2015 Natural Building & Homesteading Internship

Welcome! We're Mark, Alyson, and Cole and for ten years we've been working and playing with the homestead we call Gooseberry Farm. Our place is part of Red Earth Farms, a community land trust in northeast Missouri, which we share with five other homesteads. As we create our home we're learning about growing food, building with natural materials, raising a healthy child, and building relationships with our neighbors. We like to share what we've learned, so if you want to find out first-hand what it takes to get started on your own homestead, please consider interning with us this summer.

This internship will give you experience in many aspects of establishing a natural home and organic garden for a small family. As you work alongside us we will give you guidance and hands-on practice in gardening, natural building, cooperative decision-making, and creative child care. We will also share with you what we've learned about making income while getting started on your homestead and raising a family.

Check out some photos here: Gooseberry Farm


Who we are

Mark is a graphic designer and now has 14 years of experience doing and teaching natural building. Alyson was once an English teacher in Russia and is now a baker, facilitator, fundraiser, and a student of permaculture who has been growing food since childhood. Cole is an artist, musician, and linguist who leads her life with the passion of a small child. You can read more about us at the Red Earth Farms website.

When to come

This apprenticeship is available from early May through late October. We are looking for one individual or a couple who can commit to the whole summer, but we are also open to three-month commitments (May-July or August-October). If this apprenticeship is your dream come true but your dates conflict with ours, please apply anyway. If it's a great fit we might be able to work it out.

Accommodations and lifestyle

Tent camping is the way most of our interns have sheltered. We now have a guest cabin that is available to one or two interns. Our meals are mainly vegetarian, and you will be expected to take your turn cooking for the group as soon as you feel ready. We have two weekly potluck dinners: one with our neighbors at Sandhill Farm and Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, and one just for Red Earth Farms. For bathing, we have solar showers and a beautiful pond. You will have access to our wireless internet during certain hours of the day. We go to town once or twice a week but otherwise life is pretty much defined by work and play on the farm. Past interns have enjoyed going for a swim and then relaxing in a hammock after a day of hoisting strawbales and picking tomatoes. We think Gooseberry is a great place to spend time because we like our quiet solitude but we also like to jog over to Dancing Rabbit for the occasional Ultimate frisbee game. Quiet campfires or rowdy dance parties—the choice is yours.

What you’ll get in the bargain

You’ll get a glimpse of three intentional communities and access to our collective knowledge in the areas of growing and preparing food, homestead design, natural building, consensus decision making, and community living. Throughout your apprenticeship, you will receive personal attention from us and the opportunity to learn all-around homesteading skills in a fast, fun, effective way—by taking part in maintaining a real rural homestead.

What we’ll expect from you

You need to have a good work ethic and be capable of physical labor. It would be great if you have some building and/or gardening experience but it’s not required. You will be expected to work about 20 hours per week. You’ll also need a way to get here and to wherever you’ll be going when you leave. We can arrange transportation to our place from a nearby train or bus station.

Financial exchange

Because of our dedication to teaching others about this fascinating, fulfilling way of life, we are providing this educational experience for free. However, during the growing/building season we are making very little income ourselves. Therefore interns in 2015 will pay $200 per month to offset the cost of meals and general expenses. Other costs that apprentices should expect to cover are meals at restaurants in town and travel expenses associated with getting here, including the cost of rides that we provide from or to transit stations.

How to contact us if you’re interested

Email: markmazziotti [at] gmail.com, or call: (660) 883-5329


"Living at Gooseberry Farms challenged so many of my assumptions, from my conception of a 'good life' to my idea of cooperative community to my understanding of self sufficiency. I got to witness people living in a way that our society often tells us is impossible: communally, close to the land, with a low cost of living but an incredibly rich and rewarding lifestyle. I learned practical skills like gardening and building with natural materials. But I also learned about sharing, about how challenging and rewarding open communication is, and about the joys and satisfaction that come with living simply."  —Sonya Favaloro

"Interning at Gooseberry Farm provides a unique opportunity to gain skills along a broad spectrum of permaculture practices with good, friendly people who are experienced in their fields and approach their work with an openness to new ideas. Mark, Alyson and Cole are a warm, welcoming family who are well on their way to creating an exemplary homestead."  —Jon Burkhart

"Living and working at Gooseberry Farm for the season gave me a taste of what it actually takes to get a homestead going, and how to really integrate the two disciplines I am interested in learning—permaculture and natural building."  —Zeb Sweesy

"Mark and Alyson are very warm and gracious hosts. They have a lot of knowledge to share on a surprising array of subjects. It is clear that both are on this life path because they believe in it, which seems to bring a tough resoluteness and a joyful delight to their game. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend spending some time learning and working with them. I look forward to returning, myself."  —Marke McConnell

"It was fantastic to live with a cycle that was so close to the earth and other human beings." —Kris Hammerberg

"Being an intern at Gooseberry Farm was an incredibly inspiring experience for me. Mark is a creative and enthusiastic builder and he delights in sharing his craft with anyone who has interest in learning. He and Alyson engender a culture of vigorous work, light-hearted play, and communal bonding that I found nourishing to my mind, body, and soul. I've already recommended their internship to many of my friends and I can't wait to hear how it changes their lives."  —Ashley Schenk

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