Internship Program at Mountain Jewel | A Center for Earth Connection: Permaculture, Homesteading, Natural Building, Wildcrafting

in homesteading •  6 months ago

Greetings Steem Fam! I am writing to create a potent seed bomb strewn out into the universe. I am looking both for collaborators, inciters, gestation, vision and input, as well as planting seeds for actual interns to make their way here!

It has long been a plan and purpose to invite cocreators here to our homestead, Mountain Jewel, specifically and initially in the form of interns. Ini and I, Wren, learned most of our foundational earth connection skill base from similar internships (informal or formal) that we did by traveling and visiting homesteads, ecovillages, wwoofing, intentional communities, sustainable institutes, small farms, etc! We've also learned a lot from permaculture & university courses, trial and error, books, videos and nature herself.


A Vision Birthed

This fall we've decided that next spring we will start the process to build our own natural home.

The past 3 years living here at Mountain Jewel, we have practiced some of the natural building techniques both of us learned at ecovillages, namely working with straw (slip straw) and clay plastering.

While the details of the house need to be sorted, it is our intention to sculpt an internship program and invite in people to build our house alongside us, while also learning a host of other self reliance and earth connection skills.

High Tunnel set up this summer at Mountain Jewel. Next year we are planning to grow a variety of cash crops in here, as well as establish Figs for long term fruit production.


While the project details gestate this fall and winter, we will be crafting an internship program including but not limited to:

Natural Building

While interns will learn an array of skills, the direct focus of 2019 will be on building our natural home. This includes, but is not limited to, learning & practicing Straw Bale, Slip Straw, Clay Plaster, Stonework, Stud Framing, site selection, Permaculture of the home zone, etc (like I said above, we aren't exactly sure which technique we will use.)


Basic design principles of stacking functions, relative location and functional interconnectedness.
How different zones function (actually inhabit this) & absorbing the Patterns & Principles of Permaculture through living on a Permaculture Demonstration Site &
Applying different techniques to work with nature; proper species selection, sheet mulching, grafting and propagation, hugelculture etc...


Annual & Perennial Garden Management and Propagation, including learning about a host of specific food crops and associated allies (Nitrogen fixers, cover cropping, dynamic accumulators, pollinators).

An example of fruit both grown on the homestead and wildcrafted. Paw Paws, Tomatoes, Shiitake mushrooms & a selection of wildharvest roots and rose hips.


Ethical seasonal food harvests including ID, prep & storage, wild edibles, eat your weeds including greens, mushrooms, vegetables, fishing, hunting, fruits, etc

Food Preservation & Vitalizing

Fermentation, Sprouting, DIY Brewing, Canning, etc


Tinctures, Teas, ID, growing herbs, wild harvesting of herbs, etc. for first aid, health and wellness and more.

Natural Beekeeping

Building Layens equipment, catching swarms, hive inspection, colony management etc...

Spiritual Connection with Place

Connecting with spirits of the land, plants, place, elements, etc through prayer, ritual, medicine making, conscious permaculture and gardening.


Part of the internship would also include a foundational education in cryptocurrencies, specifically as it applies to blogging on Steem. I would encourage each of the interns to create a Steem account and blog about their experiences with the community.

I'm sure I left things out... This is simply a first draft!

It could rightfully be called Living in Place, Earth Skills for Self Reliance and Thriving!

The clay plaster front of our "solar shed". We built this building from locally milled oak lumber, sided it with cedar from the land and milled on the land and made a slip straw clay plastered western facing wall.

The Time Is Now

While this idea has been in the works for years (since we wanted to homestead, we knew we would also like to teach), now is finally the time to make the invitation and sculpt and organize the program.

Wild Persimmon harvest!

The details

  • Timing

When will the program start? Will there be a multi-month commitment requirement (most likely)?
I am thinking I would like the program to function more as a month-long internship not a stay-at-your-own leisure wwoofer scenario. I would like to have a long-term offering where people can really dig into a place for a long period of time and see a season through. This has many benefits. Time TBD.

  • Number of Participants

At this point, we are thinking 4-6 participants.

  • Age

Many internships have an age range. While we aren't sure what this will look like, we may want to start off calling in ages 18-30. This is the age range of most of the interns I met while traveling as a wwoofer and I think it is a good age to be an intern.

  • Intern Quarters

Tent Camping, Shower, and Outdoor Kitchen with running water and propane stove. Yes it is rough. This is how 90% of the environments I learned in were.

  • What We Will Provide & What Involvement Will Be Required

Hours Contributed per day, Food Staples/Meals Provided, Stipend, etc - Obviously this is a big one and there is a lot to hash out.

These details are still being worked out and I am using this forum mostly as a way to get my thoughts out and start organizing/envisioning and sculpting the program.

While we have a lot to offer, I realize it will take incredible planning & pulling in mature, responsible and energized people as we will also have a lot on our plates organizing this and building a house!

Photo of the ever-photogenic flowers of the Jerusalem Artichoke, a perennial staple tuber

Organization & Stipend

This is the first time I've put my thought-baby out into the universe.

  • I am curious if there are any grants out there for environmental education or if I should create a Fundition Project (or something else? Ideas welcome.)

  • Earth connection internships of this grassroots and personal level are few and far between. While we wouldn't be providing my local community with any more locally grown produce (which it dearly needs), we would be educating and empowering 4-6 young adults to go out into the world equipped with a host of amazing skills.

  • Each year the program would hone and grow and even perhaps greatly change form.

Over the next few months, Ini and I will devote many hours of visioning, research, prayer/spiritual work, and more toward organizing this program. It's our vision to also work on an energetic level creating a vortex of sorts to call-in the right people for this program. While it's great to work in 3-d level, I also want this program to focus on and stem from a spiritual place. This wouldn't be a requirement for the participants to understand or be into this, but they would need to accept it.

Photo of our current octagonal cedar log cabin home built in collaboration with Homestead Rescue on the Discovery Channel from Spring 2017

TV Stardom?

Oh yeah, we may also be doing the build of our house for a HGTV tv show, so the interns would need to be at least comfortable with cameras around (details to be announced on when, how much, etc) or even be comfortable being on camera during the build.

May this seed bomb be thrown into byways, fertile fields, from airplanes, float along river banks taken up by cranes and otters and planted by beavers into dams sprouting into fruition in countless ways and traveling on energetic currents beyond my wildest imaginings.

With love and hope,



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Exciting time of growth for @mountainjewel! This is a great time to announce your vision for 2019. I look forward to seeing your vision unfold! ox


:) thank you! so are we <3

This is an awesome idea! I will spread the word.


Thank you! and thank you!

Wow! This is truly wonderful. Sending good energy your way and look forward to watching this seed blossom. I was tempted to scream pick me, pick me because it sounds so EXCITING!! The people you select will be so fortunate and their lives enriched by this experience. I think it is so tremendous in every way. xx


thank you dear!! haha we would love to have you here! an internship program at your place would be just as amazing!! you have wonderful and amazing things going on at your place! <3 this reminds me, i need to add that part of it would be encouraging education in the realm of cryptos/blogging about it on steem! xoxo

Fun stuff developing @mountainjewel I think lots of colleges have internship programs that pay travel and maybe some living expenses for kids during the summer or even for taking a term off. Not sure of the requirements. Might help make it possible for college kids. I'll look around a bit.


I appreciate that. I did one of these in college as well and need to do some googling! i'm sure there are some resources out there. It would be nice to offer them a stipend, even if jus for basic living expenses or to pay bills they may have, although for 99% of the interning I did, I didn't get paid (just varying levels of room and board.)


I quick look at the colleges my boys are at... they both have stipend grants to help students with unpaid internships. I expect the way this would play out for @mountainjewel is finding interested kids first then working with them to write compelling applications to their college for funding. For a small program like yours, I don't think it makes sense to contact colleges directly or develop a curriculum driven by college's expectations. BUT I think this is a very real way for potential interns to overcome financial hurdles to being a part of your program.

I love this @mountainjewel and I wish I was younger... and healthier as I would completely be not so subtly nudging you to say, 'I'd make a great intern' ;-)

I wish you all the best with this, it is an amazing project :-)


The nudging is noted ;) The age limit is of course loose and open to interpretation. We appreciate the enthusiasm.

This is a really grand idea and any person who got an internship would learn some many highly useful things during their stay. Like @walkerland, I thought, Wow! I'd love to do that, if I was 1/3 my age....

I do hope your interns do blog on steemit, as I'd love hear their perspective of what they are learning.

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Wonderful that you are opening your homestead for others to learn from your numerous skills! It is quite an undertaking to teach while building. If you are still quite comfortable in your present home and will not feel any pressure to get the build done it could be a wonderful experience to share. We built our homes, here in our community with having work bees and helping each other build. I learned lots about carpentry and felt great to be helping others build their homes as well as getting ours built too. I'll be looking forward to seeing how these unfold.


We're super excited for the process to unfold. Building is quite permanent and by nature more of a challenge than many elements of gardening.

Thats great to hear that you've had that hands on experience. It's certainly empowering to DIY and most definitely requires patience. This build we are really reaching out more and connecting with others. Help is too valuable NOT to ask for.

this sounds sweet. i still have a lot to learn about natural building and permaculture, and also would love to start being in a place to teach and host as well. i feel like I'm in between right now. i've ran a CSA and herbal nursery, yet I haven't done enough building- save for a cobb outhouse once when I lived in a cobb house for a couple years in north carolina. i want to learn more about building in general but especially how to apply natural building to situations where you have to deal with 'code,' figuring out the loopholes around that.