2016 Internship


May 20 to July 15, 2016

The internship is a very special time at Ampersand. Our site comes to life as amazing folk gather for an intensive learning and community living experience. We share in a lifestyle that is abundant with the essentials.IMG_2008

Our rustic living conditions include, solar electricity, running rainwater (frugal use is expected with both), hot showers, an indoor bathroom with composting toilets, and wireless internet access. We cook primarily with solar ovens and live off rainwater that we harvest throughout the year. We build with earth and salvaged materials.

IMG_0228Living with Ampersand’s sustainable systems is an education in itself. We also teach workshops that the public is invited to. The internship includes several day field trips that highlight local culture, innovation and sustainable practices.  We schedule weekly for personal time and exploration.


The 2016 Internship work projects

  • Sustainable Food Systems: We will experiment with recipes for drying166, fermenting, solar cooking, rocket stove cooking, focusing on local foods. Interns take turns cooking meals for the group in pairs.  Meal planning is done collectively and special needs are provided for.
  • Natural Building:  We will build a shade structure that integrates salvaged materials and passive solar design.   We will also get experience with some of the following earthen building techniques: cob, sculptural relief projects, wattle and daub, primary, secondary and finish earth plasters and alis finishes.
  • Organic Gardening: Here at Ampersand we have a small rain catchment fed vegetable garden, a small greenhouse, and several perennial vegetable patches which integrate water harvesting earthworks. We will maintain and learn from the systems at Ampersand as well as the Madrid Community Garden.IMG_2373
  • Land Restoration: We use rock and branches to continually restore our acres from historic damage due to road construction, mining, and livestock grazing. Learn how to stitch the watershed back together.


  • Passive Solar Design192_renamed_19070
  • Solar Cooking and Sustainable Kitchens
  • Land Restoration
  • High Desert Gardening
  • Rain Harvesting
  • Greywater systems

We see sustainability as an approach to life, which includes our relationships with everything- our resources, our waste, our interactions with the earth and fellow humans. We take our work seriously and get great satisfaction from it. We also integrate a patient attitude that values an inquisitive, fun and peaceful work/live environment. This community comes together to support each other in our paths towards living harmoniously with the earth in a way that values our individual passions and visions.

We are a 40 minute drive to Santa Fe, and a 40 minute walk (or 10 minute drive) to the eccentric village of Madrid for your greater social fare, coffee shop,tavern, many galleries, community garden and chocolatier!  Housing for interns includes the yurt, the tipi, and two strawbale cottages. Tent camping is also an option.  We are accepting 6 interns for 2016.IMG_2462

Our program includes four days per week of guided and scheduled participation, weekly talking circles, morning coordination meetings, weekly planning and menu meetings, and assigned readings for discussion.  Generally three days a week interns will have self-structured time to explore, study, play, and rest.  Sustainable living in community involves taking responsibility for managing the resources in your environment and working together to meet your needs. Time off site can be scheduled around these priorities.


Internship Cost is $550 per month. This covers meals, lodging, classes, field trips, and a guided personalized experiential education in sustainable living and skill building. The internship lasts two months.

Read what our past interns (and others) say about their time at Ampersand.IMG_0138

Interns are expected to have a strong work ethic, ability to take initiative and follow through with agreements, good communication skills, and a flexibility in working and living with others.

Crew Leader Scholarship Available

This is a partial scholarship which gives a discount of $100 per month for someone who is prepared to be a leader at the work site.  You will be trained in the task at hand and trusted to take on a bit more responsibility. It involves thinking ahead and preparing tools and materials for the next day’s work.  You may be asked to be conscious of how the group is working as a system.  You will also have an eye towards things like respect of resources, tools, and our daily schedule.  This role does not require more time spend working than other interns.

Scholarship criteria:

  • You must have one year experience with physical work
  • A demonstrated ability to plan ahead
  • Able to delegate tasks in a thoughtful and caring manner

Application deadline is March 6th.  To apply for the scholarship, add these questions to your application:

  • Please describe your physical labor work experience and skills.  What were your roles and responsibilities in the jobs you have had and for how long?  What did you like or not like about a job or jobs you have had?
  • In what capacity have you demonstrated leadership skills?  what is your natural leadership style?  Please give examples.
  • Give an example of a group work experience.  What did you learn about working in a group?  Can you think of ways to improve upon the quality of that experience? What challenges can arise in collective projects?

We will be notifying all applicants of their acceptance status by March 20th.  We may still be accepting applications for the internship after that date.

Also, please read our Ampersand Community Agreements to make sure this is the right place for you!

Apply Here

The application includes some essay questions. We give them to you up front so you don’t have to repeatedly visit the online form.

  • What is your context? Please share about your current living situation, background, your skills, what you are doing now, and where you are headed in your life. Please include your age.
  • Do you have experience with living in community or primitive living or camping? Explain.
  • What experiences have you had that made you interested in sustainability?
  • What are your learning goals for the internship?
  • What is important for you in a living situation?
  • How do you see the relationship between community and sustainability?
  • Please share any emotional or mental health issues or habits that may prevent you from prioritizing community harmony.
  • Please add any other experiences, ideas, or dreams you wish to share.
  • And, of course, we’d like three references.  Please include two work supervisors, teachers, or mentors, and someone you have shared housing with for at least 6 months who is not family or a partner.

2016 Internship Application

Problem with the online form?  Contact us.