ANIMAL SYSTEMS COORDINATOR
open until position is filled
Quail Springs is a leading environmental educational nonprofit that empowers students of all ages and backgrounds with knowledge, skills, and inspiration essential to cultivating ecological and social health.
Founded in 2004, Quail Springs is a leading educational nonprofit stewarding a 450-acre, high desert permaculture farm and conservation site. We teach strategies and techniques for designing resilient environments and creating healthy and culturally vibrant communities. Quail Springs mission is to empower students of all ages and backgrounds with knowledge, skills, and inspiration essential to cultivating ecological and social health. We believe the most effective way to foster positive change is through our relationships, with one another and our ecologies.
Our goal on the farm is to provide as much of our daily food as possible throughout the year for staff, students and visitors to Quail Springs Farm, as well as for our food-giving animals. We do this through our mixed food forest and garden systems and holistic, integrated food producing animal systems. The residents and staff are a dedicated group of teachers, farmers, natural builders, inspired chefs, and land stewards who strive to further our non-profit’s mission through working, living, and teaching within the ethics of Permaculture. Our community focuses on providing top quality education through our courses, tending and rehabilitating the land on which we are situated, creating culture through food, music and farming, and outreach to people seeking regenerative lifestyles.
This opportunity offers extensive practical opportunities to learn about the day-to-day operations of a full-time functioning Permaculture farm and educational organization, and is geared specifically for those deeply interested in and drawn to work long-term in community in a supportive role. We are looking for individuals who embrace simple, remote, rural living: successful applicants are able to live and work in the same community, while striking a work/life balance. They are inclusive, flexible, comfortable in groups, creative problem solvers, and are able to manage themselves through a wide range of challenges. High energy, a good sense of humor, strong communication skills, a positive attitude, and a willingness to learn and to teach are essential attributes.
The Animal Systems Coordinator oversees the animal systems (currently a 12 goat herd, 70 chickens, and 13 rabbits), by coordinating and working directly with the core farm team and farm interns. Oversight includes increasing the health and productivity of each system through improved designs and strategies created and implemented with the farm team and community. There is ample room to improve on the systems of tracking, and a chance to organize the farm records and documentation. A large aspect of this position is the coordination and management of the farm team, although the Animal Systems reports directly to the Farm Manager and Executive Director, who will provide support and financial oversight. Advice is also readily available from the on-site Farm Advisors. There is also a choice opportunity to take a large role in updating the permaculture design of the farm in conjunction with the Farm Manager and community.
Quail Springs has a vast network of local farms from whom we purchase and barter and we are ultimately looking to further develop our engagement in the local food movement and/or to be a key stakeholder in the Food Action Plan of Santa Barbara County. There are other staff members to collaborate with in this endeavor.
- Understand all livestock needs, including food, shelter, care, and their integration into other systems
- Oversee maintenance of goat, rabbit, and chicken systems and chores
- Work intimately with the rest of the Farm Management Team towards upgrading current design and working towards more holistically integrated systems
- Create organized protocol/binders for each system
- Train Apprentices on livestock caretaking in conjunction with the Farm Manager
- Organize and prioritize Apprentice tasks (especially when planning your own time off)
- Keep diligent records and generate quarterly farm reports
- Set and work towards goals based on baseline staff and course participant numbers and production levels from previous years
- Interface with programs for farm-specific courses
- Attend weekly or bi-weekly meetings in conjunction with the Farm Manager with farm team to give and receive farm feedback, and to see that all farm needs are being met
- Assess and express farm and staff needs to the Farm Manager and Executive Director
- Rally and coordinate with the QS community for project support
- Commit to helping find and train next Animal Systems Coordinator upon exit
- Other duties as needed
Qualities & Qualifications of the Ideal Person
- 2 to 5 years’ experience with farm animal systems – preferably with some management-level experience
- PDC certificated course (Permaculture design practice ideal)
- Experience managing people
- Ability to create an inspiring and motivating work environment
- Clear and effective communication skills
- Flexibility and adaptability to changing situations
- The ability to create and manage your own schedule, be flexible with hours and projects, be self-directed, and take initiative on work and projects
- Willingness to engage in more mundane community chores (laundry, cleaning, etc.) and a strong spirit of volunteerism on community projects
- Ability to live in community and to work well in a team
- Cultural sensitivity & ability to adapt working style
- Strong work ethic and attention to detail
- Own a computer and have computer skills; Word processing, simple accounting, and spreadsheets
- Internet research abilities
- Bilingual Spanish/English is preferred
- LGBTQ+ folks and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply
- We value relevant life experiences that demonstrate qualification as much as education
Quail Springs Permaculture is based near Ventucopa, California in the Cuyama Valley.
We are looking for someone with a minimum of a 1-year commitment. It is preferable to have you visit the site before committing, to determine whether this is a fit. A two-week trial period begins your stay, followed by a check-in each month for three months to assess the fit with the position, the environment, and the community.
Working & Living Conditions
The Animal Systems Coordinator will live and work in the Quail Springs’ community setting, where there are anywhere from 10-25 other people living and working on the mission of the organization – although during courses, the site can expand to up to 70 people for two weeks (for example, during our two PDCs). The site is remote, with limited communications (cell phones do not work, and internet and phone service is limited to the office/classroom area). We have a very small office or RV as our indoor working environments (at times the classroom is available). Quail Springs’ classroom and kitchen commons are two 30-foot yurts which are heavily used during programs. Work will be acute prior to, during, and just after programs and other events.
For 25-30 hours/week, the Animal Systems Coordinator will be provided room and board in beautiful, non-toxic earthen housing and a small stipend of $250 per month. We are working hard to be able to offer all our residents stipends. In the meantime, additional income is also possible through teaching and catering. Also provided are nourishing food, a reference library, on-site phone service /internet, hundreds of acres of beautiful wilderness, a lively community atmosphere of various ages, and what most have deemed a treasured, life-changing experience.
To apply, please fill out the application below and we will get back to you soon.