|Farm Internship Program|
“Let us never forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. . . .
“. . . When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization.”
Interns are an integral part of Sunfield Farm. Our three- to nine-month farm internship program provides an invaluable and educational work experience in sustainable agriculture for people age eighteen and older. Within a supportive and unique working environment, Sunfield interns are exposed to a variety of tasks that change throughout the growing season, gain many new skills, and become competent at completing a wide range of farming chores as they prepare to become the future caretakers of sustainable farms.
Is a Sunfield Farm Internship Right for You?
Farming requires long days of physical labor. You should carefully consider if undertaking this commitment is right for you. Farming can be challenging, but most people adapt quickly, enjoy the experience, and finish an internship feeling closer to nature, empowered by their ability to grow high-quality food and dedicated to restoring health to their communities.
The following information will help you determine if an internship on our farm is right for you.
Sunfield and the Jefferson County FIELD Program
Education is a primary focus at Sunfield, and we are committed to providing a strong educational work experience for all interns. To this end, our internship program is partnered with the Jefferson County Farmer Innovation, Education, and Leadership Development (FIELD) program developed by Jefferson County farmers and Washington State University (WSU) Extension.
Sunfield and other participating farms in the Jefferson County FIELD program serve as host farms for interns. Interns from all participating farms meet weekly on the different farms for formal instruction classes, and monthly for a reflection session on their experiences. One week, interns may meet at Solstice Farm to learn about business planning or sheep care; the following week, they may meet on our farm to learn about composting; and another week, they may meet at Spring Rain Farm to learn about beekeeping. In this way, interns learn from many farmers and community members. Interns also work on an independent farm project, which must be approved by the host farmers and is based on the host farm.
Interns spend twenty hours per week working on their host farm, and twenty-one hours per week working on neighboring farms, attending classes, watching demonstrations, journaling, and engaging in other life experiences.
Through the FIELD program, interns have the opportunity to earn either Continuing Education Units (CEU) or college credit from Washington State University.
For more information about FIELD, including previous intern testimonials and schedules, visit www.county.wsu.edu/jefferson/agriculture/fieldinterns/
Join Sunfield for a Unique Experience on a Host Farm
Sunfield Farm is closely integrated with Sunfield Waldorf School – which sits on five of Sunfield's eighty-one acres of fields, forest, and wetlands – and with several community education programs that take place on the farm. Interns who work on Sunfield Farm not only engage in a wide variety of farm activities but also share the farm experience with children, teenagers, and adults who are enthusiastic about being outdoors, working and learning on the farm.
The Sunfield Community
Each day throughout the school year, our grade school children spend a forty-five minute farm-chore period alongside Sunfield farmers and interns, tending the animals and the land. Volunteers from our parent body regularly assist on the farm. Through our community education programs, visiting local and regional school groups and adults from various community groups come to the farm to learn about sustainable farming. Our farm also provides a nurturing work environment for teens from Jefferson County Juvenile Services, who need to fulfill required community service hours. These different groups provide Sunfield Interns with many opportunities to interact in the community and gain teaching and leadership skills.
Anthroposophy and Biodynamics
We base our farming philosophy on anthroposophy and biodynamics, both founded by Rudolf Steiner – also the founder of Waldorf education. This adds a different approach to how we tend both the land and the animals. Along with farm activities such as preparing beds, sowing, planting, transplanting, weeding, trellising, harvesting, and caring for the animals – including feeding, herding, milking, and birthing – Sunfield interns learn to make and apply biodynamic preparations and to farm in accordance to the rhythms of the celestial calendar. We encourage our interns to research Steiner’s approach to farming and education through our book collection and recommended websites.
Feeding the Wider Community
Sunfield interns assist with distributing our organically and biodynamically grown food to the local community. Our twenty-five week Community Supported Agriculture CSA program involves packing weekly CSA shares for more than forty members. Throughout the season, interns help sell produce at the local farmers’ market and help pack donations made to the regional food bank.
Sunfield interns are encouraged to attend our school's seasonal festivals that take place on the farm. During the span of the intern season, these include the May Day, Summer Solstice, Michaelmas, and Lantern festivals.
Sunfield is located in Port Hadlock on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, an area renowned for its majestic natural beauty, mild temperatures, and outdoor opportunities. Port Townsend, a Victorian seaport with a thriving cultural and arts community, is fifteen minutes to the north. The Olympic Mountains are one hour away and Seattle is approximately two hours away.
Internships are available from March though November. The start and end dates can be flexible, but we require a minimum three-month commitment. We encourage interns to consider a full season in order to observe and experience the entire growing process and have ample time for understanding all aspects of farming.
Payment and Accommodations
As a pioneering nonprofit organization, we are not able to offer a stipend to interns. However, we consider participation in the FIELD program a strong and worthy educational component, and we cover the required fees. We also share our biodynamic produce with interns throughout the season and provide a monthly grocery card.
We have no on-site accommodations for interns; however, volunteers in our local school community can provide housing. In some circumstances, interns may be required to move around during their stay. Onsite camping is possible during the warmer months, but we cannot provide tents and cooking equipment.
Wi-Fi access is available on some parts of the farm and at a nearby public library.
Applicants are not required to have farming experience, but a commitment to sustainable agriculture, a desire to learn and work hard, and a sense of humor are a must! Applicants must be physically able and healthy.
Learn More about Sunfield
A farm visit is the ideal way for you to understand who we are and for us to get to know you, however we understand this may not be practical for everyone. We do encourage all applicants to look through our entire website to learn more about our programs and how Sunfield – from land conservation and sustainable agricultural practices to providing programs in education and land stewardship – is making a positive contribution to our local community and beyond.
How to Apply
Application Deadline: ASAP for the 2013 season.