Permaculture Apprenticeship


Deep Dirt Institute is excited to offer 3 apprenticeships on a rolling basis. The Permaculture Apprenticeship runs in 6-month cycles. Cohorts start around the spring and fall equinoxes, and stay for either 6 or 12 months. We are located in beautiful Patagonia, AZ, an area that’s referred to as a

global biodiversity hotspot.



The work that is done here in these arid landscapes has applications for one-third of the planet’s land surface.  This is a unique opportunity to learn how to restore arid landscapes, maximize the effects of rainfall, and reverse the effects of climate change.



The fee for the Permaculture Immersion Apprenticeship is $1,000 per month. Financial assistance may be available.

You will receive a permaculture immersion experience, hands-on learning, close mentorship from permaculture expert Kate Tirion, free attendance at our workshops, and the ability to harvest vegetables and fruits from our site for personal use.


 permaculture principles & ethics

reading the landscape

observation skills


*personal project design









soil building

duck care




habitat for wildlife

erosion control

pollinator plants

grassland basics





rainwater harvesting

adobe & natural building

greywater systems

composting toilet

waste system management

repurposed materials


  • Managing and maintaining irrigation systems 

  • Greenhouse work and food systems, including compost making and plant propagation 

  • Building rainwater detention structures 

  • Erosion management 

  • Developing wildlife habitat 

  • Hedge row development 

  • Duck care 

  • Rodent management and trapping 

  • Soil development 

  • Managing and maintaining composting toilet 

  • Interacting with guests and visitors 

  • Managing outdoor shower during cold months 

  • Administrative work and meeting attendance

As you develop skills, you can also pitch in with the teaching of workshops that are held on the farm. Our goal is for you to develop an overall understanding of permaculture systems and how to think through design and construction, from the ground up.  The foundational piece of this resident apprenticenship—as with any permaculture immersion program—is how you read the landscape and how you approach site development.  


*By the end of your apprenticeship, we want you to identify

a project, design it, and build it out.

For a qualified, interested apprentice who might want to stay longer, on a case-by-case basis, an apprentice may have the opportunity to transition into a

mentor or farm manager/teacher role.



  • Must be 18 years or older

  • Expected either a 6 or 12 month commitment

  • Expected 40 hours/week, which includes chores

  • Already earned a Permaculture Design Certificate

  • Able to perform physically demanding farm work

  • Must have own transportation. The DDI campus is within biking distance of Patagonia (about 2.5 miles).  

  • Must enjoy rustic living or provide own alternative housing 

(See “Amenities” below)

  • 30-day trial period to make sure it’s a good fit for both parties

  • Fingerprint clearance (because of working with youth groups)

  • Must have your own health insurance

  • Required reading:  Introduction to Permaculture, by Bill Mollison


  • Honest

  • Self-starter

  • Eager to learn

  • Able to take direction

  • Committed 

  • Motivated to take on physical work


​We encourage apprentices to live on-site at no charge. You do have the option of living off-site but will need to provide your own transportation to the farm each day. We give preference to those who choose to live on-site. 

  • Outdoor camp kitchen (rustic) with propane cooking and propane refrigerator

  • No running waterExcellent drinking water from deep groundwater well

  • Tent camping or if available, vintage fifth wheel that is a camping system

  • Sheltered shower with hot water

  • Indoor composting toilet

  • Minimal solar power during daylight hours that can recharge small powered devices (e.g. phone, headlamp, small solar lights) but cannot recharge larger devices such as laptops

  • NO WiFi on site; You can get cellular data through Verizon or AT&T

  • You can walk or ride your bike to the town of Patagonia, about 2.5 miles from the farm
  • This is not fully camping, but it’s not far off….  You may be the only full-time resident(s) on site.


Arid land - average 18.25 inches of rain each year


Wildlife abounds, including snakes!


Extreme cold of 3 degrees Fahrenheit, high of 108


Two summers:

  • Hot, dry summer (similar to Africa)

  • Cooler, wet monsoon period in July - early September (looks like Great Britain) with dramatic lightning, thunderstorms, and downpours


There is no application fee to apply and we have an open deadline for applications.

After we receive and review your application, we may contact you to set up a phone interview.

The Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands

The rugged Madrean mountain chains of Mexico and the Sky Island Heights of the southwestern United States are dominated by low, dry forests of pine and oak. 


One fourth of Mexico’s native species occur in these ancient woodlands; many are found nowhere else. Pine forest in the Michoacan are the famous wintering place of monarch butterflies from the United States.  

Of greatest importance is the role of woodlands as a corridor, permitting north-south expansion of species between the United States, the Mexican Plateau, and the Cordilleras of Central America.


Creating these and similar habitat corridors are one way of lessening the impact of climate change on biodiversity. 


− E.O. Wilson

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Deep Dirt Institute

Campus Address:

#76 Stevens Canyon Road

Patagonia, AZ




© 2019 Deep Dirt Institute

Deep Dirt Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit # 82-1550846 

Mailing Address (general): P.O. Box 765, Patagonia, AZ 85624

Mailing Address (donations): P.O. Box 121, Patagonia, AZ 85624