On-farm Volunteer Internships

IMG_0436Caroola Farm Volunteer Internship Overview

Caroola Farm is a mixed permaculture and holistically managed organic farm. Our focus is on small scale meat, vegetable, fruit and nut production. We have numerous animal systems (chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, alpacas, cattle), alongside a main house garden, market garden in the making, tree systems, forest gardens and more…

Caroola Farm offers only two internship positions per season (we feel this gives us more time to work directly with you and tailor the learning experience). These are full time, 3 month voluntary internship positions. You may apply individually or as a couple.

Internships are available for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Our programs are an opportunity to learn a wide range of on-farm skills with emphasis on sustainable and regenerative farming practices. You will learn by working alongside us, and/or by yourselves, with a very practical approach to education.

The three month internships will be tailored to your learning objectives and will be seasonally relevant…


Applicants must have:

  • completed a Permaculture Design Certificate, an Organic Farming Diploma or be in the process of completing one.
  • a strong work ethic
  • fitness
  • an inquisitive approach and want to learn.

Good communication and a sense of humour are essential. Some work will be incredibly interesting and some will be simply mundane, but we do not ask you to do anything we have not already done ourselves.

The most important thing to us is that you want to learn about sustainable, regenerative farming.

Having your own transportation is essential as we are 15km from the nearest town. We are 45 minutes from Canberra and an hour to the coast.

You will need to bring suitable attire for farm work including your own long trousers and long sleeved shirts, gloves, hat, closed in boots and rain jacket.


We expect you to:

  • work alongside of us, or independently under our direction.
  • work the hours that we do (which depends on the season)
  • work in whatever the weather throws at us (yes, even if it is snowing the animals need to be fed).
  • Be be respectful of others, whether they are employees, family, farm visitors or customers.
  • Show passion for farming and local food production.

In advance of becoming an intern, we ask that you ideally come for a few days WWOOfing, and to chat about your experiences and expectations – to make sure that you can get along with us and we can get along with you.

You will be expected to volunteer a 6 day week – and some chores may need to be done all 7 days. Days off are by mutual agreement, as you are a volunteer. Our hours vary on the season between 4-8 hours/day with a lunch break – in the heat of summer we may take a longer break during the heat of the day and in the winter we’ll start later and finish earlier. Fundamentally, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of the experience.

We run courses on the farm and you may wish to attend these if it suits working hours in lieu of having your day off .

Your contribution to the farm will be work and ideas, and in exchange you’ll have food, board and a fantastic learning experience, there is no other cost to you (unless you like to eat lots of something special that we simply never eat, then you’d be expected to go and purchase (or grow) that yourself).

At this time we are NOT able to accommodate children or pets of any kind – sorry, we already have enough of both of these.

Accommodation and meals

Our accommodation is in a shared 2 bedroom flat with full cooking facilities and bathroom. You may be sharing with another person or have a room to yourself depending on numbers of interns and wwoofers on property at any one time.

We will provide linen and towels, but ask that you wash these weekly in the laundry facilities provided.

We have fresh farm produce for 90% of meals, we ask you to share in cooking by taking turns to cook dinner every 3 or 4 days. You will be provided with food for all meals, but expected to prepare your own breakfast and lunch.

Internship activities and learning opportunities

Our work is seasonal, but generally involves the following areas… in summer there is less planting out and more watering, and in spring there may be more animal activities…

Poultry – breeding, feed, water, health, housing, moving, processing, packaging, marketing of chickens, ducks, turkeys.

Large animals – feed, water, health, housing, moving, transportation, marketing of pigs, sheep and cattle.

Forest Gardens – planning, planting, watering, weeding, propagating, harvesting, mulching of forest garden systems including mushrooms.

Vegetable systems – planning, planting, watering, weeding, frost protection, propagating, harvesting, mulching and marketing of house, main, market and polytunnel gardens.

Farm trees– planning, digging, planting, watering, mulching, feeding pruning of windbreak and animal forage tree systems.

Infrastructure – planning and building of sheds and buildings, fixed fencing, polytunnel, water systems

Maintenance – of paddocks, yeomans, farm machinery, fences, irrigation, compost, firewood.

Dams and aquaculture – planning and management

About Us

Caroola Farm is a family farm run by Penny Kothe and Paul McKinnon, we have two maremma dogs and a variety of children that come and go. We also have part-time workers on the farm for specific activities.

You will have the opportunity to learn from each and all of us, in addition to any formal courses that are being run on the farm at the time.

Our primary business is selling local meat and vegetables at this time and we attend fortnightly farmers markets as well as supplying to local restaurants and businesses.

About Penny

Penny Kothe grew up on a family farm in Tumbarumba, later moving to Sydney for High School and University. Having spent way too many years in front of a desk in a variety of marketing jobs including a highly successful small family business, she returned to the land in 2007.

After farming conventionally from 2007 to 2011 on farms ranging from 10,000 to 10 acres, sustainable farming called more and more, with the decision in 2012 to purchase Caroola Farm.

Penny has a passion for regenerative farming, and local food, having done her PDC with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton as well as a variety of other courses including Forest Gardens, Natural Bee Keeping, Mushrooms, Holistic Management and Biodynamics. She is currently undertaking a Diploma in Organic Farming through the National Environment Centre.

About Paul

Paul McKinnon is a ‘survivalist’ and a very practical farm person. He grew up in Mollymook, later moving to Sydney for school. He has worked in many fields including security, policing, building and water and was even at one stage a grave digger. His interests have always been on the land, with a focus on a self-reliant lifestyle.

Paul completed his PDC with Darren Doherty and has a passion for solving problems with creativity and practicality. He has assisted with teaching Introduction to Permaculture Courses as well as assisting in the facilitation of our other on-farm practical courses. Paul is also currently completing his Diploma in Organic Farming.


Please complete the short application below – the more information the better. We will acknowledge receipt of your application and email you with any further questions. Prior to having a ‘trial’ period we’ll call you for a short telephone interview. If you have recent references that would be very handy.

If you would like to apply for an internship position, please complete the below form:

Please note that wordpress appears to be experiencing intermittent difficulties with form display… if for some reason the form below is not working please email us directly on penny(at)caroolafarm.com.au with the following information:

I am interested in an internship during the following season:(required)
Spring 2016
Summer 2017
Autumn 2017
Winter 2017
Permaculture or Organic Farming education (what courses have you completed or are in the process of completing)?(required)
On-farm experience – tell us what you’ve already done (e.g. tractor work, wwoofing, market garden, chainsaws…)(required)
What are your goals – where do you want to be in 5 years?(required)
What do you most want to learn about during your internship?(required)
What interests you most about Caroola Farm?(required)
Other education, work experience and interests – tell us a little about your background and how you came to be where you are right now?(required)
Do you have your own transport?(required)
Do you have a current manual drivers licence?(required)
Do you have any medical issues that we need to be aware of?
Food allergies/intolerances? (e.g. gluten free/vegetarian)
Preferred starting and finishing dates (we are flexible with this and do not have ‘fixed’ dates)

8 Responses to On-farm Volunteer Internships

  1. Li Yen Ee says:

    Hi, I am a 3rd year animal science degree student from Malaysia. I am interested to intern at Caroola Farm for my compulsory 3 months internship program for my degree and fulfill the requirements needed except for the Permaculture Design Certificate which I am lacking of.

    So I would like to know if there is a possibility of an opportunity to intern at your farm from May to August 2017.

    Thank you so much and looking forward to your reply.

    • penny says:

      Li Yen Ee,
      Thanks for your enquiry, if you wanted to submit and intern application via email that would be best and we can come back and clarify whether there is a way to fit you in.
      Best regards

  2. Denis Lock says:

    Hi there, I am interested in an internship at your farm, and was not sure if this is something you are still offering. I am an Australian and completed a PDC with Geoff Lawton in 2015. Thank you for your time.

  3. Gill Moore says:

    Hi Penny,
    With the internship, do you provide any documentation to prove a certain level of competency has been attained (to be able to show a prospective employer) or is it more like work experience?

    • penny says:

      Gill, thanks for your enquiry – no, it is not ‘competency’ based, that would be beyond the realms of possibility with a mixed farm and the depth and breadth of information shared and experience gathered – for each person what they want and need to learn is different. The internship is much more geared to getting you set up to run your own property rather than working for someone else…

  4. Ellie says:

    Good Evening,
    I’m currently studying a bachelor of agriculture, and like Li Yen Ee, am required to do practical experience. I am hoping to do my experience on different permaculture/biodynamic/regenerative properties, as I am finding that it seems to be one of those things you learn better by doing, rather than reading as I am now.
    I haven’t done my PDC yet (though it is definitely on my list once my budget and schedule align!) and am hoping to apply for an internship in 2017, and so (long story short) was wondering how much time is required between applying and the actual internship?

    • penny says:

      Ellie, it really depends on whether we have availability. At the moment we do have availability for 2017 but we require either a completed PDC or studies in organic farming/agriculture.

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