Apprentices

View looking southwest

Permaculture Eco-Village in NE Washington has Openings - Potential Permanent Residency

We have openings for people to come plug into our Eco-Village project. Could be a couple or not, families or singles. There must be people out there for whom this opportunity resonates with their own vision forward in permaculture. The land here is calling out for Earth stewards to come and be part of its ecosystem.

The Eco-Village is a 20-acre sanctuary seeking devotees, not in any religious sense, although it is often a spiritual quest that drives someone to embrace permaculture. We are looking for people who are devoted to creating rural self-sufficiency for themselves through permaculture in community. We offer an environment free of economic rent and ask only for active mindful participation.

We seek farmers and builders to each contribute about 20 hours a week or more if it moves you. Please note: This is not an employment opportunity. It is a lifestyle choice.

We seek folks who love experiencing soil, plants and sharing the surplus and who can commit to put in the time and intention required. You would join us to collectively tend the structures and infrastructure, gardens, pastures, food forest, livestock and seed bank and share equitably in the fruits of that labor in the form of food, money and the incalculable value that comes from living the life.

We seek builders who are into permaculture whose primary role would be contributing to building and maintaining the Eco-Village and farm infrastructure including structures, machinery, equipment, irrigation and energy production facilities. You would work closely with Bezaleel Israel who terraformed the land over a thirty-year period and built the existing infrastructure largely by himself. BZ has 60 years experience being a Jack-of-all-trades. Mechanical work on almost everything (except modern computer cars). Converting Diesel engines to run on recycled vegetable oil, maintaining a fishing boat, tractors, logging equipment, aircraft, commercial refrigeration, metal fabrication, acetylene and arc welding, rural construction, concrete, using heavy equipment for land development, alternative energy, farming, gardening, seed saving and teaching permaculture. There's no compensation for the builder/infrastructure apprenticeship beyond a share of the food the farm produces, shop space, access to tools and equipment and no economic rent to pay (common expenses shared), so it makes most sense for someone who seeks permanent residency to apply for this apprenticeship so that the fruits of the work put in potentially become collectively your own in time with personal improvements individually-owned. Anyone with the kinds of skills listed here would be able to easily find part-time paid work locally, also join the farming collective or find other means for income on or off Village grounds.

After one or more successful 60-day trial periods you would become an apprentice Village Collective member until the end of the year, renewable, with permanent residency potential.

Farming and infrastructure activities would be done in accordance with permaculture ethics and principles and will contribute to the assembly and implementation of the Eco-Village permaculture design.

We most hope to find folks who arrive open to the idea of joining the Village permanently if the situation feels right.

We are part way through a long, complicated process of establishing the Eco-Village land resource as a permaculture trust and restore the land to more like a commons so the land will be collectively managed, permaculturally, in perpetuity. The Eco-Village is for demonstrating to our local community and the world what technological climb-down, humane re-connection to the natural world and voluntary simplicity look like-- what permaculture looks like in practice.

This year we formally created the BZ Permaculture Farm Collective, a Washington Non-profit Mutual Corporation. It's independent from the Eco-Village but is permitted to steward the rich soils, waters and plant communities and practice regenerative production agriculture on the grounds as a non-profit micro-farm. Members of the BZ Farm Collective are all self-employed farmers and the mutual corporation simply manages their common property. For the past two years we have demonstrated the economic viability of the farming operation here despite being severely limited by lack of extra help. We have a small on-line vegetable seed business, we sell at the farmers' market in the nearby city of Colville and we have a small CSA program to supply our fresh produce to folks in our area who don't have a grocery store close to home. We are nowhere near the productive potential of this land or satisfying the local market demand. We can make a living farming here-- living simply!

Please contact us if any of this sounds attractive to you. Phone message and text: 914-246-0309 Email: collective@bzfarm.org.

Apply on-line: https://permacultureconservationtrust.org/content/permaculture-apprenticeship-opportunity-pre-application

Interested? A couple of things: To start you would need to be debt-free and self-sufficient in terms of shelter and domestic needs such as food (beyond what the Collective Farm and personal gardens can provide), warmth, electricity and waste handling.

Shelter could be an RV, tiny house, camper, tent, tipi, yurt, etc. If you stick around for winter, you'd have to build or otherwise provide yourself adequate, warm shelter. Various options present themselves. There is firewood available to harvest yourself or buy from the local market. Also, you would need to be financially self-sufficient starting out until you figure out how to obtain an income for yourself, either working with the farming collective, off-farm part-time work, on your own doing odd jobs for residents in the area, or an on-farm craft or cottage industry you dream up on your own.

Please also make sure you thoroughly look over our website. We've tried to include as much information as we can to describe our project: https://bzfarm.org

 

Applying for an apprenticeship at the Eco-Village is a two step process.

Please note: The following IS NOT an employment opportunity. It is a lifestyle choice.

First there is a two-question pre-application. From those applications we will choose folks to answer a few more questions, get references, do a phone or Zoom interview and a have site visit, if feasible.

If we accept your application as an apprentice candidate, we will welcome you to join us on the farm.

Two apprenticeships:

1. BZ Permaculture Farm Collective Apprenticeship
2. Permaculture Lifestyle and Infrastructure Apprenticeship

You can apply as an apprentice member. Anyone can also apply as a volunteer and come to work as your schedule allows, providing your own shelter if you plan on staying overnight unless we have a guest bed available.

If you're invited for a trial apprenticeship, either farming or building or combination of both, you will be required to fulfil one or more 60-day trial periods which may include meeting specific conditions during the trial period. Then, after a successful 60-day trial, you will be granted a Level 1 Apprenticeship and membership in the Eco-Village until the end of the current calendar year (Dec. 31). Upon being granted a Level 1 Apprenticeship you will sign the Eco-Village Mutual Contract which defines how the Village is managed. Upon signature, you will have a voice in how the Mutual Contract is worded and interpreted as well as in all the affairs in the life of the Village; all of which is a serious commitment and an important responsibility.

In 2023, the BZ Permaculture Farm Collective was established on the grounds of the eco-village as a Washington State Non-Profit Mutual Corporation. Membership in the farming collective is separate from membership in the Eco-Village, but Eco-Village membership is a prerequisite before one can be a member of the BZ Permaculture Farm Collective. Members of the BZ Permaculture Farm Collective are self-employed farmers. Members of the BZ Permaculture Farm Collective serve on its Board and participate in the governance and operational activities of the BZ Permaculture Farm Collective. A farmers' Collective is a DIY approach to self-reliance and cooperation.

Level 1 - Apprentice

Level 1 Apprentices become active members of the Eco-Village for the duration of their term-- until the end of the calendar year, Dec. 31). If requested, the Eco-Village may renew your Level 1 apprenticeship at any time for a term that would end on the last day of the next calendar year.

A Level 1 apprentice is expected to contribute labor to benefit the Eco-Village and/or the Farm Collective for at least 20 hours per week, for the duration of their apprenticeship with the understanding that there will be times when more hours will be required and that 10- to 12-hour days will be required from time to time. A Level 1 apprentice is expected to spend at least two hours studying permaculture each week following a self-determined course of study, the fruits of which are regularly shared with the collective.

A Level 1 apprentice can commute to the farm or reside on the land. A resident apprentice is expected to independently provide for their household's sleeping quarters and domestic needs such as food (beyond what the Collective Farm and personal gardens can provide), warmth, electricity and waste handling and share common expenses.

Level 2 - Journeyperson

A Level 1 apprentice who has participated at least seven months may apply to the Eco-Village to become a Level 2 journeyperson which includes the potential for long-term membership and residency. A Level 2 journeyperson is expected to contribute at least 20 hours per week for five years, with reasonable time off, with the understanding that there will be times when more hours will be required and that 10- to 12-hour days will be required from time to time.

A Level 2 journeyperson must reside on the land. A resident journeyperson is expected to independently provide for their household's sleeping quarters (if none are available on the land) and domestic needs such as food (beyond what the Collective provides), warmth, electricity and waste handling and share common expenses.

Resident Steward

At the conclusion of five-years, a  Level 2 journeyperson would be eligible to request permanent residency as a Resident Steward. If approved, a 99-year non-transferrable lease issued by the Land Trust (once the land trust is fully established) would be signed. A Resident Steward is a member of the Eco-Village and is expected to contribute at least 20 hours of labor per week, with reasonable time off, until age 65, with the understanding that there will be times when more hours will be required and that 10- to 12-hour days will be required from time to time. A Resident Steward resides on the land year-round. A Resident Steward is expected to independently provide for their household's sleeping quarters and domestic needs such as food (beyond what the Collective provides), warmth, electricity and waste handling and share common expenses.

Apprentices, Journeypersons and Resident Stewards involved in the BZ Permaculture Farm Collective all receive an equal pay rate in the form of "Patronage Refunds" and a food share. The farm enterprise operates on a "cash basis," meaning that gross receipts are made up of the cash that the collective actually receives and do not include any accounts receivable (money owed but not yet paid). Of the gross receipts, 30% accrues to the collective members to be regularly distributed on the basis of patronage as the percentage of total labor hours each member contributed. The remainder of the funds, the Collective Account, are used to pay for farm-related tools, equipment, supplies, repairs, infrastructure, utilities etc. Funds from the Collective Account can, from time to time, be distributed on the basis of patronage to Collective Members as dividends under certain conditions. Patronage refunds are distributed to current and former Collective Members proportional to their individual contributions to the total number of hours worked (the Whole) carried over year to year. Using this model, workers begin to build limited equity in the farm enterprise which they retain even in the event they leave the Collective.

The Village as well as the Farming Collective reserve the ability to expel any member (Apprentice, Journeyperson or Resident Steward) utilizing a "Consensus Minus One" exit procedure. The member whose membership is in question is not afforded the authority to block the decision on their membership status for the duration of the exit procedure. Everyone else would have to agree to end the membership for it to become effective. Disputes are settled by community mediation or settled by a third party ally of the Eco-Village.