Our mission is to cultivate community, sustainability, and compassion on our land. We feel it is important to always treat our animals, plants, and people with the highest respect.
We are a family run organic farm located 15 minutes from downtown Chattanooga. We plant organic heirloom varieties of vegetables, herbs and medicinals. We have an egg-laying operation, where our chickens free range on fresh pasture. We also raise bees, turkeys, pigs, and cattle. We use sustainable and humane practices and as Certified Permaculture Designers, we love to teach about permaculture on our farm.
We have limited space for interns and we get regular requests. If you have a change of plans and are not able to make it to our farm, please let us know as soon as possible so that someone else can take your spot. A no show denies the opportunity for someone else to be here and have left us and other interns short handed.
Our summer internship runs from March 15 to September 15. We want everyone to arrive on the same day, so interns can begin their training together.
We will work in groups as much a possible to encourage the spirit of community. Either Keith or Katie or both will be with you as much as possible. Please understand that sometimes we have to step away for things like writing a grant, cooking a meal, going to market, etc.
What does work look like?
We ask that you perform 30 hours of work over 5 days a week, which means that you will have 2 days off. In addition your work, we ask that you perform daily life chores which include helping with the cooking and cleaning after yourself. Work includes a wide variety of tasks in areas of the gardens, animal care, natural building, carpentry, canning and food processing, education, markets, and more. When working in the gardens, a lot of time is spent on preparing beds, planting, mulching, weeding, and harvesting. We care for pastured poultry and daily tasks include feeding, watering, egg collection, egg packing, and much more.
Food will be provided for meals and it will be up to you to cook your own breakfast and lunch, either in your personal quarters or the community kitchen. Dinners are communal. A dinner cooking / cleaning schedule will be implemented. Cooking is a community activity that is always more fun when done is groups.
Food is why we are all here....most of our food comes from our farm. Our farm provides eggs, breads, vegetables, and all our meat in the freezer is from our animals that were humanely raised. If you have special dietary needs (vegetarian or vegan), please note that we are not able to buy expensive meat alternative such as tofu, tempeh, etc. While we are happy to cook the meat on the side, it will be up to you to ensure you have a complete diet. When we do buy groceries we try to buy local and organic as much as possible. If you have special dietary restrictions, please understand that we do not have the capacity to go buy tofu, gluten free breads, special milk, etc, but we will have plenty of fresh veggies at your disposal.
We LOVE to share what we know and we LOVE to learn what you know! When we are out turning the compost pile, it will most likely evolve into a lesson about building soil. When we are pulling weeds, we will talk about the biomass of plants and the benefits of lasagna mulching (yup, it's a real thing). Also we will provide regular lectures as additional learning opportunities. These lectures are voluntary. If there is a particular area of interest that you would like to learn about or teach, please let us know. This experience will be something where we all learn from each other. We also frequently watch educational documentaries for movie nights (also optional)!
We have a chore chart that will be posted weekly to eliminate the monotony of chores. For example, Monday: help cook dinner, Tuesday: put away the dishes, Wednesday: milk the goats, etc. We used this system last summer, and it worked very well for us all!
Because we are living in community, it is important to respect our communal living space. It is the responsibility of everyone to do the dishes, clean up, and basically getting the kitchen looking and feeling great after every meal. This is crucial for the magic to flow. With that said, we also find it a symbol of gratitude for those who cooked to be able to rest while those who ate do the majority of the cleaning. Equally, it is nice if the cooks try to do as much cleaning as they go to facilitate an easy clean up. Putting love into the kitchen is a great way to set the vibe firmly on positivity. In addition, other daily chores such as sweeping, moping and tidying the house/grounds will be expected of us all. We often have customers visit the farm, so it is important to keep the environment looking professional.
The Do's: Take care of yourself first. If you need to take a break, or don't feel well, then do what you need to do for yourself. Your health and safety are more important than the work.
The Do Not's: Do not use any dangerous equipment without being supervised and properly trained. Do not walk around barefoot. Do not walk on any boards (Keith's mantra is; “You know how you never step on a nail? Never step on a board.”) Do not do, lift, or handle anything that you are not capable of or are not comfortable with.
House & Porch Quiet Times:
We close down our house immediately after evening chores every night unless we have a movie night or a gathering of some sort. This allows us some family time to put our son to bed, catch up on computer work, and get reorganized for the next day. You are welcome to move to the outdoor kitchen/social area or fire pit as long as you are not disturbing the other interns.. We ask that you stay respectful of others in your community and do not disturb others when they are sleeping.
We have several housing options available, all of which are fairly awesome and rustic. Some housing options are more private than others. Some people will get to live alone, some people will have to share a larger space with roommates. Housing will be assigned based on the most logical use of space.
We have composting toilet systems available that are quite lovely for year round use. There is an outdoor (and very private) bathhouse which utilizes a solar shower. This is a shared space, so scheduling will not permit long showers. Bring your own towels and bath products, please.
We really really really really prefer for you not to smoke. Not only for your health, but for the health of those around you and for the plants. Did you know that if you smoke a cigarette and then touch a tomato plant, you can kill the plant? A virus from the tobacco in your cigarette can be easily transferred to plants in our garden like tomato, peppers, etc. If you must smoke, please go to an area away from the gardens, house, and camp areas. Make sure to extinguish all embers (we live in a lush area) and dispose of your butts in an outdoor trash can. Do not leave any butts around, because we have many foraging animals that could be harmed from ingesting cigarette butts. Wash your hands and change your clothes before touching any plants in the gardens. Like we said, we would rather you not smoke at all though, so consider this a good excuse to quit!
Moderate alcohol consumption is acceptable (i.e. a glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail after a long day). You must provide your own beverages and you must recycle your own containers. If there is any inappropriate behavior or frequent gross over-indulgence in alcohol then we will ask you to stop drinking or leave the property (but, let's not get to that point).
While we encourage you to visit Chattanooga and make friends, we do not allow unapproved visitors on the farm. Do NOT bring strangers to our home. If you have family or friends coming through town and want to show them the farm, please discuss it with us first. Visitors will be asked to contribute for their meals. If you want us to lead a tour, there will be a fee as well.
Internet is slow and spotty, and is shared by everyone. Because it is shared by many people, it is not acceptable for streaming or downloading movies or music. Please bring your own laptop.
We get reception here on the farm, and you are welcome to use your cell phones, but we ask that you not use them during your work hours.
Campfires are welcomed and encouraged. Please only build a fire in the designated fire pit. Gathering around a fire is an excellent time for storytelling, playing music, and fun. We encourage you to bring your instruments and open minds!
We have a washing machine here (but no dryer) that you are welcome to use. Clothes can be dried on the provided clothes line.
Venting to others people can breed unnecessary resentment and gossip will not be tolerated. If you are having a conflict with Keith and / or Katie, please come to us first. We would rather you be upfront and honest about any conflict with us so that things can be corrected immediately. Most of all, we want everyone to be compassionate and loving towards each other.
Working through conflict:
Anytime you have a gathering of people in close quarters, there is potential for conflict. Please understand that it is normally quite easy to remedy through communication and honesty. If you have a problem with someone, please go to that person first and try to compassionately communicate. We find that if you have to go talk to the person you are in conflict with, then you are made to evaluate how important the issue really is to you. If it is something that cannot be worked out, please go to Katie or Keith and they will help facilitate the conversation in a productive way.
We encourage daily exercise including dancing, day hikes, yoga, or simply a walk around our lovely land. We are located very near Cloudland Canyon State Park, rivers/creeks, rock climbing areas, biking trails, and paddle boarding activities. If someone could lead a morning yoga session, it would be wonderful for all of us!
You will be surprised by how much down time there is on the farm. Please bring something to do with your free time that makes you happy and fulfills your personal growth (i.e. painting, music, mediation, yoga, knitting, reading, etc).
Thank you for your interest in joining our community. We know you have many choices in your lives and we appreciate the gifts you will bring, the friendship that will form, and the great food we will grow together!