Marshall Farm – Volunteer Internship Opportunity

 In Farming, Featured, Gardening, Greenhouse, Opportunities


About the farm: 

The Marshall’s are developing a farm on a 20 acre property on the south side of the bow river, 3 km east of Deerfoot Trail, just outside of Calgary’s city limits. This farm is an excellent place to learn many diverse skills related to growing food and raising animals in an ecologically conscious way.

Janet and Dave Marshall have opened up their land for this volunteer opportunity to individuals interested in learning new skills, getting some hands on experience and those who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty!

Janet and Dave have also partnered with a local team of spin farmers this year who will be intensively growing annual crops on the property for their business. Interns will have the unique opportunity to see how a spin farm operates first hand and the chance to participate gaining hands on experience!


About the Internship:

This is a volunteer internship. Interns will receive an intensive work-to-learn (and work-to-eat!) experience that will familiarize you with many aspects of small scale mixed farming from planning to growing food crops and managing animals.

In exchange for your hard work, you can expect to receive a share of the surplus food grown and preserved on the farm, as well as a healthy meal each day worked (sorry: unable to provide vegan meals).

  • Internships will start in April and run to the end of October (approximately).
  • We request interns work one 8 hour shift per week. Times and days for working can be flexible to accommodate existing commitments.
  • We are looking for up to 4 interns, so the ability to work as a part of a team is important.
  • While we do our best to plan ahead, things like the weather or shifting priorities may mean changing plans from time to time. A willingness to be flexible, and to go with the flow will be important. 
  • Knowledge of permaculture principals is an asset.
  • Interns will report mainly to the Internship Leader, Vanessa. Janet and/or Dave Marshall will also participate in the orientation, ongoing education and special projects.


Routine duties:

Interns will be involved in learning and taking responsibility for tasks in the following areas:

  • All aspects of gardening including: greenhouse use, seed starting and seedling management, seeding and transplanting annual and perennial food crops, bed preparation, weeding, pruning, watering, mowing.
  • Soil building practices: sheet mulching, planting and mowing cover crops, compost management, compost tea brewing and application.
  • Infrastructure building and hardscape maintenance: fencing, pathways, swales, shelters.
  • Animal care and feeding: chickens, turkeys, geese, pigs, sheep and cows.
  • Proper operation and maintenance of equipment which may include: all hand tools (spades, rakes, axe, pruning shears, hammers, and saws), air and water pumps, tractor, front end loader, weed whipper, plate tampers, power drills and drivers, quad.
  • Postharvest handling and preparation: processing, freezing, canning, dehydrating, juicing, hooch making.


Proposed special projects for 2014:

Interns may have the opportunity to observe and contribute towards the following ongoing projects as time allows:

  • Grazing rotation procedures for all animals that will maximize feeding and weeding functions: chickens, geese, turkeys, sheep, pigs, and cows.
  • Animal processing: butchering, curing, smoking, freezing, canning etc.
  • Animal feed experiments: sprouting, fodder systems.
  • Building various structures (mobile turkey and chicken shelters, hoop house).
  • Providing support to the SPIN farm operation on site: planting, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, processing.
  • And more!



Please send your answers to the following questions, with references, to Vanessa Hanel at by Friday, March 21st, 2014.

Basic Information:

  • Name
  • Street Address
  • City
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Current Occupation/Sector

Application questions:

  1. Why are you interested in this internship position? 
  2. What do you hope to gain from this experience? (please be specific)
  3. What is your background knowledge or experience in agriculture, horticulture and/or permaculture? 
  4. What specific skills can you offer to our team? 
  5. Are you better at working alone, one on one, or in a group? 
  6. What are your future goals related to farming/permaculture, and how will the internship program help you to achieve these goals? 
  7. Tell us something interesting or unique about yourself.
  8. What is your favorite thing to eat? 
  9. Is there anything else you think we should know about you?
  10. Do you have any physical limitations? 
  11. Which days of the week are you available to volunteer? (list all, schedule will be determined at a later date)

Questions? Please email Vanessa at (Vanessa is a past intern & the 2014 Internship Leader).

Thank you for considering this internship!

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Showing 5 comments
  • Fabian

    Hello I would like to know if you need voluntary help on the weekends? I would like to participate and help but I have a full time job that would not allow me to do interships.

    • rob avis
      Rob Avis

      From time to time we have blitz’s that we post on facebook and the website. Keep an eye on those two places for opportunties.

  • Karine

    just excited to know if I will be part of your team..!?


    • Alanna Youngblood

      Hi Karine, I will check in with the farm, if you applied to the email given I am sure they are reviewing your application.

  • Derek Borden

    I wish that I didn’t change departments at work. My old schedule would have allowed for doing this. 🙁

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