A Sunset over Quail Springs


Applications closed for this season

"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."

Our Mission Statement


About Quail Springs

Quail Springs residents and staff are a dedicated group of farmers, artists, land stewards, and advocates who strive to further our nonprofit's mission through working, living, and creating together in collaboration with the land. Our organization focuses on providing education through tending and rehabilitating the land which we inhabit; creating culture through food, music and farming; as well as sharing and exchanging skills and regenerative projects within our communities.

Position description

Land based living work trade

We offer a 5-6-month residency at Quail Springs that is grounded in community living and care, and the non-human relations who sustain us. This is a space to deepen connection with yourself, and the place-based social and ecological systems while practicing day-to-day practical skills of sustaining a rural off-grid farm collective in the high desert.

We are calling for folks who wish to embrace the profundity and resiliency of remote and rural living; people who are assertive learners, curious, mindful and oriented to community care, creative, and open to the diverse and emergent rhythm that the social and ecological systems here demand of us.

The trade

This trade includes a commitment to 25 hrs per week for a 5-6 month period. Weekends are friday/sat, or sunday/monday. These hours are oriented to work on the farm with our garden and animal systems, as well as tasks supporting our facilities and infrastructure team. This work is alongside the farm and facilities teams, or delegated by directors in these realms. As a bee in our community hive, this agreement also includes 10-15 hrs of weekly community tending.

In gratitude for this share of work, we offer accommodations, high quality food–meat, fresh goat milk and eggs, produce from the garden, locally sourced grains and staples, and access to our facilities on site.

What to expect

Work-traders are a part of the teams that run the farm and support facilities maintenance. Folks gain skill, understanding, and confidence through hands-on, field-based immersion into our daily life.

Worktraders are also members of our community and are fully included in Quail Springs community life. This includes attending our regular Tuesday Townhall meetings, participating in circles (aka subcommittees) of interest, signing up to cook dinner or wash up post meal ~2 meals/week, and contributing to regular weekly communal and land tending chores and needs. Although everyone on site contributes to the labor of the farm and the community, the farm, garden, and facilities tasks are a daily focus for worktraders volunteers and select staff, while other staff spend their days focused on non-profit organizational tasks (e.g., programming, administration, advocacy).

The work flow

An average day for a worktrader will begin with an early morning (7am in the peak of summer, 8-9am in the winter) jumping into your task for the day, whether it be turning on an irrigation system or feeding the chickens. Tuesdays include a noon-time hour long community townhall meeting with all folks on the land present. Wednesdays and thursdays are work-party days, where the farm team (farm directors and worktraders) and/or the whole community spends 4-5 hours together in the morning working in the garden or tending to land/facilities projects. The rest of the day will be shared completing your farm/facilities task for the day, some time caring for the commons, and ends with a community meal, communing with others, or alone time. Weekends are a beautiful opportunity to rest, connect with the land or others outside of work, or run errands/ explore the land beyond QS.

Once monthly, the farm team and other staff collaborate with the Cuyama Family Resource Center Imagination Garden and Cuyama families in skill-sharing, workshops, and working in the communal garden. There are additional optional opportunities to collaborate with the Cuyama community in our programming and advocacy work.

A note on off-grid living

As a fully off-grid community in a remote location, we do not receive phone reception and wifi is limited to specific spaces. We are also dependent on our photovoltaic solar panels, which means we have to be flexible about which machines we use (kitchen appliances, projectors, refrigerators in personal homes, etc), especially on cloudy days. If any of this is a concern please speak with us about what is available.

What skills will I be exposed to and practice?

Gardens: learn about regenerative and small-scale food systems

  • Seed, transplant, weed, water and harvest annual crops
  • Prune and tend to perennials
  • Manage compost piles
  • Maintain drip irrigation
  • Seed saving

Harvest preservation and food preparation

  • Tending to our herd of 14 goats and 40 chickens
    • Feeding, watering, coop/pen cleaning
  • Goat milking
  • Goat herding
  • Animal processing: Harvesting, skinning, butchering, and making beauty with the body (hide, bones, hooves…)

Community care: tending the hearth together

  • Using cob ovens, wood burning stoves, and fire heated shower
  • Food processing: fermentation, pickling, yogurt and cheese-making
  • Cooking community meals with farm produce
  • Tending the communal space with regular chores (cleaning kitchen and commons spaces, communal laundry, etc)
  • Communal gatherings and seasonal celebrations

Off grid and rural systems: Attuning to the land and intimacy with that which sustains us

  • Assisting in maintenance, repair, and monitoring of Quail Spring gravity- flow spring water systems, storage tanks, greywater systems, and photo voltaic systems (solar power and batteries)
  • Organizing and maintaining tools, workshop space and materials yard
  • Assist with basic carpentry/ wood-working jobs (with Facilities and Infrastructure director)
  • Assist on plumbing repair and installation of water systems
  • Natural Building repair -with cob, adobe brick, and natural plasters
  • Home and commons repair and improvement for example hanging doors and repairing windows, roofs, sinks etc )
  • Harvesting and processing firewood
  • Help managing waste and dump runs
  • Storm prep and care (weather awareness, responding to emergent needs)

COVID practices

Our community is committed to risk mitigation of spreading covid in attempts to protect both our internal and external communities. We have community agreed upon guidelines and protocols to support these values, as well as a committee that continues to evaluate and address our communities concerns as the infections continue to evolve and change. Being a part of our community means contributing and practicing these protocols with us. Currently, based on transmission rates, our community has agreed to wear masks in indoor spaces in public, and masking indoors at QS for 7 days upon engaging in a high-risk activity (crowded spaces unmasked, airplanes, exposure to covid, etc). This will be thoroughly addressed during the interview in which we can connect and you may share concerns and questions.

Other details

Substance policy

We ask all visitors and volunteers to adhere to our no drugs policy, and to smoke tobacco products only in the designated smoking areas as we are in a zone at high risk for wildfires.


Unfortunately, due to our current pet capacity and farm dog dynamics, we cannot accommodate any new pets at this time.

Natural Building

Many are inspired to come to Quail Springs because of our Natural Building reputation. It is important to share that we cannot currently build earthen buildings due to county-imposed restrictions to our site. However, there are many repairs and maintenance needed so there will be opportunities to get your hands dirty.


Application process

We are so grateful that you arrived here. We invite you to thoroughly read about our community and this position description. Please take your time to answer the questions in the form below intentionally so we can best get to know you. We welcome your questions and curiosities via the questions section below.

If your application is approved, we will set up interviews. We are hard-working folks on rural internet, so please be patient with response time. But also don’t hesitate to check back in on the status of your application.

Our Work Trade Director welcomes any questions about the application, our organization, or our community. If you are invited for an interview, there will be space for this as well. We look forward to hearing from you!

Trial period

Once you begin, there is an initial two week trial period. During the trial period, work trade volunteers and the Quail Springs community can terminate the agreement.

Applications Closed


Please let us know below if you have any questions about this position.