Become a Dancing Rabbit Wexer:

Work Exchange and Internship Opportunities at Dancing Rabbit

If you’d like to see what life is like at Dancing Rabbit and build your skills in sustainable living at the same time, you may be interested in a work exchange or internship position. In exchange for your help on a project, your project host typically provides for your living accommodations, food, and other living expenses while at Dancing Rabbit.

Opportunities to gain hands-on experience is, of course, also part of the exchange. Projects often include natural building, green building, building design, organic gardening and food preservation, small agricultural endeavors, small business projects, childcare, and sustainable technology. The work exchange/internship “season” generally runs from April through October (though occasionally extended season opportunities arise).

2021 Work Exchange at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

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Check out your opportunities for the coming year:

Village Projects

 

Starting in 2021 the Center for Sustainable and Co-operative Culture (CSCC), the non-profit wing of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, is offering a community-based volunteer program. Participants in this program will get to experience a variety of projects related to village-building, ecological living, food production, and ecosystem restoration. All of this in the context of the beautiful rolling prairie, savannah, and open woodlands that Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage calls home.

One of the major projects this year will be starting and maintaining a diverse permaculture-inspired food forest and vegetable gardens, to feed ourselves and create value added products to sell to Dancing Rabbit inhabitants and the wider community. We will also be building SubHub, a community building which will serve as a meeting space, coop kitchen space, and offer volunteer housing, workshops and more. Another is to repair and revamp our camping area, transforming it into a three-season glamping paradise by utilizing local, renewable, and/or recycled materials to create glorified tent platforms which include roofs, partial walls and even bug screens! We aim to explore a variety of natural building techniques including wattle and daub, lime plaster, cob, eco-bricks, split shingles, thatching and more. There is also likely to be a fair amount of work doing land management/ecological restoration activities. This includes digging swales, planting trees, and removing invasive species. Other projects that may happen include revamping the front courtyard, converting our community orchard into a food forest, building a sauna, landscaping around the village, helping villagers with their personal projects, and canning and food preservation. The ideal candidate would be self motivated, have a strong interest in ecological living, possess a good work ethic, be physically fit, and have good interpersonal skills. Bonus points for experience in carpentry, natural building, gardening, and/or ecological restoration/conservation work!

In exchange for working 20-30 hours per week, wexers (work exchangers) will receive a tent platform for camping, food (as part of a kitchen co-op where you will cook 1-2 times per week), and access to the common house facilities which include electricity, hot showers, laundry, and unlimited Wi-Fi.

Length of stay is 1 month. This program will run in August and September.

The Milkweed Mercantile:

The Milkweed Mercantile, a cooperatively-run inn, cafe, bar and store at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, is looking for Work Exchangers for our upcoming season.

The mission of the Mercantile is to provide meaningful work and to demonstrate a life that is sustainable in all ways. In our straw bale, solar-powered building we provide rooms and meals for Dancing Rabbit Seminars & Workshops, host a weekly Pizza Night (where even the dough is made from scratch), have a quirky little bar that is open just two hours a day, host coffee hour each morning, and serve as an informal Dancing Rabbit Welcome Center. Our wrap around screened-in front porch is a popular gathering place each evening as the sun goes down and the fireflies come out.

We are seeking two or more folks who are passionate about sustainable living, and interested in learning more about local and organic food, whole-foods cooking, eco-hospitality, and sharing a more sustainable life with like-minded people. We would like you to enjoy working with the public, and have experience in customer service, restaurant or other hospitality. Please be 21 or older and available for at least three consecutive months between April and October.

Tasks will depend upon your skills and what needs to be done, but may include assisting with baking, cooking, food preservation, and dishwashing in our kitchen; cleaning and helping with the inn and store; landscaping and vegetable/herb gardening; and helping customers to feel more comfortable.

In exchange for your help 30 hours a week, we provide you with a shared room in our inn, a spot in an eating cooperative, a monthly stipend, and a way to be in the center of all that is happening at Dancing Rabbit.

For a complete job description and details about the work exchange, please go to the Mercantile’s Work Exchange page. https://www.milkweedmercantile.com/workexchange . We hope to meet you soon!

Dairy Co-op Work Exchange Opportunity:

This summer the Dairy co-op is looking for someone to help us with the work of running our small dairy.  We use management-intensive rotational grazing, milk by hand, and make raw cheese on site.  We will probably be milking around 5-7 does and our Jersey/Guernsey cow, Sugar.  We generally run 3 sets of fence; one for the does, one for the buck and yearling wethers, and another for the cows.  The help we are looking for could begin as early as mid-April and go all the way through October.  This is flexible because the weather can be cold at times in the shoulder seasons, and also as we stumble through another year of figuring out Covid precautions.  Depending on vaccination status, we will likely ask that you isolate for a few days upon arrival and hopefully get a test.  We work and eat mainly outdoors, so we can mask and distance as needed and hopefully piece something together by which it is do-able to interact and be pretty safe.

Routine tasks will include milking, hauling water, moving fence, mulching, bringing milk to the refrigerator, dishes, making cheese, and chores associated with being in a kitchen co-op/eating scene.  In the early part of the season, before we start milking, it is important and enjoyable to spend time every day playing with the goat kids!  Hopefully we will also be making hay this year, and doing construction work on Mae’s addition.  There is gardening, and work that could be done to manage and improve pasture, and creating/managing an emergent silvopasture out of scrubland.

We are seeking an easy-going individual who is comfortable in a rustic setting and who values direct communication. Our accommodations are rustic; we provide a wooden tent platform and our work exchangers camp for the duration of their stay.  There are storms, ticks, poison ivy, and interpersonal challenges.  There are days that are really, really hot and everyone feels angry.  There is also the swimming pond, a vibrant shared kitchen scene, 280 acres with paths, and the chance to experience deeply what it is like to live a life that consumes 90% less resources than the average American.  There used to be potlucks, dance parties, song circle, and more.  This year there will likely be some outdoor social events and hopefully as more folks are vaccinated here on farm we can return to something closer to normal.

The standard work exchange expectations are that you will work an average of 35 hours per week, and we will cover your basic needs.  This looks like a tent platform for camping, an outhouse for pooping, an eating scene, showers, and electricity for charging things in the Common House.

With the eating co-op, we each take a turn cooking for everyone and cleaning up.  Generally, this means a weekly scheduling meeting and then we each cook one dinner and  lunch per week.  The dairy wexer (work exchanger) will eat in Critter kitchen.  It is often 8-12 folks in the height of the season, but it fluctuates.  Breakfast is haphazard, but there is cereal and milk and coffee.  Our diet places a heavy emphasis on foods that are minimally processed, local, and inexpensive.  Critter kitchen is also proud to use no fossil fuels for cooking, so we use mostly wood fire.  Experience with whole foods and cooking over fire is a plus!

Construction Work Exchange Opportunity:

This summer we are looking for someone to help us build an addition to our strawbale home as well as various other tasks.  The construction project will probably be a bit of a mashup between various natural and alternative styles with a heavy emphasis on what is inexpensive and will perform well over the lifetime of the building.  There will definitely be working with earthen materials AND framing with dimensional lumber.  I’m hoping to find folks who have some experience making or building things and using tools.     

The help we are looking for could begin as early as mid April and go all the way through October.  This is flexible because the weather can be cold at times in the shoulder seasons and also as we stumble through another year of figuring out Covid precautions.  Depending on vaccination status, we will likely ask that you isolate for a few days upon arrival and hopefully get a test.  We work and eat mainly outdoors, so we can mask and distance as needed and hopefully piece something together by which it is do-able to interact and be pretty safe.
 
A bit about us, we are Mae (36f) and Ben(36m) and our kids, Althea (11f) and Arthur (5m).  We have been homesteading at Dancing Rabbit for 9 years now.  We raise livestock, which currently consists of a flock of chickens, some pigs, assorted ducks.  We are members of the dairy coop and do a fair bit of work with the goats and cows, we’re also part of the vibrant Critter Collective subcommunity/kitchen coop.
 
The work we are looking for help with is not particularly glamorous and is not specifically designed as an educational experience, although there is no doubt that you will learn plenty!  As mentioned above, we are especially expecting to need help building the addition, and we also have gardens and animals that need tending.  Other routine tasks include hauling water, hauling garbage and recycling, processing firewood, fetching duckweed from the pond and food scraps from within the village to feed to the animals, gardening, and preserving the harvest.  There will certainly be small repair projects, cleaning up, work in the barnyard, and chores related to being in our eating co-op.  In the fall, we will appreciate help with processing the birds, usually 6-15 birds per week for a couple months.  The sensitive person should note that we do occasionally butcher animals at other times as well, primarily if we find a bird that has been killed by a predator but is still in good shape, or sometimes rabbits, raccoons, or groundhogs from traps set in gardens.    

We are seeking an easy-going individual who is comfortable in a rustic setting and who values direct communication.  Our accommodations are rustic; we provide a wooden tent platform and our work exchangers camp for the duration of their stay.  There are storms, ticks, poison ivy, and interpersonal challenges.  There are days that are really, really hot and everyone feels angry.  There is also the swimming pond, a vibrant shared kitchen scene, 280 acres with paths, and the chance to experience deeply what it is like to live a life that consumes 90% less resources than the average American.  There used to be potlucks, dance parties, song circle, and more.  🙁  This year there will likely be some outdoor social events and hopefully as more folks are vaccinated here on-farm we can return to something closer to normal.

The standard work exchange expectations are that you will work an average of 35 hours per week, and we will cover your basic needs.  This looks like a tent platform for camping, an outhouse for pooping, an eating scene, showers and electricity for charging things in the Common House. 

With the eating co-op, we each take a turn cooking for everyone and cleaning up.  Generally, this means a weekly scheduling meeting and then we each cook one dinner and lunch per week.  It is often 8-12 folks in the height of the season, but it fluctuates.  Breakfast is haphazard, but there is cereal and milk and coffee.  Our diet places a heavy emphasis on foods that are minimally processed, local, and inexpensive.  Critter kitchen is also proud to use no fossil fuels for cooking, so we use mostly wood fire.  Experience with whole foods and cooking over fire is a plus!

What is it like to be a work exchanger/intern at Dancing Rabbit?

Work exchangers and interns are hosted by individual Dancing Rabbit members. Arrangements between members and work exchangers/interns vary from project to project.

While a major focus of an work exchange/internship is on the work project, these opportunities offer much more. 
Typically, as a work exchanger or intern you are part of an eating cooperative or family-style eating arrangement. This allows you ample opportunities to prepare food, cook, and be involved in kitchen upkeep. You are also invited to be involved in the broader community of DR. You can attend the many and varied events that go on in the village and in neighboring communities. You have opportunities to participate in work parties and routine community duties. You also have access to the swimming pond as well as the 280 acres of land owned by Dancing Rabbit Land Trust.

Building Opportunities

9573107511_2cd356f8d0_bAs an ecovillage literally “under construction,” we often have many building projects happening at once. As a building work exchanger/intern you may have opportunities to experience one or more of these natural building methods:

  • Straw Bale
  • Earth & Lime Plaster
  • Earthen Floors
  • Light Clay Straw
  • Timber Frame
  • Post and Beam
  • Cob
  • Earth Bag
  • Urbanite Foundation
  • Rubble Trench

Some of the work takes some prior knowledge and skill, but a lot of it simply takes willingness to do hard, sometimes repetitive, physical labor and a good attitude. You’re sure to get lots of practice in what natural building is all about!

Organic Gardening Opportunities

Harvesting organic veggies for the communeMany Dancing Rabbit members have garden spaces around their homes or in designated garden spaces around the village. As a work exchanger/intern you may have opportunities to:

  • prepare garden beds for planting
  • tend to plant starts in a greenhouse
  • transplant starts
  • weed and water (a summertime favorite!)
  • apply natural pest control methods
  • harvest the goodies
  • cook, dry, pickle, and preserve food in many other ways
  • prune trees
  • tend to a vineyard
  • inoculate mushroom logs
  • gather wild edibles
  • tend to worms, chickens, or other animals

The work will depend on the time of the year and the gardening style of the host. As a work exchanger/intern you’re sure to get muddy and sweaty and to eat good home-grown food!

If you’d like to come see what we’re doing and experience one or two weeks of life among the Rabbits, please check out our visitor program.

You may also want to check out the internships available at our neighboring communities, Sandhill Farm and Red Earth Farms.