Agriculture Internship at Down to Earth in Quebec

Down to Earth GardenNatural Agriculture Internship Opportunity at Down to Earth in Quebec

Let there be no illusions: out here at the edge of the wild, there is always a lot of hard work to do, and environmental conditions are often extreme.  Living in direct connection with nature and the changing seasons can be immensely rewarding, and can challenge and change us in ways we could not have imagined.  However, it is our belief that it is best to match the needs and objectives of any given season with the propensities, preferences, and interests of new volunteers or interns selected.  Have a look at what we have planned for the upcoming season.  Does it seem like a match for what you feel called to participate in?  Consider the information presented here carefully.  Does this opportunity still feel in alignment with how you wish to learn and live? Interns will have the opportunity to learn with us as we move through life, honing the rich arts of symbiotic existence in the modern age. Application Deadline: There is no specified deadline.   If you wish to be considered for this position then your best bet is to send in your application as soon as possible. About Down to Earth: Far more than a mere company, Down to Earth is the creative union of a diverse yet tight-knit community.  Gardeners, candlemaker, craftsmen, photographer, chefs, bakers, preservers and homesteaders: though Down to Earth as a collective endeavour is heading into its second year, many of its members have been honing their craft for a lifetime. United by a passion for the finest field-to-table apician delights, a love of living harmoniously with the earth under feet, and a reverence for the old ways of working with the land, Down to Earth represents all that is best in symbiotic sustenance. Here, at Down to Earth, we strive ever to bring our products, and our own lives, into greater and greater harmony with the Earth herself.  We feel that doing what one loves is the greatest catalyst of creation, and that perfection is already present within nature. We need only align what we do with the direction of our hearts, and align our systems with the biosphere around us.  Quality, wellness, symbiosis, and joy are the hallmarks of our approach to agriculture and craftsmanship, and our products reflect the love and soul that goes into their making.

Contact Info and Location:

215 Airport Rd

Isle-Aux-Allumettes, Quebec

J0X 1M0



The many activities our community may undertake include, but are not limited to:

-Field preparation

-Field reclamation

-Pulling weeds

-Starting seedlings

-Planting seeds and seedlings

-Watering plants

-Constructing greenhouses

-Tending a fire

-Pulling more weeds


-Washing Vegetables

-Chinampa construction and maintenance

-Packaging products

-Natural and conventional building

-Mixing cob

-Recycling old farm structures

-Repairing and maintaining tools and machinery

-Making trips to the local waste facility

-Pulling more weeds again

-Preparing food from scratch

-Enjoying Nature

-Harvesting wild edible plants

-Groundskeeping and Landscaping

-Getting rained on

-Helping out neighbours

-Feeding animals

-Collecting eggs

-Conducting research

-Feeding hordes of hungry mosquitoes

-Digging drainage ditches

-Creating raised beds

-Getting covered in mud

-Swimming in the river

-Solving challenges

-Making Preserves

-Laughing =)

-Experimental agriculture projects

-Saving seeds

-Going to Market

-Collecting firewood

-Collecting pails of sap

-Making maple syrup

-Did we mention pulling weeds?

And so on.

Working hours:

In exchange for room, board, educational opportunity, and a modest weekly stipend, interns are to work an average of 40 hours a week.  Although it is often unavoidable, unlike many farms… we do try whenever possible to relax during awful weather and work whenever it is pleasant to be outside (unless of course, you really prefer to work in the freezing rain… believe it or not, some do).  With scheduled market days and customer pickups, this isn’t always as practicable as we would like, but some degree of ‘flex-time’ with your preferred schedules and Mother Nature can be anticipated, so long as the work gets done when it needs to.

Though rare at the beginning, as the season wears on and your competency is honed, you will at times have the opportunity to work alone or without supervision.

Uncharacteristic of a farmer, the lead farm hand isn’t generally a morning person.  As you begin to know your work, you may opt to begin earlier in the day on your own so you can enjoy your evenings off, if you wish.

You are encouraged to ask us whatever questions you may have about the nature of the work week.  It can be complicated… and as such we’re open to negotiation.

Internship Period:

Internship dates generally run from spring to late fall.  We typically need help as soon as the ground can be worked all the way until it freezes again, though we understand you may have other obligations at the beginning and/or end of the season.  Thus, some degree of flexibility is possible with the dates.  Be sure to communicate your other intents and commitments when applying.

Sick Time:

Getting sick happens.  Making up for sick time once you are well again is also something we would generally request.


Full access to bathing, washing (with clothesline, no dryer on site), and cooking facilities are provided, and it is also important for individuals to have their own personal space.  As such, all interns (except for couples, or those who elect, for whatever their own reasons may be, to bunk together) will be provided with their own living space, typically a camper trailer, or in warmer weather, for shorter-term volunteers, possibly a large tent (be sure to ask for this year’s accommodation details) for the duration of their stay.

Below zero weather is common early and late season.  Please discuss with us what we can all do to ensure adequate preparations are made for this eventuality.  In extreme weather, you are welcome to sleep inside the home, but unfortunately all we may be able to offer on such nights is a couch beside the fireplace.


You will have the opportunity to work on several different sites within a several km radius.  This will give you a wider range of experience with different soil types and microclimates than is usual for such an internship.  You will be able to see, firsthand, the pronounced difference that the terroir has on crop characteristics.


Questions are highly encouraged, and ample opportunity exists to ask them; though we often say we could do this 100 years and still not have half the answers.  The amount of knowledge lost when our culture disconnected from its agricultural and natural heritage is staggering, even frightening.  What we have learned, we will be more than happy to share, and we expect to learn even more together.  Some community members have only been here a few years, but others have been honing their craft for decades.

Keep your eyes open, be prepared for many different answers, and always keep in mind that with the sheer quantity of variables involved, what worked once often does not work again in most future seasons.

If by chance, in the course of your duties, you receive conflicting instructions from different community members, we would ask that you let us know without any hesitation.  When there are so many possible ways to do things, this is always an inevitability.

If you have any agricultural experiments you would like to conduct while here, please discuss them with us well in advance.


There are four large German Shepherds in total on the sites.  They are generally very people oriented, but if you have a fear of dogs, please discuss this with us in advance.


Please be aware that though the atmosphere is quite peaceful and relatively laid-back, any kind of inebriation during work hours is generally cause for serious concern. Please be aware, we also have a general ban of tobacco on the premises due to the risks that mosaic virus poses to our crops and livelihood.


The food provided is simple yet nourishing and rich, and most of it is cooked from scratch.  Our diet is often radically different than the typical North American fare.  Much is seasonal, harvested from the garden or the wild (though the prettiest and earliest produce, as a general rule, goes to market), and dried beans, grains, seeds and pulses play a prominent part.  If you have the heart, you can fish nearby on your time off.  Meals can be prepared together or separate, according to your preference, though please be aware that meal making and clean-up times afterwards are not generally considered work time.

There are a couple competent cooks in the community to learn from, and one is even spectacular.


We seek to provide a climate of openness and acceptance at all times.  Tolerance and understanding are prerequisites for harmonious community.


There is an abundance of woods, fields, (hundreds of empty acres) and trails nearby to explore. Wild berries are common.  The community is on an island in the Ottawa River, and one site even boasts a remote beach camping site that interns are welcome to make use of.  Many other potential camping sites are open to you.

Some watercraft is also available for use.  Aside from the river, there is a lake nearby, and one intern trailer is set up in a quiet location in the woods beside a small navigable creek.  Other outdoor activities may be available. Feel free to ask!

With regards to internet connection, we pay for usage, so checking email we can happily accommodate the cost of, but heavy internet users can contribute to their usage (and at 5$ a gig, streaming videos or Netflix or large downloads are inadvisable), make their own connectivity arrangements (though be advised signal out here is often poor, especially inside), or take the opportunity to technologically detox.  We apologize in advance for this inconvenience.

If you engage in any manner of craftsmanship, you are encouraged to continue doing so here on your off time, and to let us know in advance in case there is anything we can do to facilitate it.


If you have guests during working times, we would encourage them to volunteer alongside you, and in that role are your responsibility.  Please ensure they do not disrupt the pace of work, and are made familiar with the dos and don’ts of rural life.

For off-hour visits, if you like to party loud and hard, please give us a heads-up so we can set you up on a site a little further away =)

Unfortunately, for either short or long-term visits we generally cannot accommodate children or pets at this time.  Please ask for details if this policy might affect you.

Your physical limits:

Farming can be physically demanding, repetitive and hard on the body:  interns are encouraged to do something to move differently before your body has reached its limit, and practices like yoga are highly encouraged.  Be sure to inform us of any strains or injuries immediately, no matter how trivial they may seem.  It takes surprisingly little time for a minor pain to turn into a major long-term injury.

Try to keep warm and dry whenever possible.  Frostbite is always a possibility in the cooler months, so, please, listen to your body.


Except for work-related tasks, all transportation is the sole responsibility of the intern.  That said, opportunities to ride-share into the closest town, Pembroke, often do present themselves.

Before Arrival:

Interns are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves fully with:

-The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman,

-The Hand-Sculpted House by Evans, Smith, and Smiley,

-If possible (helpful but not required) an owner’s manual for an old Ford 8n (we run a 1949)

-And any other relevant literature that catches their interest.

Preparations and things you should bring:

-An up-to-date tetanus shot is very much advisable

-A flashlight

-An LED or equivalent headlamp

-A few pairs of work clothes

-Head to toe rain gear

-A bike for your own leisure, is highly recommended

-Rubber boots, preferably insulated

-Good-weather comfortable footwear

-Several pairs of good quality comfortable work gloves, including winter work gloves

-Whatever you need to keep the sun off your head and shoulders

-Sheets, pillows, and towels

-Work safety boots (Steel toe and steel plates underfoot)

-A very warm sleeping bag, and lots and lots of blankets

-More blankets

-Mosquito bed net

-Some beeswax candles are advisable, but please don’t fall asleep with them lit!

-A lighter

-A metric ton of heavy duty bug spray.  You’ve been warned.


-A mountain of socks

-More bugspray

-Water bottles

-Pen and small notepad

-A positive attitude, a lot of patience, and a good sense of humour!

-Anything else you think you’d bring on a several month camping trip to Antarctica.

We understand that for most people budgets are limited.  If you have difficulty obtaining any of these items for any reason, don’t hesitate to let us know.  In some cases we may be able to find someone willing to lend them to you.

Interested parties may forward their CV, cover letter and two references to:

Please let us know where you encountered our posting!

Also, feel free to contact us with any additional questions or concerns, or to check out our website:

1 Comment on Agriculture Internship at Down to Earth in Quebec

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