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Internships

A Unique Opportunity in 2024 to Grow a Medicine Garden with Chanchal Cabrera, MSc. & Thierry Vrain, PhD.

We are seeking plant lovers, herbal medicine enthusiasts, and gardeners to come get dirty with us, and learn about growing food and medicine, community gardening, and nature therapy.

  • Are you a gardener or a novice herbalist longing for a greater connection to the plants?
  • Are you a grower looking for first-hand experience in small-scale farming?
  • Or perhaps you are simply feeling called to spend some deep time with the plants.

If so, we invite you to join medical herbalist Chanchal Cabrera and soil biologist Thierry Vrain for an experiential deep-dive into the world of small-scale farming and cultivating plant relationships.

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN

Preferred minimum stay 4 weeks.

Internship opportunities from March 18 – May 24 & September 22 – November 1

25 hours per week of work-trade in exchange for room and full board.

Learning Opportunities

Interns have extensive opportunity and resources for self-directed learning including access to the library, as well as some Q&A time with the head gardener and internationally renowned medical herbalist, Chanchal Cabrera.

The program is expected to open new ways of learning about plants, from the science to art, as well as their use as medicine.  There are close to 200 medicinal plants on the farm and interns may work with several dozens during their program.  

For applicants with prior herbal training looking for a more advanced clinical program, we recommend you look at Chanchal’s Clinical Herbal Medicine Apprenticeship Program (8-week sessions: May 27 – July 21 or July 22 – September 18)

Internship Learning Objectives

At completion of this internship the student will be able to describe, discuss and demonstrate a range of the following skills sets according to season and duration of attendance:

  1. an appreciation for the structures and parts of plants and how they function (basic botany)
  2. skills and techniques of wild plant identification
  3. harvesting techniques for roots, barks, leaves, flowers, seeds
  4. drying and processing methods and equipment
  5. the methods and processes required to make herbal remedies
  6. the ways and means of building healthy soil through amendments and mulching
  7. the methods and processes required to make potting mix, choose plants for the season and the purpose, plant out flats of seeds, prick out seedlings, pot up seedlings, transplant seedlings, trellis or train the plants
  8. the method and processes required to prune, weed and maintain the plants
  9. saving seeds and seed banking

Who applies to be an intern at Innisfree?

Interns come from a variety of sources: Woofers, Institute of Holistic Nutrition (Innisfree is a work placement approved location), Herbal, Naturopathic and other Health schools, Independent learners, anyone looking to get away from the rat race to deepen their relationship to Nature.

This internship is designed for people who:

  • want to understand the link between what we eat and our health and well being
  • appreciate that food production, the environment and social and personal well being are all interlinked
  • are passionate about natural medicine and plants, and have an interest in “field to fork” eating – growing, harvesting and processing farm fresh food in season
  • have an interest in local, sustainable and low cost plant medicines and building community and personal resilience through plant medicine
  • want to empower themselves with knowledge about self care
  • want to know how to identify, grow, harvest and process their own herbal medicines
  • have a strong interest in eco-therapy, horticulture therapy and supporting the therapy work of the Botanic Garden
Want to see what it’s like to be an intern at Innisfree Farm? 
Check out this video compilation from one of our past interns:

Requirements for Live-in Interns

  • Good work ethic – some gardening and farming is dirty and muddy and cold (or hot) and it still has to get done. We especially like people with experience working outdoors – farming, landscaping, tree planting, construction, because you know how it is to work in all weather.
  • A strong back – literally, because we do some landscaping, lifting, hauling and shovelling.
  • No significant health or other physical restrictions
  • Good time management – we work as a team and showing up late or not being ready on time puts extra work on other apprentices.
  • Sociable and friendly – apprentices have private bedrooms, and share kitchen, bathroom and common space. Ability to get along with others is very important.
  • Willingness to be challenged, to try or to do new things, curiosity and desire to learn through doing.
  • $100 deposit to hold your place – will be returned to you when you complete your time here
  • You must carry up-to-date health insurance valid for BC. We further recommend you have a current tetanus vaccination.