Work exchange in a botanical garden on Vancouver Island

Location:

Work exchange in a botanical garden on Vancouver Island


Program details

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

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. You’ll live in trailers, where there are private rooms, 1 shared room, with shared kitchen, bathroom, and common room space. Ability to get on with people is very important.

No formal classes are offered as such but there is a lot of opportunity and support for self-directed learning, access to an extensive library of books and movies, time for questions and discussions and casual learning by doing and immersion. Minimum stay is 2 weeks.

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

Requirements

  • 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.

Responsibilities

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.

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