Snow Lake Keep is seeking individuals with a burning desire to better understand the nitty-gritty of permacultural homesteading to join us on the farm for both short (two-week) and longer-term apprenticeship positions.

We are accepting applicants who wish to partner with us to hone their skills in a supportive, structured environment. Work focus can be tailored to your specific interests, with activities on our farm ranging from gardening and animal care to building and wildcrafting. You will work alongside our experienced resident homesteaders, who have a wide variety of skills and many years of experience homesteading in the rocky terrain of the North Mountain on the Fundy Coast.

Many of us here began our journeys through work-away and WWOOFing experiences, and we understand the value that a well-organized, respectful apprenticeship can provide.

Meals & Accommodations

As an apprentice, you will be welcomed to shack up in one of two apprentice cabins.

The Dog House, as it’s affectionately known, is a modest summer shack, tucked into the woods alongside Snow Brook. This space is available now and has served well in the warmer months as private sleeping quarters for visiting farm workers and apprentices past!

The Skunky Bunky is a more luxurious, four-season shelter currently under construction, and will be ready for its first occupant in June, 2019. This guest space will offer wood heat, kitchenette, and private bunk space for up to three.

Dog HouseDog House

Skunky BunkySkunky Bunky

Food is central to our way of life here. As an apprentice, you will have access to our harvests, both fresh and preserved. Community meals are often prepared in the warmer months and weekly farm dinners are standard year-round. While you will be expected to cook some of your own meals, we do our best to make sure you feel supported and well fed, and that means sharing our cooking whenever possible.

Shared Meals

Farm Bounty

Shared Meals

Life at the Keep

We are working to create a way of life that is spiritually, physically and emotionally nourishing – with a deepening relationship to the land at its heart.

In addition to the daily chores (tending the gardens and greenhouses, milking our goats, feeding the birds, collecting firewood, etc.), there are always new challenges to keep us on our toes. With several active construction projects, tool and infrastructure maintenance and the occasional experimental project, life in our forest is a bustle of activity.

Preserving

Construction Projects

Goats in pasture

While there is no shortage of hard work on the farm, we also know how to party. Our winters are kept warm and hearty with weekly farm dinners, sauna parties and fireside conversations. We celebrate the warmer months with bonfires, solstice and equinox parties, and dips in the lake after a long day’s work.

Bonfire up the hill

Waterfall dips

Beach Bonfire

Quality of life at the Keep is of high importance, and we expect no less for our guests.

Year-Round Skills Training

Garlic a-curing

Fall

Harvesting
Root-Cellaring & Curing
Preserving (Canning, Drying, Fermenting, Smoking)
Medicinal Preparations
Tool & Building Maintenance
Winter-Proofing

An's firewood is really piling up

Winter

Woodlot Management (Silviculture)
Ecological Firewood & Timber Production (Chainsawing, Milling)
Goat Kidding & Dairy
Butchering
Building Design & Planning
Maple Syrup Production

Gardens and greenhouses

Spring / Summer

Greenhouse Production
Field Crops
Irrigation & Water Catchment/Management
Goat Dairy
Cheesemaking
Building Construction (Timber Frame & Slipform Masonry)
Wildcrafting
Beekeeping
Poultry Management

During my two-month apprenticeship, I helped build two houses; prepared soil for planting; nurtured, harvested and preserved crops; handled and fed animals; used powered and hand-tools; practiced my community and social skills – all while enjoying lake-swimming, bonfire parties, and the constant calls of loons, owls and coyotes. Turn hard work into amazing memories and personal growth at Snow Lake Keep!

Nelson Carvalho, Toronto

Apply

Applications will be considered based on best fit and availability. Successful applicants will be contacted for a short video chat or farm visit if travel allows. Thanks for your interest!

When would you be available to join us, and for how long? We generally receive greater interest in summer positions. If your availability is flexible, consider applying for winter to spring.
Let us know how we can best support your learning goals. What do you feel you can bring to an apprenticeship position at Snow Lake Keep, and what do you expect to take away? Be sure to include any relevant skills, interests and previous experience you have, what skills you hope to gain, as well as how you plan to apply these skills in the future.

FAQ

If you guys are off-grid, does that mean you have no power?

Our homes run on solar power and it is usually plentiful. The guest cabins and outbuildings are unpowered, but charging for personal gadgets is available wherever the juice is flowing.

You mentioned this is a queer community; do I need to be queer, too?

Of course not. Be open-minded. Be hearty. Be hungry.

I’m vegetarian/vegan/paleo, can you handle that?

Your body, your choice! Meals on the farm can range from vegan to meat-lover’s, depending on what’s in season, as we try to feed ourselves as much as possible from what we can produce. However, there is always a variety of options available year-round, and you are of course welcome to smuggle in off-farm fare as needed.

For those with food sensitivities, let us know in your application and we will do our best to accommodate.

Do you all live together in a shared space? What are your bathroom/shower facilities?

As a homesteading community, there is a level of intimacy inherent in the way we live. We also value privacy for both ourselves and our guests, and that means everyone has access to private space.

There are no flush-toilets on the property; all washrooms make use of compost toilets. Hot showers are available by request in winter months, while in warmer seasons bathing is generally done in the lake or greenhouses.

Is your community drug-free?

We enjoy a variety of experiences, which sometimes include elective plant-medicines. Moderate use of alcohol and organic tobacco are also part of life here.

Can I bring my dog/cat/ferret/capybara/etc.?

Some of our farm animals roam freely, so unfortunately we don’t allow pets.

Sounds remote… are you close to a town with services, like a laundromat?

We are a 10-minute drive from laundry, grocery and hardware stores, plus you can wash your clothes in the creek if you like. Our weekly farmers’ market is 25-minute drive. The valley is generally hitchhiker friendly and bikeable in warmer months.

Sounds great. What’s the catch?

The black flies in late spring can take some getting used to, unless you’re from rural Ontario…