June 20 – 30, 2019

Sustainable Vocations


Students live on-site at Quail Springs Permaculture, located in the Cuyama Valley, CA and camp in the beautiful campground near the main farm and teaching area. Guided by a core team of experienced facilitators, the program integrates with the farmers, land stewards, chefs, artists, and teachers who make up the Quail Springs community. The program instructors, counselor, community members, and students all work, eat, and play together, building community and connections to last a lifetime.

As a community, we all pitch in to cook tasty organic meals together with ingredients we help grow, share the work of tending community spaces, and learn to care for our garden and farm animals. The farm is home to a milking goat herd, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and our working farm dogs.


  • Do you want to plants seeds, build soil, and harvest the abundance of the garden?
  • Do you want to wake up early and milk goats as the sun rises?
  • Do you want to learn to track animals and be trained in nature awareness?
  • Do you want to jump in mountain rivers that you hike to with friends?
  • Do you want to learn about yourself and feel empowered to tell your story?
  • Do you want to experience community living on an organic farm?
  • Do you want to practice using your voice to make change and inspire action?
  • Do you want to set yourself apart as a college applicant with a course in permaculture, ecology, and justice? (Or just set yourself apart as a student of life?)

If you answered ‘yes‘, then Sustainable Vocations is the program for you!

Sustainable Vocations weaves science, economics, nature awareness, and social dynamics into a holistic training program that empowers students to create meaningful change. Through learning a balance of practical and life skills, students will leave equipped with the tools and hope to build connections and take action.


When students return home, they’ll be able to apply these tools as leaders in their own communities. Participants will complete the program inspired and ready to engage in projects that are steeped in social and environmental justice. Immersion in experiential, mentorship-based programs gives youth alternative perspectives and role models livelihoods that shape the directions of their lives.

Students from past Sustainable Vocations have remained involved with the program for years, continue to learn from mentors, and have become mentors themselves. Alumni of the program have gone on to become leaders in socio-environmental work in their home communities and all over the world. We encourage students to come back year after year in a variety of ways. As we learn and grow together, we hope to develop life-long networks of friendship, support, and collaboration.

Our core team of instructors has over 3 decades combined experience leading high school students in experiential education. With years spent developing experiential programs, our team includes farmers, college professors, seed-savers, community organizers, regenerative designers, wilderness skills teachers, rites of passage facilitators, artists, council leaders, and all around youth advocates. Through all of our experiences, we have come to believe that teenage years have an essential impact on our lives’ trajectories. In holding Sustainable Vocations, we aim to grow teens’ practical and life skills while growing our hope and tools to make meaningful change.

Sustainable Vocations is supported by instruction from within the Quail Springs staff and community. This program is integrated with and enthusiastically supported by Quail Springs’ organizational staff, farmers, and community members – an incredible collection of teachers themselves.


6:30 – 7:15 – Personal Time // Goat Milking // Animal Chores (Rabbits, Ducks & Chickens)

7:15 – 8:00 – Sit Spots out on the land // Bird language

8:00 – 8:45 – Breakfast: homemade sourdough french toast, farm eggs & veggies, honey butter with coffee & tea

9:00 – 10:15 – Class 1: Natural Building using clay, sand & straw OR: Art as Activism activity OR: Edible forest gardens

– 15 min Break –

9:00 – 10:15 – Class 1 continued

– Midday Chores & Lunch Prep –

12:45 – 1:30 – Lunch: Burrito bar with beans, rice & homemade queso fresco, pico de gallo, caramelized onions, chicken from our farm, veggies from the garden with cactus fruit lemonade

1:30 – 2:30 – Rest Hour / Personal Time

2:30 – 3:45 –Hands-on Practicum/Farm Work: Planting a 3 sisters garden (corn, beans & squash), Learning to save seeds // Building a new rabbitry // Pruning & tending in the orchard

Snack: Popcorn with olive oil and dill, apples & peanut butter

4:00 – 5:30 – Class 2: Migration (farm workers rights, the current state of the US-Mexico border, art as activism) OR: Seed saving & food sovereignty around the world OR: Introduction to herbalism

5:30 – 6:30 – Afternoon Chores / Dinner Prep / Free Time

6:30 – 7:30 – Dinner: Pesto pasta with kale from the garden, homemade goat cheese and fresh tomatoes, green garden salad with sunflower seeds, homemade garlic bread

7:45 – 9:00 – Evening Storytelling Circle

9:00 – 9:30 – Star-gazing // Journaling, personal time

10:00 – Bed time


July 5 – 15, 2018

  • 10 days of life changing experiences, community-building, high quality instruction, and fun
  • 3 farm-fresh meals a day
  • Immersion in Quail Springs community life and working farm
  • Mentoring support from experienced facilitator team
  • An extensive alumni network at leading environmental sites around the country
  • Invitation to advanced trainings
  • Access to job & internship resources and more

Registration Information

  • Course Tuition:$1,400 – $2,200 Sliding Scale (deposit of $250 reserves your space in the program once you are accepted with the balance due by June 1st). Sliding Scale means you select the amount within this range that is possible for your family to contribute. Additional scholarships are available.
  • Tuition Includes:instruction, course materials, 3 farm-fresh meals a day, transportation to field trip sites, camping accommodations, immersion in Quail Springs community life, mentoring support, alumni network, invitation to advanced trainings, access to job & internship resources and more.
  • Payment Plans: Payment plans are available after a deposit is made, contact us below for more information.

Discounts: (limit one discount per person – discount codes are not to be applied to a deposit payment)

  • Early Bird: $300 discount if paid in full by May 1, 2019
  • Group Discounts: We are actively seeking organizational partners who work with youth and wish to send groups of students from their home communities. Groups of 3 or more attending the course together, please click here to contact us.


  • We offer generous scholarships to those who have high financial need. Scholarship awards are based on income, resources, student commitment, and ability to share skills learned with students’ home communities. We work with all students who would like to attend the program to make it financially accessible.
  • We actively support diverse young people in bringing their unique perspectives to this program through additional financial support as needed. We welcome and support as needed those self-identifying as persons of color, LGBTQ+, indigenous youth, and youth who have highly limited finances.
  • We deeply value and support equitable access to social & ecological justice education. We recognize the need to support diversity, equity, and allyship as core pillars of regenerating a healthy world community. The aim of our scholarship program is to grow connections between diverse young leaders, build bridges, push edges, and inspire each other to tend both our personal and ecological well-being.

Scholarship Application

Cancellation Policy:

  • Before May 1, 2019: Full refund, excluding $100 cancellation fee.
  • May 1 – June 1, 2019: Partially Refundable, $250 deposit non-refundable.
  • After June 1, 2019: No refunds available.
  • In case of a valid personal medical or family emergency, we will consider requests for a transfer of fees (less course deposit) to another course(s) with Quail Springs.

Apply Now

Registration Information

To be announced…

If you have a comment or question about this course please fill out our form below and we’ll get back to you soon.


Have a comment or question about this course? We’d love to hear from you! Please fill out our form and we’ll get back to you soon.

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