursement, and caretake Blue Skye Farm & Farmstand in the evenings.

August 17-18: Saturday Catch Up with Kim/Chris; Sunday Off;

August 19-23: Caretake Blue Skye Farm & Streetside Farmstand with optional work at Four Elements Organic Farm & Friday Orting Farmers Market.

August 24-25: Saturday Catch Up with Kim/Chris; Sunday Off;

August 26-30: Assist at the Lake Sammamish Family Camp with $600 tuition reimbursement available.

September: Caretake Blue Skye Farm & Streetside Farmstand with optional work at Four Elements Organic Farm and complimentary fall workshops.

Ready to Apply?

One room is still available for Summer 2019 so apply right away.

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. You can also like our facebook page to keep in better touch, and once you’ve attended a program, please review us on our Better Business BureauYelpGoogle pages.

Refund Policy: Standard deposits ($100 for day programs, $200 for overnight programs) are not refundable unless we don’t accept your application. If you cancel in advance of the program start time for any reason, you may receive a full credit good through the following calendar year on appropriate and available programs listed on our schedule, although an additional deposit may be required to secure your spot in the future program. If a program you sign up for is canceled and not rescheduled at a time you can attend, you may receive a full refund except in case of natural (weather, geologic, etc) disasters, government shutdowns, conflicts or curfews, or other unforeseen emergencies making it impossible for staff and/or attendees to reach or use program locations, in which case all payments made will be held by us without expiration date for your future use in appropriate/available programs of your choice. No refund, nor credit, is given if a participant is asked to leave a program for inappropriateness as determined by our kids, youth and adult agreements for participation and homesickness protocol.

Click here for supplemental FAQs received from applicants, and remember, our certification with the Washington State Farm Internship Project allows us to fill just 3 positions. 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

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