For more information about interning, work stays and visits please contact Kris Coville at:
There are three to four openings for full season interns at Wild Branch Valley Farm
every year. We are also members of WWOOF, and encourage work exchange visits from folks who are interested in learning about what we do on the farm.
Generally full season interns stay at Wild Branch from June to September. There is, however, a great deal that happens earlier in the spring and later in the fall that we encourage interns to be here for if their schedules allow. We are also flexible if folks cannot be available for the entire season if it seems like a good fit otherwise.
The Typical Breakdown:
Interns can expect to spend 60% of their time working in the gardens, preparing for markets and preserving food; 15% of their time doing mushroom work; 15% doing livestock and field work (helping with fencing and putting up hay primarily); and 10% doing various other tasks. Interns are expected to work 5 ½ days a week.
Interns will "learn while doing" about organic vegetable farming, mushroom cultivation, food preservation, and caring for livestock. We almost always work together so there are regularly opportunities to ask questions as they come up or talk about more theoretical aspects of whatever projects are going on that day.
There are also a great deal of homesteading skills to be learned if interns are interested from the six agriculturally focused folks that live here. We may not work on these things as part of the work week but we would love to help interns learn if they are interested in exploring these areas at the end of the workday and on the weekends. Between the six adults living on the farm our skills and passions include: Herbal medicine; fiber arts including spinning, weaving, knitting, felting and basketry; working oxen; natural building; baking and cooking; dairying and cheese making; and various other things in addition to gardening and mushroom cultivation.
Meals and Housing:
Meals are generally shared in the house but interns can choose to cook their own meals if they prefer. The main housing for interns is a wooden yurt across the Wild Branch River. It is a beautiful secluded spot. There is also a small apartment above the mushroom lab that is sometimes used to house farm help and a tent platform near the yurt. All accommodations are simple and rustic (none have running water) and interns usually end up blending into family life for most of the day and spending evenings in their own restful spaces.
Craftsbury is a lovely town with a lot to offer. It has been a farming community since it was founded and remains a rural area that values farming. It is home to Sterling College which is geared toward sustainable agriculture and environmentally focused education. The area is a hub of alternative and traditional agricultural thinkers and practitioners. So there is a great community of folks to learn from and break bread with.
Thoughts from former interns:
What I expected to gain from my internship at WBVF was a little knowledge of vegetable farming for profit, a little grit under my fingernails, and a little break from the rest of the world.
I found what I had hoped for and so much more. I obtained an ever-growing admiration and understanding for vegetables and their quirky habits, a deeply rooted respect for family farming, communal living, and how all those aspects of WBVF sway in harmony with the rest of the world. I continue to tend the treasured relationships built during my short stay at the farm. Each time I return, I learn more about myself and how my family and I can be better agrarian stewards, positive community members, and lead more enriching lives.
- Julie Clark, intern from Summer 2007
Food production is so complex. With a goal of understanding and participating in food production in general, the thought of grasping aspects of diverse farming was overwhelming. I felt immediately at ease working at Wild Branch. When working we maintained an upbeat, almost carefree attitude while still getting a lot done, opening answers for my questions and curiosities involving mushroom and vegetable cultivation, and homesteading in general. Constantly working, playing, learning, or spending time in a beautifully built yurt which was my temporary home, I always felt alive, productive, and inspired by the creativity and wisdom of the men, women, and children that make up Wild Branch Valley Farm.
- Hannah Bowen, intern from Summer 2011
We also welcome visitors who through WWOOF, and similar programs or just on their own who wish to visit for a shorter amount of time. We often have college classes come for a tour and stay to help out for a few hours. We welcome neighbors to come and do work trades, trading time for farm products, and we welcome work-stay visitors for a few days or a few weeks.