Work Trade & Scholarships

On this page:

Work Trade
Diversity Scholarships and How to Apply
Work Trade Job Descriptions and what is Not Available for Work Trade
On A Fundraising Ethic- A Message from Starhawk
Personal Fundraising Ideas

Work Trade

Please note: Our Work Trade positions for our January 2020 Permaculture Design Certificate are currently FULL.

We can offer a limited amount of work trade positions for most of our courses. If accepted, students are required to pay at least half of the course cost, register with a 50% deposit, and be willing to come early and stay late to the course (depending upon the course and on the work trade job description). Additionally, work traders are required to fill out a work trade application with their registration, letting us know what your specific skills are. The deposit is due with your registration form, and without all of the above we cannot consider you registered. The remaining amount is due no later than 30 days prior to the course starting unless otherwise stated; most courses will have a specific date on which all balances are due, prior to the beginning of the course.

See below for Work-Trade Job Descriptions

Diversity Scholarships

Earth Activist Training is committed to increasing the diversity of the global permaculture movement. We can offer a limited number of pay-what-you-can scholarships for people of color working in environmental and food justice areas. Last-minute scholarship applications are very difficult to provide for, so please apply early.

How to apply: Click the link on the top or bottom of this page to begin your process. 

Note: If you are applying for a Diversity scholarship, please indicate so on your registration form and completely fill out the embedded scholarship application. Scholarships are for people of color working in environmental and social justice, so let us know how you qualify.


While EAT cannot offer refunds, deposits and course fees may be applied to a future course in the case of a cancellation up to 30 days before the course start date.

Work Trade Job Descriptions

The following job descriptions are typical, but may change, depending on EAT’s actual needs at the time.

At our California courses, work traders are asked to come three days early to help with set-up and general ranch projects. We will send you dates and directions in advance.  In addition, the following are examples of work that may be required during the course.  For students unable to perform physical labor, we can also arrange office work to be done on or off-site for an equivalent number of hours.

Set-up/clean-up — Need workers with good sense of what “clean” is. May need to arrive a day or two early or stay a day late. Before course, prep classrooms and library. Help teachers with books, class supplies, materials, and copying. During course, responsible for keeping classrooms, dining hall, and bathrooms clean, emptying recycling bins, and so on. On last day, help organize cleanup crews. Stay late to make sure all books and supplies are packed up, all areas are clean, supplies taken back to storage, and so on. Car and ability to drive are helpful, possibly mandatory, depending on each course needs.

Transportation coordinator — For several weeks before course, contacts every participant and keeps track of their travel plans. Helps students connect into carpools. Answers transportation questions. Coordinates the EAT shuttle on first and last day of course. May include being a shuttle driver personally. Coordinates other shuttle drivers, ensuring all participants get picked up. This position needs person good with details and communication, committed to answering all phone calls & emails on time. It’s a job that can be done mostly at home, before the course, but will also involve coordination onsite for changes to travel plans for departure.

Shuttle Drivers — If you own or can borrow a large car or van, have car insurance, and are a safe & careful driver, we need you for this one. Shuttle drivers work on the first and last days of the course. They make several runs into town, driving students and their gear to the EAT site. Depending on how many hours owed, you may be asked to do other chores as well, during or before the course.

Materials coordinator — May need to arrive early. Works with teachers to support the hands-on segments of course. Runs errands, shops, and gathers tools & materials (straw, seeds, plants, manure, rocks, sand, clay…) from stores, gardens, storage sites, stables, etc. Not afraid to get hands dirty. Reasonable physical strength needed. Throughout the two-week session, keeps tools and materials organized and ready to roll, so the hands-on class sessions have what’s needed and start on time. Organizes cleanup of area after class projects, makes sure tools are put away every day. Stays late on last day for final cleanup of tools and materials, returns tools to storage. Ability to drive and own truck very helpful. This job needs workers who anticipate what needs to be done and take responsibility, not wait to be told.

Kitchen coordinator — Liaison between the cooking team and students; helps deal with any food issues that may arise. May need to arrive a day or two early to help organize kitchen, deal with food deliveries. Sets up recycling and composting systems. Orients kitchen teams in procedures for set up and clean up of meals. Makes sure health protocols are being followed during meal setup/cleanup periods. Particular attention to detail with regards to dishwashing and handwashing and overall health issues mandatory. On last day, stays late to organize kitchen clean up.

Breakfast cooks and Breakfast Coordinator — Requires waking up early (6:00 am) every day and preparing simple breakfasts: setting out cereals, yogurt, and fruit, making coffee and tea, and so on. Possibly some simple cooking (eggs and toast). Works with the kitchen coordinator and cooks to determine breakfast components. Learns and follows health protocol. On last day, stays late to help with kitchen clean up.

Not Available for Work-Trade

planting keyhole bedsWe cannot exchange for things like music, theater, artwork, tarot, bodywork, massage, Reiki, bellydancing, priestessing, or extracurricular teaching. These are all great things, but we can’t trade you to do them. We need our work-traders to do more prosaic things, like hauling a truckload of manure.

On a Fundraising Ethic- A Message from Starhawk

EAT is a program of both practical skills and consciousness change. Permaculture, nonviolence, wilderness awareness, and magic all teach us to look at the world upside down and sideways, to see patterns and relationships, not just things. When we do, we go through the personal transformation we call “empowerment.”

We want to not just teach about that transformation, but to embody it in every aspect of what we do, beginning with how we approach the cost of this program.

We’re asking you to take an active role in the fundraising work. One of the principles of permaculture that you’ll learn about is “stacking functions”: one element of a project provides multiple benefits. In sharing the efforts of fundraising, we all gain.

  • Asking for help can be hard. But changing the world is essentially a process of asking for help. No one can do it alone. So our personal process of transformation begins.
  • Fundraising is a vital skill for organizers, permaculturalists, and activists. Every project you want to do that extends beyond your personal means will require fundraising of some sort. We will all learn from the experience you gain in contributing to this program.
  • If you invest your time and energy to make this happen, it will belong to you, not us, and you’ll get more out of it.

Personal Fundraising Ideas and ways to reduce your costs

We strongly encourage every applicant to take an active role in generating your own scholarship through creativity and personal effort. There may also be ways to reduce your costs. Here’s some suggestions to get started:bridgebuilding_Teamwork

  • Are your friends and family out shopping for your holiday or birthday presents? Could you ask them to gift you with money towards this training instead?
  • Would your community or organization support you to come? In return, you might offer to do a presentation when you return and teach something of what you learn. This really stacks functions and extends the impact of the learning you receive.
  • Would your community support a second person to come with you? If two of you can co-train together, you’ll have support and be more effective.
  • Would your friends help you do a fundraising event: a garage sale, a raffle, a concert, a public ritual, a silent auction, a potluck, a formal tea party, a video screening, a bowling tournament, a guided herb walk, a poetry reading, a theater event, a ___?
  • Do you make crafts or art items that you could sell? Grow veggies or flowers? Have access to herbs you can dry for teas or potpourri? Can you offer tarot readings, foot massages, fresh cookies, live music? Get a booth at your local market or fair. Add a donation jar and attractive sign to your booth, telling why you’re fundraising. EAT alumni have successfully sold organic pancake mix at Quaker Meetings, and (extending into the cyber-fair) sold dolls of political figures, complete with pins, on e-Bay.
  • Online fundraising can be very effective if you have a large network of friends who might help you get to EAT. Not all such sites allow fundraising for individuals, but Give Forward does, at minimum fee. Remember, such a campaign takes time, so start early.
  • Some people work in mainstream jobs where their employers contribute half the costs of “continuing education.” Ask. Do you have vacation coming? This might be the time.
  • Your tuition may be tax deductible as an education expense (if you itemize taxes and/or file taxes as a small business). If you are someone’s tax dependent and they pay for your tuition, it may be a deduction for them.
  • Some colleges have paid the fee for their students to attend EAT. If you are currently enrolled in college, contact your financial aid counselor to see if there are any funds for specialized training needed for your degree. Ask your professors and/or department secretary about school programs that might contribute. Talk to your student organizations, too.
  • Some people may be able to sublet their normal living space, while away at the two-week EAT session. Can you offer someone a two-week vacation in a desirable location?
  • Remember that we will feed you for the two weeks you are in EAT, so your food budget is halved for the month.

” I know that some people probably are disappointed when they read that you expect them to raise some of their scholarship. I was a little apprehensive about asking friends. My friends rushed to support me. Even a man who was only an acquaintance came to me and asked could he help, because he felt that what I would bring back to our community is what is needed. … My faith has grown! In the future I will be able to encourage others to raise money and keep their hopes up along the way.… It feels so good to know as I write my letter that my money is making its way there. A peace and an accomplishment! I look forward to meeting you! I am so grateful to have found EAT and to know I will be a part of it!”
– Karen Jenkins, Portland, Oregon. January 2006 EAT

“The EAT training changed my life and has allowed me to hold a positive vision of the future. After the EAT training in January 2002, a fellow EATer Abi and I converted an ’82 diesel VW van to run on veggie oil and traveled all throughout the US and Canada talking about permaculture and alternative fuel. The Earth Activist Training is a training like no other.”

Jamie Gooley
Sonoma County, California