Work exchange in a botanical garden on Vancouver Island

Work exchange in a botanical garden on Vancouver Island

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Program details

Canada work exchange program

Innisfree is an internationally registered Botanical Garden and a herbal farm near Courtenay on Vancouver Island, with an extensive collection of medicinal plants, a dispensary making herbal teas and other preparations, and gardens of culinary herbs, vegetables and berries.

This botanical garden is a nature oasis with a mission, where the founders teach Botanical Medicine, nutrition, health, Shinrin yoku with a view to heal and reconnect people to Nature. The garden is helping people seek wellness in nature for over 10 years. It showcases medicinal and food plants and educate about native plants and conservation with an array of classes and workshops, and other programs.

About the program

2023 update from the host

” We grow a lot of food and run a small farm shop and seasonal cafe, but mostly we are a registered botanic garden, one of just 15 in Canada, with a specialty in medicinal plants. We have over 200 herbs and trees and interns work with many of them over the season, seeding, transplanting, maintenance and harvesting. This season we are also doing some major renovations on the land – restoring a pond, planting new berry bushes, building a teaching pavilion and installing new split rail fences and gates. We especially welcome interns with experience or expertise in natural farming, gardening and horticulture, herbal medicine, food services or hospitality services. Minimum stay one month, preferably two.”

What’s in it for You?

  • private room in the trailer or in the loft of the barn
  • all pantry staples and produce for cooking own meals in kitchen shared with other interns
  • two community lunches provided every week
  • all linens and bedding
  • access to washing machine
  • wifi
  • bicycles (5 minutes to the beach, 30 minutes to town on trail system)
  • all tools and garden gloves
  • extensive library of books and video of holistic gardening and organic farming, herbal medicine, nutrition and cooking, aromatherapy, biology and botany.
  • possible opportunity to attend workshops or classes being hosted at Innisfree

Work exchangers live on site and typically stay 2 weeks – 2 months. They work 25 – 30 hours per week in exchange for full board and lodging.

Working week is 5 mornings (9 am – 1 pm) and 2 afternoons (2 – 5 pm) per week (Mon – Fri) 19 – 30 March, 16 September – 1 November


  • Good work ethic – some gardening and farming is dirty and muddy and cold and it still has to get done.
  • Experience working outdoors is a big plus – farming, landscaping, tree planting, construction.
  • A strong back – literally because you’ll do some landscaping, lifting and hauling and shoveling.
  • No significant health restrictions.
  • Good time management – we work as a team and showing up late or not being ready on time puts extra work onto your colleagues.
  • Sociable and friendly.


Growing, harvesting and processing food for the Green Dream café, the apprentices’ kitchen and the farm shop work occupies approximately half of the working week. The remainder is spent in the herb gardens, the amenity gardens and the botanic gardens and the grounds in general.

Activities may include, but are not limited to, making potting mix and making soil, seeding, transplanting, pruning, staking/tying, weeding, watering, harvesting and processing food and herbs.



Accomodation offer

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Flight offer

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Program highlights


Contact details

Address: Innisfree Farm
3636 Trent Road
Courtenay BC V9N 9R4
Phone: (250) 336 8767

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