Sustainable Living Internships
Now accepting applications for 2014 internships
Internship time frame: Early April - Mid November
*Rural and Urban Food Production Internships * - Soil building, biodynamic crop planning, permaculture principals and structures, water systems and management, succession plantings, high-altitude garden crop varieties, sourcing and saving open pollinated organic seeds, solutions to different scales of production; backyard/city lot to large acreage, tiered marketing strategies and development of local food systems (including CSA development.) Learning will focus on biodynamic and organic techniques, the basics of nutrient cycling, growing, cultivating, harvesting, and marketing food for rural and urban applications.
*Sustainable Settings Farm To Fork - A Whole Systems Farm to
Table Culinary Stage* /Internship*
For years now at Sustainable Settings we have understood the connection between soil health and our health. That knowing how to prepare food is part of a whole systems perspective, it is an essential skill and a necessary part of sustainability. Because of this we offer an internship specifically for a culinary student: A Whole Systems Farm to Table Culinary Stage*.
As a Culinary Intern you will understand the roots of where your food comes from. Explore the flavors that can only come from freshly harvested, seasonally ripe, nutrient-dense produce. Create rustic farm and ranch cuisine under seasoned mentors in organic farming and ranching and with chefs from the finest restaurants in the Aspen area.
This six month-long internship, on our 244-acre working ranch and Whole Systems Learning Center, runs from May through Mid-October. Interns will work on all aspects of beyond organic food production and sustainable animal husbandry. Including building soil, selecting and sowing seed, nurturing crops and timely harvesting in order to glean the maximum potential from the fields and bring them to the table through sustainable culinary practice. Learn the realities of raising healthy animals for meat, milk, and eggs. Design and create daily staff meals and private dinners that unify the field, the kitchen, and the table. Apply your new found understanding from the field to the table by building menus, orchestrating tastings and workshops, and by collaborating with 4-5 head chefs who gather on the full moon of August to create Sustainable Settings’ Annual Harvest Festival Benefit Dinner for 200 people with ingredients grown and raised within 1,200 feet of our guest’s plates.
We do on-ranch kills, slaughters, and butchering of hogs, lambs, milk fed and pastured veal (baby beef) and poultry. Our 100% grassfed Guernsey cows produce our high in butter fat raw milk dairy products. We raise heritage laying hens for eggs, pasture heritage meat chickens, and grow a full array of heirloom vegetables from micro-greens to root crops for our small CSA, ranch store, and our seasonal booth at the Aspen Farmer’s Market.
Sustainable Settings’ Farm to Table Culinary Stages will also engage in sourcing locally, farm and kitchen tours, food preservation, canning, pickling, curing and smoking meats, sausage making, raw dairy butters, yogurts, kefirs, ice creams, and cheeses, fermenting vegetables, pairing local brews and biodynamic wines, learn traditional Argentine Asado lamb roasting, Mexican goat pit roasting.
How to make it happen
This internship is a debt free opportunity. We do not charge for your learning during you time as an intern. Housing is not provided, though we do have a good network of supports that may be able to offer housing at a subsidized rate.
Interns should plan on spending 5-6 hours a day, 5 days a week on the ranch. Weeks that are scheduled with special ranch dinners may require more hours.
The culinary intern will document their time here with an in-house published cookbook for their final project.
Sustainable Settings fosters intensified learning-working in the various field areas the Whole Systems Learning Center. To accomplish this we have established a limited number of internships, two to four and no more than six people at any one time. Seven month sessions are the normal intended length of internships. The specific duration is negotiated between each intern and the Director. Interns may be offered additional time in the program or an opportunity for more permanent employment upon completion of their internship, at the discretion of the Director and contingent on funding, however this should not be expected.
HOW TO APPLY
Sustainable Settings offers two to six internships per year ranging from seven months to two years in length. Internships are built around the whole systems approaches that guide the dynamic integration of sustainable strategies on the ranch.
Some Intern Reflections:
“What has been most exciting for me at Sustainable Settings is the integration of different elements, and the combination of ideas and tangible production in terms of food, energy, shelter, and education. Being here has given me an opportunity to be a part of the struggles and successes of an organization grappling daily with some extremely difficult environmental questions. Without all the answers, and without denying the realities of growing planetary destabilization, I'm thankful that here we find a way to laugh as we work on solutions.”
—Retta Bruegger, Snowmass, CO. Intern Reflection Nov 2007. Retta conducted a Pasture Baseline Study in preparation for Sustainable Settings’ conversion to management intensive rotational grazing.
I am certain that much of my current sense of viable solutions and hope for a sustainable future have come from my time at Sustainable Settings. I will never forget when we worked with 60 middle school students from Denver. We confronted those bright young minds with the truth about the current trajectory of our society's choices. Next we gave them access to the people who have made and are making a difference. Then we provided a venue so they could tackle the problems themselves through creative expression and discourse. By week’s end those young people went home alert, hopeful, and empowered with practical solutions. At Sustainable Settings I had an opportunity of living out real convictions on level that makes a difference, is winsome, and most of all loving—what constitutes true sustainability.
—Brian Van Stratum 2010 intern reflection
Over the past 7 months at Sustainable Settings I learned how to build healthy soil, grow organic food, raise livestock, kill and butcher an animal with humility and respect, can and preserve food, market our produce, drive a tractor, use power tools, and even write a grant. But the most important thing you taught me was how to truly find the beauty and humor in everything and in every act. You helped me find a sense of independence and self-reliance. You helped me discover what I am truly capable of. There were days at Sustainable Settings where we felt completely immortal. And days where the weight of the world felt heavy enough to demand that I kneel down and cry. But there was a predominant understanding of the brevity of life and a call to arms to embrace its beauty in everything we do and to act. Thank you for teaching me to think systemically. Thank you for showing me how to live, how to love, the importance of community¾for our selves and for improving the world, and ultimately for teaching me the real meaning and source of wealth.
-Lucy Emerson-Bell, Intern 2009
“At Sustainable Settings I had the opportunity a young grower dreams of but rarely realizes. I was given a charge, to run the market garden and manage our Aspen Farmer’s Market booth for the 2008 season. I had no experience with the initial stages of a garden. You gave me the garden books and guidance when I needed it but let me find my way. I was able to plant, nurture, and take to market a bounty of the finest and freshest vegetables to feed our Valley community. I inherited unbelievably fertile organic soil in an ideal and beautiful place and I was allowed to become part of the Sustainable Settings’ community. The learning happened all during the day, in the field and at the table. I’ll always remember working hard together and gathering for those long lunches. We ate from the ranch’s bounty. Then lingered at the table for intense discussions on the state of the world and what practical solutions might lead to positive change. Sustainable Settings is special because of this and because of the unique individuals that are drawn to it. I've never worked and learned with more intelligent and inspiring people. I am inspired and motivated to keep learning and feel confident that one day I could have my own land to grow on and teach others. Thank you for this amazing opportunity to learn on Sustainable Setting's soil.”
-Debbie Krigel, 2007 Intern who became our 2008 Market Garden Manager
The name Sustainable Settings held an instant attraction for me, when I looked at the web site I was overwhelmed with the connections between my interests and this place. Although the rock stairs and retaining wall were my main projects for the internship, I am grateful that I received a much more holistic experience at Sustainable Settings. During the first week I was given a stack of books to begin my reading. The whole internship I have enjoyed access to large collection of wonderful books coming from the library. Although I read very few from cover to cover, I was able to dip into many volumes expanding my appreciation for the depth and breath of the issues that will steer us to a sustainable future. Living at the ranch has provided me with an excellent experience in sharing space with others as well. By remaining observant of my own thoughts and feelings I became aware of places where I needed to give and grow.
Taking care of the animals, feeding, and nurturing and then harvesting/ killing and processing them for meat was a remarkable experience for me. There is something so rewarding about caring for other lives and knowing my own food. Experiencing the whole cycle from hatch or birth to slaughter and cooking dinner and eating what I knew has left an indelible mark on my being.
Along with working on my green building project and in all the sustainable agricultural systems I helped in numerous other projects in and around Sustainable. For example:
All these things have taught me practical lessons and are examples of daily and seasonal celebrations that have helped tie me closer to community and taught me how to better celebrate life, food, and drink!
I did what I came to do and so much more. I leave enriched beyond expectations and will carry Sustainable Settings, and the practical lessons learned of applied sustainability and living with an awareness of whole systems, with me forever. I am thankful that I got such a holistic experience at Sustainable Settings, as opposed to just sticking to a ridged program I had prescribed for myself at the start of my internship. This is evidence of the thinking and way of life promoted at Sustainable Settings, that of integration and connections.
I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity and to have worked with such inspiring people. Everyday was different and offered opportunities to gain a wealth of experience and knowledge. It has opened my eyes and I know that life everywhere offers these lessons and it is my job to remain aware of this and to harvest the best from where ever I am. My internship at Sustainable Settings was saturated with learning and happiness.
—Intern Reflection, Nancy Siff