Thanks for your interest in the Emerald Earth Internship program.  We get a lot of joy from the interns that come through our community.  Our internship season runs from April through October, though we occasionally accept interns off-season in special circumstances.

Internships at Emerald Earth are a great way to learn how to live a little lighter on the earth. Participants will learn rural life skills, enjoy a pace of life that is guided by the rythms of the seasons, engage in group organizing and enrich ones own self-motivation practices.

That being said…

individuals should be prepared for the personal and physical challenges that will arise during such an intensive experience. Living in close proximity with fewer people may be a new experience and the diversions of city or town life are not readily available. We also have uninsulated outhouses and have to shovel our own “shit” when they are full. (We love not defecating in water and take joy in composting our poop). These are some real things to know and take into consideration. If you do not feel physically, mentally and emotionally well the reverberations will be felt throughout the community. The participants that tend to get the most out of this experience are those who have the energy to engage in all aspects of community life. We encourage a fun and easy going attitude and a love of physical endeavors.

As intern you will become a part of our community, involved in land based activities, including gardening, livestock care, building, food processing, general maintenance, chores,  meal preparation and clean up. We are interested in folks who are able to be here most of the season, and we request a minimum of a 6 week commitment. If you are interested in a shorter stay, please scroll down to the Farm Stay description at the end of the page.

We share meal preparation. Wholesome, delicious, organic meals are shared by the entire community at least once a day. Accommodations will be tent camping. Limited indoor accommodations may be available during colder months.

The nature of the activities we do here requires participants  to be fully present. If you commit to being an intern we ask that you come prepared to devote the time whole heartedly. There is time off and that is your time, however, we ask that you do not plan trips or off site extended periods during the designated work time.

You will share meals, work, and common spaces with the other interns and our resident community of 5 adults and 2 children.  Although our schedule can be busy, there are many opportunities to share a walk, a game, or a talk with other residents, especially around meal times and on days off.  After hours social events are not an organized part of the program; if you have high social needs, you will find them best met by being proactive. However, be forewarned that resident members have many commitments both on and off site, and tend to be less available for social interaction than some interns might wish.

We welcome a diverse group of people to live and work together in a mutually respectful and affirmative environment. We engage in consensus process, emphasizing open and direct communication.

There are several traits we look for in potential interns.

Physically Able Bodied (this is a rural living situation that requires a level of physical fitness to conduct daily chores)
Mentally Sound (We are a small community, we like to spend time together as well as apart and have developed a family atmosphere. We do not entertain “drama”.)

Self Motivated
Good Communication Skills

Financially Stable (during your time here, we are rural and it is virtually impossible to fulfill internship agreements AND work off site)
Interested in Learning
Good References (Very important that you have people who can vouch for your character and work ethic. We are families here with children and require as much information about your background as you can give us)

Typical Week

The average week will include about 3 days of hands-on activities in your focus area, a day of participation in community projects, several shifts in the kitchen, and some meeting time devoted to both projects and the experience of working and living in community.
To respond to the ebbs and flows of activities in the garden and with livestock, hours will fluctuate from week to week in those focus areas, averaging 35 hours. Included in these hours, members of the community are excited to offer instruction on various skills as interest is shown. Instruction may include: local botany, permaculture design, natural building, general carpentry,  native plant ID, Yoga, sustainable timber harvesting, watershed restoration, oak woodland management, bread baking and fermentation.

In addition to a generalized internship we also offer focused positions. Here is a list of some specific areas of focus for applicants who have some experience or particular interest in directing their stay at Emerald Earth.

-Off-grid Systems Intern

This intern position will be uniquely varied. Depending on need, it will include some or all of the following:

Maintenance and repair of:

▪  Solar electrical system

▪  Spring and well pump water systems

▪  Electric and non-electric fencing and gates

▪  Propane appliances

▪  Small motors

▪  Cellular phone system

▪  Satellite internet

▪  Houses and outbuildings

▪  Solar hot water systems

▪  Carts and wheelbarrows

▪  Composting toilets

▪  Cutting, spitting, and curing firewood

▪  Sharpening and repairing hand tools

▪  Documenting systems and repairs

▪  Researching parts, appliances, and improved systems

▪  Organizing building materials, hardware, and tools

The physical and technical skills needed to keep a homestead or rural community up and running are diverse and constantly evolving. We are always learning more and are excited to share what we know with you. However, there will be times when we will point you to a manual or the internet, or give you a phone number of someone who knows more. The apprentice should be familiar with basic tools, be able to  equalize the batteries, monitor the water system and other related tasks. Sometimes reading and researching (self-learning) will be necessary, sometimes instruction from others will be offered. One must be motivated by challenges and puzzles.

We are open to offering to cover food costs or possibly offer a small stipend to an experienced alternative energy/natural building specialist.

-Food Systems Intern
Fresh, whole, nutrient dense foods are a foundational element of Emerald Earth Sanctuary. Our passions, strength, and ideas ferment and bubble in the kitchen! We are blessed with an abundance of:

▪  Produce from the gardens

▪  Milk from the goats

▪  Meat and eggs from the animals

▪  Fruit from the orchards

▪  Seafood, seaweed, and salt from the coast

▪  Grains, legumes, and other produce from neighboring farms

Are you interested in learning how to take these raw materials to create tasty, nourishing food for a thriving permaculture community? We are seeking an enthusiastic, excited, and hungry food system apprentice to help us keep the food flowing!
In this intern position, you will…

▪  Make sauerkraut and kimchi

▪  Create cheeses and yogurt from fresh, raw milk

▪  Turn whole wheat berries into wood-fired desem or sourdough bread

▪  Plan and cook several meals a week using in-season, local ingredients

▪  Help manage the flow of food

▪  Can, dry, ferment, and freeze fruits, vegetables, and meats for future use

▪  Make bone broth

Depending on the time of season and your interest, you may participate in some of the following:

▪  Animal slaughtering and butchering

▪  Cider pressing for fresh use and making vinegar, cider syrup and hard cider

▪  Harvesting and gleaning

▪  Chicken and Goat care (Walking Goats to forage) (Cleaning Chicken Coop)

▪  Sausage-making and meat-curing

▪  Rendering lard

▪  Soap making

All members of our community (seasonal and full-time) participate in:

▪  Chores

▪  Community Sharing meetings

▪  Periodic group maintenance projects

This is a 35-40 hour/week position. We are seeking someone who is comfortable working alone, excited to take direction in learning, confident in leading others, and willing to make a commitment of at least six weeks.

-Garden Intern
The garden intern will help provide nourishing food for our community of humans. However, the organic garden is also a community of plants, minerals, water, fungi, insects, and other animals. Gardeners will learn to support a reciprocal and collaborative relationship between the people and the land.

▪  Starting plants in the greenhouse

▪  prepping garden beds

▪  planting and harvesting

▪  make effective compost and manure piles

▪  plan for year-round sustenance

▪  care for trees – pruning, irrigation etc

▪  growing food for animals

▪  Weeding, mulching

▪  Setting up drip systems on annual and perennial food plants

▪  Utilizing gray water and rainwater

-Forestry Intern

Emerald Earth Sanctuary’s 189 acres are mostly covered in forest. North facing slopes are dominated by redwood, while live oak, madrone and fir predominate on south-facing slopes. Due to a legacy of logging and sheep ranching, with the exception of several majestic oaks, just about all of the trees are under 60 years old. This young forest is densely packed and choked with under growth.

Over the nearly 30 years that Emerald Earth has been managing this property, we have cleared firs from a couple of oak woodlands and thinned redwoods for lumber to use in our buildings. Lately we have been increasing spacing between trees by pruning and felling of smaller trees and feeding the leafy branches to the goats. These branches then get cut up for firewood, burned to make charcoal that we use a soil amendment, or laid in debris swales to increase water infiltration. We’re creating systems of reciprocal interaction with the landscape.

In 2019 we are scheduled to be doing a forest thinning timber harvest (mostly redwood). We are also going to be continuing with NRCS funded Oak Woodland Restoration and Fuel Load Reduction projects.

An intern interested in tending large parcels of forest in a way that decreases large scale fire risk and generates healthy old growth would participate in the following activities:

-Post timber harvest thinning of hardwoods

-Daily pruning of leafy tree branches for goat forage

-Thinning for oak woodland restoration and fuel load reduction

-Burning brush piles and other methods of biochar production

-Firewood bucking and splitting

-Lumber milling

-Construction of debris swales

-Preparation of: Teepee poles, round poles, fruit tree props

Some knowledge of the following tools are useful AND if you are a handy person they can be learned on site. Please be honest with your capabilities with the use of machinery and tools.



Pruning saw

Pole saw

Brush hook


Financial Exchange
We ask that people coming as interns pay $300 for the first month to cover their food and other costs (total $500 for 6 weeks). After the 6 weeks, with a mutual evaluation of your stay here, there is a possibility to remain longer (maximum 3 months) and Emerald Earth would cover your costs for the remainder of your stay. We try to keep your financial responsibilities here as low as possible as there will be limited time for you to make money while you are here.

Farm Stay
To fill our focused intern positions, we request a commitment of at least 6 weeks. We are open to folks staying for less then 6 weeks and participating in farm activities with residents 20-40 hours/week. The Farm Stay however will include minimal instruction. Farm Stay participants are asked to contribute $20/day for food and $10 – $25 for lodging. These contributions will be modified for persons with outstanding skills in specific areas, or who demonstrate outstanding effort.

All members of our community (seasonal and full-time) participate in:

  • Chores
  • Community Business and Sharing meetings
  • Weekly group maintenance projects
  • Reflective time in nature

Application Process

To apply, please email us and request an application form:

Answer the questions in detail, including those not in your preferred focus area; we’d like to know a lot about you. We also strongly encourage a visit so that you can get to know the community.