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garden internship at Dancing Rabbit Village
ECOVILLAGE GARDEN INTERNSHIPS
Wanted: An intern, for a period of three to six months during the calendar
year 1998, to assist in farming and food production at Dancing Rabbit in
Dancing Rabbit is a new ecovillage in northeast Missouri. As a
demonstration project, it will coalesce many threads of ecological design
and technology in order to build a truly sustainable human settlement on
the scale of a small town (approximately 1000 residents). Its purpose is to
be a model for future development and retrofits along ecologically
sustainable lines in North America. Dancing Rabbit will research and
develop social, economic, and technological systems that enable humans to
live comfortably while integrating with rather than degrading the
ecosystems of which they are a part.
The Land and the Farm
At present, the Dancing Rabbit Land Trust (site of future Dancing Rabbit
town) owns 280 acres of beautiful rolling hills 50 miles west of the
Mississippi River. Intensive design of the ecovillage is occurring during
the fall and winter of 1997, with building to commence in the spring of
1998. As part of the ecological demonstration project, Dancing Rabbit plans
to grow all its own food in a manner that is sustainable for our land and
our bioregion, without petrochemical inputs and minimizing inputs from
other regions. Farm and garden work will be done by hand or by draft
animals, with possible occasional uses of a biofuel-powered tractor. In
our first growing season, with hand labor only, we grew all the vegetables
we needed for 8 residents and many short-term visitors, and canned over 500
quarts of fruit and vegetables to get us through the winter. With season
extension structures and dry fruit storage, we had fresh tomatoes in
November and greens all winter. We also grew some staples (potatoes and
beans) though not enough to last all winter. Our only input was composted
green waste from the nearby town of Memphis.
Our gardening fits into our overall living system according to ecological
and permacultural principles. We use a variety of methods, including
biointensive raised beds, no-till/no-weed beds, living mulches,
polycultural mixes. We recycle greywater into the garden, as well as
kitchen scraps, livestock manure and composted human wastes.
In the next year we plan to grow more staples, learn to work with our draft
horse, establish an herb garden, and add fruit trees to the edible
landscape around our houses.
Intern Work Requirements
An intern would be expected to participate in all aspects of food
production at Dancing Rabbit, from bed preparation to composting to harvest
and processing, and possibly including research, either experimental or
literature-based, into methods to optimize the sustainability and
productivity of our food system. We value and honor whatever knowledge and
experience the intern brings. Work will often be side-by side with
residents of Dancing Rabbit. Work hours will be arranged with the garden
coordinator, and will probably average 20-30 hours per week over the course
of an intern's stay at Dancing Rabbit. The intern will be welcome to join
the community in other activities, such as studies of local ecology,
foraging for wild plants, construction of our first straw bale cabin, and
work for neighbor farmers. Alternately, the intern could conduct other
projects of his or her choice or simply take time to swim in the ponds and
otherwise enjoy what the land has to offer. This should be considered an
opportunity to practice whatever skills one has, and to participate in a
mutual learning process within Dancing Rabbit's development.
The intern will work with and be supervised by the garden coordinator,
Rachel Freifelder, and by the animal manager, Jennifer Ray. Rachel has a
master's degree in Ecology from Stanford University in Stanford, CA,
studied Agroecology and Soil Science for two years at the University of
California at Davis, and has experience in organic farming and gardening.
Jennifer has extensive experience training, driving and caring for horses,
and is Secretary of the Missouri Organic Crop Improvement Association.
Other Dancing Rabbit members also do considerable garden or farm work. The
intern can expect ample advice and assistance where needed, and can also
expect his/her ideas to be taken seriously.
Housing will be free of charge and provided by Dancing Rabbit. It may be a
group housing situation in which the intern would receive a private bedroom
and shared bathrooms and kitchens. Alternately, attractive camping sites
are available during months of fair weather (May - September). Organic,
vegan food will be provided by Dancing Rabbit and will also be in a
cooperative situation. The intern may be asked to help with cooking and
cleaning during his or her stay at Dancing Rabbit. Details may be discussed
on an ad hoc basis.
Unfortunately, Dancing Rabbit is not able to offer interns a stipend at
this point. However, interns will have access to the same benefits as other
Dancing Rabbit members, including tools, building materials, computer and
Internet resources, travel to nearby cities, our extensive ecologically
oriented library, and so forth. In addition, Dancing Rabbit may be able to
assist interns with travel to and from the site.
Contact Rachel Freifelder at 3936 Clarke St., Oakland CA 94609 before Jan
25, or at Dancing Rabbit thereafter (info in the letterhead). Questions or
requests for more information are welcomed. If more convenient, prospective
interns may arrange an interview to take place in Chicago, IL or Berkeley,
CA that will help the intern and Dancing Rabbit assure that this position
is right for both parties concerned. If this is desired, contact Jacob
Stevens at 847-328-1187 or firstname.lastname@example.org (Chicago) or Rachel Freifelder at
510-655-2936 or email@example.com (Berkeley). For detailed information on
Dancing Rabbit, see http://www.dancingrabbit.org.