Garden & Farm Manager

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.Quail Springs Mission Statement

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.

Position Description

The Drylands Permaculture Garden & Farm Manager (Farm Manager) oversees the food production systems of Quail Springs, including the garden (with two greenhouses) and animal systems (currently a goat herd, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and pigs), 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 Farm Manager reports directly to the 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 lead role in updating the permaculture design of the farm in conjunction with the 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.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Farm and garden team coordination and development

  • Manage and implement farm internships

  • Understand all livestock needs, including food, shelter, care, and their integration into the systems

  • Set and work towards goals based on baseline staff and course participant numbers and production levels from previous years

  • Manage planting schedules & planning for crop rotations, including managing greenhouse to meet plant production and transplanting goals

  • Teaching portions of the farm and garden for various workshops and courses is ideal

  • Other duties as needed

  • Generate farm reports, provided quarterly to the ED and treasurer/farm advisors and board

  • Manage soil-building

  • Analyze crop successes & failures with other relevant farm team and farm advisors

  • Hold weekly or bi-weekly meetings with farm team to give and receive farm feedback, and to see that all farm needs are being met

  • Assess and express farm and farm staff needs to the ED

  • Interface with programs for garden practicums and farm-specific courses

Qualities & Qualifications of the Ideal Person

  • 2 to 5 years’ experience with larger gardens and 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

  • Computer skills desired; 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.

Time Commitment

We are looking for someone with a minimum of a 2-year commitment, ideally beginning in September 2017. 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 Manager will live and work in the Quail Springs’ community setting, where there are anywhere from 10-20 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.

The Garden/Farm Manager will be provided room and board in housing that is available. This could be a small earthen home or a yurt, or possibly another simple structure. You are also provided with 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 many have deemed a treasured life-changing experience.


This position will require between 25-30 hrs/week (might be more previous to and during events or programs) and receive a stipend of between $450-$600/month DOE). (Additional income is possible through teaching and internships). Food and services are also provided.

Quail Springs does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Quail Springs is a drug-free site.


Thank you for your interest in the position of Farm Manager for Quail Springs Permaculture. We look forward to learning more about you. Please complete the application below and our team will contact you as soon as possible.

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