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Apprenticeship Program


Fall 2020 Apprentices with corn harvest (left) and newly completed packbaskets (right).  Nice work, crew!

Apprenticeship Overview

If you are hungering to be in a place where people live what they teach; a place rich in traditional skills yet unafraid to try new ideas; a place where the surrounding land provides the food, the buildings, and the fuel; where gardening, wild gathering, handcraft, permaculture, and appropriate technologies all come together to support daily life…
If you want to be a part of this place, this apprenticeship is for you!

“I discovered in small-scale, place-based living skills a genuine joy that had been absent from me…”

Apprenticeship Logistics

 Seasons at Maine Local Living School

Apprenticeship Details
  • cutting and drying firewood
  • pruning fruit trees
  • making sauerkraut
  • sorting, drying and saucing apples from the root-cellar
  • preparing ground for planting
  • planting trees
  • grafting
  • starting seedlings in the greenhouse
  • planting the gardens
  • wild-gathering spring greens
  • harvesting and pounding brown ash for baskets
  • building projects
  • craftwork
  • building compost piles
  • Mushroom inoculation
  • participating in/assisting with Family Sustainability Stays
  • gardening
  • hide tanning
  • goat care/milking
  • food preservation
  • mowing with a scythe
  • tool sharpening
  • building projects
  • making fruit leather
  • canning food
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  • harvesting leaves, acorns, apples, garden vegetables
  •  putting gardens to bed
  • threshing and winnowing
  • filling the root cellar
  • food preservation
  • building projects
  • preparing hides for tanning
  • craftwork
  • Mushroom log harvest
  • tool repair

  • forestry

  • cutting firewood

  • trapping

  • skiing and snowshoeing

  • woodworking projects

  • hauling logs to the mill

  • maple sugaring

  • craftwork

(Winter apprenticeships for apprenticeship alumni only.)

The Education
At Maine Local Living, learning happens organically, through lived experience and reflection. We share ideas while we work, and always welcome questions. We encourage journal keeping and offer prompts for reflection. When the work day ends, the learning continues.

In every season, there will be multiple craft projects available for apprentices to work on. From basketry to knife-making to leatherwork, we are craftspeople and feel it is important to provide time for apprentices to experience the joy of making things.

Apprenticeship Cost


The weekly fee for apprenticeship is $300 for the first two months. This covers staple foods and fresh produce from the homestead as well as housing. Beyond two months an apprenticeship has no cost. 

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“For it is the very nature of handcraft to bring order to the materials used and bestow order upon the maker.”
- B. Graves


The Sacred Four: Shelter, Water, Fire, Food

Apprentices live in a beautiful dwelling adapted from the traditional Cree earth lodge.
The lodge is insulated with sod, has windows and a skylight for natural light, and a wood stove for heating and cooking.
Apprentices saw and split wood by hand. Wood that was cut the previous year is available for this year’s apprentices, and in turn, this year’s apprentices will prepare wood for next year’s. Apprentices gain experience with open fires, rocket stoves, and wood-stoves depending on the season.
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Drinking water comes from the spring or the well. Wash water comes from the ponds and off the roofs. A solar hot-water shower is available in the greenhouse.
Interns eat fresh from the gardens, root cellar vegetables, dry corn, acorns, and seasonal wild foods. Maine Local Living School also provides beans, whole grains, goat milk in season, flour, and cooking oil. Food is always organic, and locally-grown when possible. Interns provide their own meat, nuts, condiments, and non-local treats. Interns should plan on sharing cooking and meals, as this is time and energy efficient and fosters community. 

Philosophy of Place-Based Living and Learning:

  • Living wisely in place necessitates forming healthy relationships with the natural world: 

Love and understanding, the basis for any deep and healthy relationship, do not come from watching the beauty of nature any more than they do from watching an interesting or attractive person on the street! We need to get to know that person through shared experiences. Similarly, we need to get to know the earth.  The best way to get to know the earth is through eating, harvesting, crafting, tending and depending on her. The Maine Local Living Apprenticeship will deepen your relationship with the earth through participation. 

  • Community Living, People Matter:

Sustainability is not as important as that which we sustain. We believe in good communication, non-judgment, and appreciation. At our weekly community dinner, we open space to share feelings, air grievances, and offer appreciations.

  • The Positive Impact:

Human impact is not, by definition, negative. As an apprentice, you will reclaim a regenerative role, personally helping to create a more fertile, diverse, and healthy ecosystem while meeting your own needs.


You are immersed in a tight community of learners. Everyone has meaningful work and we depend upon each other. This learning community is in a working relationship with the surrounding ecological community, which is in turn tied to larger and larger human and natural communities. All your work and inquiry lead to an embodied understanding that we are citizens of the earth community.



What are the cultural stories/beliefs that have brought us to this moment?

How do we live wisely in this place and in this moment?

What does resilience look like in the 21st century?

How do we build a regenerative economy?

What can I do right now in my own community and in my own life to advance climate justice?

Our Big Questions


Maine Local Living School recognizes that all environmental crises are rooted in the exploitation of peoples and places. We cannot disentangle the climate crisis from the social justice crises.  For this reason, all education for living wisely and equitably is activism for the road ahead. 

“Justice is what love looks like in public.” ~Cornel West

Centering Justice

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70-80% of your food is grown and harvested on site by you. All refrigeration comes from an ice house filled in February. Electricity comes from the sun. 90% of the materials comprising the buildings you sleep and work in were sourced from this land. You will shower with water heated by the sun. 100% of wastes are seamlessly folded back into the living system to build soil fertility. And more.



Academic Inquiry


The three Understory courses are:

Applied Forest Ecology in a Changing Climate


Re-storying Place: Local History, Justice, and the Literary Voice


Homestead Ecology: Cultivating Abundance 



You carve, weave, sew, craft, and build. Handwork awakens the "elemental maker", inspires confidence, and integrates the intelligences of hand, head, and heart.  Through creation of baskets, bowls, clothing, rope, rocket stoves and even alternative buildings you come to be a producer and creator of your world.



The homestead is your classroom and source of all lifes needs.  Your daily work provides water, energy for cooking and heating, vegetables, grains, milk, medicine, basket materials, compost, fiber, gratitude, competence, and love of life.  


Earth Connection & Listening

The earth is alive and speaking to you.  Through participation you enhance communication.  In quiet sit-spots, meditation and through daily work, you listen and connect.  Throughout the program we share and make space for practices that support silence, observation, reflection, well-being and growth. 

  • Provide a vibrant, skill-building experience of living well in place.

  • Develop leaders who understand the stories of this land and who can envision and enact creative futures that cultivate health, justice, and sustainability.

  • Engage students as active members in their human and ecological communities.

  • Build practices of wonder, silence, keen observation, and gratitude.

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