Gavilan Trading Post

Valley of the Moon Ranch, NM


2014 Internships at the Gavilan Farmstead & Trading Post


Our homestead is set-up on a 900 acre ranch that includes spectacular woodlands, abundant and diverse wildlife, pastures, and canyon lands in isolated Lindrith, NM. Together with family, friends, and Interns we raise: various vegetables in our ½ acre garden and two petite greenhouses; A small herd of Goats; a few Cows; One adorable Yak; Laying hens; and Heritage Hogs. We also have an abundance of Dogs and Cats, as well as a pair of friendly horses. From these ventures we are able to produce milk, cheese, eggs, veggies, meat, and fiber. We preserve our harvest, butcher our own animals and make our own breads, pastas, tortillas and just about everything else we eat. Additionally we always have ongoing projects utilizing low-cost/no-cost resources. Our farming methods are not certified anything, nor practiced rigidly, but are a collection of principles and designs such as; Organic, Permaculture, Holistic, Humane, minimal-till, etc.

We are not currently a for-profit farmsteading operation, but rather a sustenance farm with other non-agricultural related industries, including a new commercial kitchen that we are looking to certify this summer as a bakery. We live fairly simply and without much money to get us by, which is both challenging and rewarding. However, we are not without such modern conveniences as electricity, internet and hot running water.

This season things will be a little different than they have been in years past with both of our farm enthusiastic adult children living off the farm for the next year or two, both of whom played a pretty strong role in operations here. That will leave the two of us (both gettin’ older) to run things this season. We surely need help in all areas of operation. We will continue on with the livestock and other projects, however the gardens were more in our children’s area of expertise, although we are still planning to plant a garden, it will be smaller scale and we can’t offer a lot of knowledge on the subject as we’re still greenhorns in this aspect ourselves!

Part of the 2011 Garden

Who we are looking for and time frame:
No previous farm experience is necessary at all but we really appreciate a genuine commitment to helping make this place even better during your stay. Being self motivated, enthusiastic, and observant is crucial and that you be someone who can not only help out with farm chores but will also take initiative to sweep the floor, pitch in with cooking, or fix things that obviously need fixing. Being able to work by yourself and find things to do is really important too as we do not want to be constantly supervising your stay but want you to take responsibility with your work time here. Taking initiative is crucial to running your own farm and we’re offering you the space, time, tools and the not always ideal resources to practice creative farm problem solving. We want you to jump right in and be involved in the running of the homestead.

We accept Interns May through November. We would like a minimum stay of three weeks with longer commitments preferred and plenty of lead time before your arrival.
Some exceptions do exist for shorter stays if you are traveling with your own vehicles and contact us on very short notice, as sometimes we do need an extra hand with projects but these shorter stays don’t work for routine farm chores and so we can’t schedule them too far ahead of time and especially not ahead of those that commit to being here for longer term.

Additionally, we can not accept Interns with pets or children. And regarding language, we only speak English, but are happy to host non-English speaking people as a cultural exchange and really enjoy doing so. Knowing some English would be helpful though.

Extreme Cow Milking

Exchange arrangement, work detail and lifestyle:
We offer housing, and an open pantry with basic ingredients and seasonal farm raised goods in exchange for your help and enthusiasm. We do not offer any stipend for this arrangement, so be sure to bring some savings to buy any special and personal items you may need while you’re here.

Ideally we would like 40 hours a week of help around the property and house. In addition to daily chores, we usually have an ongoing to-do-list that will include both group and individual tasks as well as projects. This situation works best if you are self motivated and will take the initiative to put in your hours and to accomplish daily chores in a punctual time frame. You are encouraged to take time off to go explore the area, having your own car will greatly aid you in this pursuits but we can also go places together and the ranch itself has some pretty amazing frolicing opportunities.

Type of work will vary by season but can include: General garden work; digging, weeding, watering, soil prep, compost building, hoeing, mulching, shoveling, harvesting. Animal care; Mucking out barns, watering, feeding, moving hay, moving fences, building fences, socializing baby goats, herding, milking goats/cows. Household duties; cleaning, baking, washing dishes, cooking, preserving foods, butchering. And additionally; Fixing things, harvesting firewood, general construction and infrastructure maintenance, brain storming, problem solving, harvesting Pinon nuts (fall).

Transportation is available from Albuquerque, but it is very helpful if you can make your way to Cuba, NM from Albuquerque via the 'Sandoval easy express” which is a great low cost rural bus and will put you 70 miles closer to the ranch.

Education wise, everything we do here, we can teach you about. Most of the education will be informal and hands on and in the form of learn as you live/work here. Questions are encouraged, and we also have a library available to you with books ranging from passive solar design, Adobe brick making, Permaculture, raising livestock, cheese making and more.

Housing consists of shared modular houses. Communal building for eating, socializing, and gathering. Access to indoor plumbing and hot water in main building. We usually have anywhere from two to ten people living here at any given time. Tobacco smokers live here as well but we’re trying to at least keep them from smoking in the kitchen.

Most meals are up to you to prepare using whatever you can find in the kitchen. We do eat a meal (or more) together everyday, taking turns cooking. Our diet depends greatly on the season, in mid summer lots of fresh produce from the garden and in the winter its a lot of starches and meats. We make all meals from scratch and we bake all of our own breads. Everything available from the pantry is very basic staples/ingredients (Flour, rice, beans, cheese, milk, eggs, etc). If you have to have a special food we don't have then you'll need to provide it for yourself. Fresh fruit is rarely in the budget. Opportunistic eaters would thrive here, vegetarians should do fine (and we can cater somewhat to your needs), vegans would perish here. Other dietary needs can be discussed. Cooking, cleaning and washing dishes is expected from all residents.

We are in a very remote location. It is roughly seven miles to the local post office, 35 miles to the nearest grocery store (which is not much of one), and 100 miles from the nearest cities (Albuquerque and Santa Fe). Your own car is nice to have if you like to be able to go off to town once in a while but otherwise we don’t usually leave the property more than twice a month (sometimes less). If you’re not comfortable being out this far for long periods of time, this might not be your cup of tea.

We suggest that you bring work gloves, barn boots/shoes, work clothes for warm and cold weather, and a sun hat. We do have a lot of loaner work clothes as well but an entire pair of work gloves can be hard to come by around here. Beds and bedding are provided. Also, because of our remote location, it is important that you stock up on any items that you don’t want to run out of, this especially applies to those with tobacco addictions.

To apply for a position as an intern, please fill out our application