Work Exchange

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).

2022 Work Exchange at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Check out your opportunities for the coming year:

Village Projects – 2022

The Center for Sustainable and Co-operative Culture (CSCC), the non-profit wing of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, now offers 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. The work will vary heavily depending on the season and what kind of help folks are looking for at any particular time. With that in mind, here are some things you may get to help with:

    • Building SubHub: Subhub is a strawbale, earthen plaster community building which will serve as a meeting/workshop space, co-op kitchen space, low income and volunteer housing and more! This is an ongoing project and will likely be needing help throughout the year.
    • Land management/ecological restoration activities: Planting/mulching/weeding trees, collecting brush and making Biochar, and invasive species control.
    • Other miscellaneous activities: Gardening and food processing, Processing recycling, collecting/chopping/stacking firewood, landscaping around the village, digging trenches for our internal power grid, and helping villagers with all kinds of personal projects

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 25-30 hours per week, wexers (work exchangers) will receive a tent platform for camping (you can also pay to rent a room/tiny house if you want), 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 good Wi-Fi.

Length of stay is 4-5 weeks.

We currently have openings for these sessions:

    • April 17 – May 22
    • May 27 – June 30
    • August 21 – September 25
    • September 22 – October 27

Dairy Co-op Work Exchange Opportunities:

This summer the Dairy co-op is looking for someone (or a couple folks) to help us with the work of running our small dairy, especially milk and cheese handling. 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 2 Jersey/Guernsey cows, Sugar and Bessie. 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 May 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.

We are strongly preferring to host folks who have been vaccinated. Regardless of vaccination status, we may ask that you isolate for a few days upon arrival and get a test. We work and eat mainly outdoors, so we can mask and distance as needed and piece something together that is do-able and safe.

Routine tasks will include making cheese, doing dishes related to milking and making cheese, hauling water, moving fence, mulching, bringing milk to the refrigerator, 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! We are especially looking for someone with a passion for cheese and other dairy products, who wants to learn how to make cheese and take on a high level of independence in preserving the milk as it comes in every day. If there is time and interest, there are also so many other things to do, like gardening, and work that could be done to manage and improve pasture, and creating/managing an emergent silvopasture out of scrubland.

In the fall, we will appreciate help with processing the birds (chickens/ducks/turkeys), 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. Stays of one month and longer are preferred. 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 are typically potlucks, dance parties, song circle, and more. With the ever changing COVID landscape it’s difficult to say what the social scene will look like this year. At a minimum, there will likely be some outdoor social events.

The standard work exchange expectations are that you will work an average of 30-35 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:

Starting in May we are looking for volunteers to help us rebuild Critter Kitchen and tend to gardens that provide produce for the kitchen. Critter Kitchen is an outdoor kitchen co-op which services 8-12 members using no fossil fuels. Sadly, the building which made this possible burned down last November. This year we’ll be eating in a makeshift kitchen while we build a new outdoor kitchen. The construction project will be a mashup between various natural and alternative styles with a heavy emphasis on what is local, inexpensive, low impact and will perform well over the lifetime of the building. There will definitely be working with earthen materials AND framing with round wood and dimensional lumber. We will also be building/installing various off-grid cooking appliances and utilities including solar electricity, water catchment and plumbing, and cooking stove(s)/oven(s). We’re 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 May and go all the way through October. This is flexible because the weather can be cold at times in the shoulder seasons and we are stumbling through another year of figuring out COVID precautions. For the safety of us and the community, we strongly prefer that you be vaccinated. Though, regardless of vaccination status, we will likely ask that you isolate for a few days upon arrival and get a test before integrating fully into the community. We work and eat mainly outdoors, so we can mask and distance as needed and piece together a functional and safe way of interacting.

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 needing help to rebuild Critter Kitchen. As time and interest allow, there are a lot of other projects to work on, including finishing a nearby strawbale home and other building projects. 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 (chickens/ducks/turkeys), 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 are typically potlucks, dance parties, song circle, and more. With the ever changing COVID landscape it’s difficult to say what the social scene will look like this year. At a minimum, there will likely be some outdoor social events.

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. The cooking and eating accommodations will be extra rustic, but functional, because of the makeshift nature of this year’s kitchen. Experience with whole foods and cooking over fire is a plus!

The standard work exchange expectations are that you will work between 30-35 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.


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

As 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

Many 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.

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!