A Windward Apprenticeship

     Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to apply for an apprenticeship lasting anywhere from one month to two years.

     Are you . . .

  • Someone who is seriously interested in building a sustainable home and right-livelihood?

  • Someone who wants to break free of the roles of employee and consumer?

  • Someone who wants to advance a project that's different enough to make a difference?

     We're looking for people who understand that the end result of the growth-at-any-cost ethic will be social and ecological disaster, people who understand that the world needs to embrace a better way to live and help live--that there needs to be a place where "bioneers" can develop innovative ways in which people can transform their relationship to the earth and to each other--not someday, but now!

     For the student who shares our belief that this transformation needs to happen as soon as possible, Windward offers a real-time chance to have it both ways--to get hands-on experience with key sustainability systems while also working towards a traditional degree offered through the long-distance learning programs of universities as diverse as Washington State and Harvard. By combining theory with hands-on practice, apprentices can enjoy a comprehensive learning experience grounded in actual sustainability systems.

     A Windward apprenticeship isn't just for those who think they might want to eventually become Stewards since there are many ways to benefit from enrolling for a shorter period of time. Examples of people who would benefit from apprenticing would include:

  • Those with a deep interest in creating sustainability at the small village level, who are looking for a place far enough removed from the fast pace of modern life to offer perspective. By participating, even for a few months, you can help move the program closer to the goal of modeling sustainable systems from which others can learn.

  • Those with a passion for working with natural materials. For example, a fiber arts apprentice would have a full-immersion opportunity to go from hand shearing a sheep, card, spin and dye the wool, and then weave it into cloth on a four-harness loom. Sustainability is easier to understand from within the context of a "sheep to shawl" approach embracing whole systems, something which Windward is especially good at.

  • Those who appreciate the long-term, cyclical nature of sustainable systems. For example, forest-based permaculture has a vital role to play in building long term sustainability as the escalating costs--both economic and environmental--of using fossil fuels cries out for "no till" options such as the use of trees to produce food, fiber and fuel. A sustainable forestry apprentice would go beyond working with the usual range of fruit trees to incorporate chestnuts, walnuts, mulberries, kiwis and oaks into a multi-dimensional resource network.

  • Those who want to explore the intersection of the art and science of sustainability. It's easy enough to focus on the technology of sustainability, but long-term, human-scale sustainability involves more than that, it requires the creation of a dynamic blend of art and science. A sustainable arts apprentice could be the poet, potter or painter who values the opportunity to focus on their work in a natural setting away from the distractions of urban life.

  • Those who are interested in the opportunity to divide their year so that they can spend part of it working with natural systems, and the remainder traveling or pursuing in-system employment as a way to fund their studies. Garden and animal systems involve seasonal work--Windward's team approach to building sustainability allows a person to be fully immersed for part of the year, and then head off to pursue other interests for the remainder of the year confident that while they're away, the necessary tasks will still get done. The result is the remarkable combination of freedom and security we call "the 60/60 split."

  • Those who want a way to maximize the value of the time and money spent pursuing a degree. The development of distance learning makes it possible for students to combine academic studies via the internet with practical, hands-on work here at Windward. The traditional four/five year approach to getting an undergraduate degree isn't working for many people--often they come to find that the field they've majored doesn't lead to the sort of work they want to do, and even when it does, many find that they're so deep in student loan debt that they have to face the frustrating choice of either going on to obtain a graduate degree, or compete for some entry level positions in the corporate establishment. By apprenticing at Windward students can obtain desired academic credentials, prepare themselves to serve as a Steward, and have a head start at running their own sustainable business.

  • Those who want to take a meaningful break between their under-grad and post-grad studies. Down the road we see Windward evolving into a community where artists and artisans weave together the art and science of sustainability, so even now while we're in primarily focused on the research and construction phase of that process, we're careful to include artists in our program, a practice which enables us to better appreciate their needs and build accordingly. One such need involves making the shift from the undergraduate work--which encompasses an entire genre--to post-grad work that focuses on an artist's particular approach to their medium. The pace of undergrad work leaves the artist with little time in which to find their own voice. Before going on to graduate level study many would benefit from stepping back from the academic world for a year in order to reflect on what they've learned and how it relates to what they want to express in their own work. Windward is the sort of place where that can happen.

     Apprentices are expected to spend four hours a day on personal projects and studies, two hours on group projects, and two hours on activities relating to taking take care of our animals, gardens, and each other. Weekly contributions to our blog and regular discussions of the books on the reading list are also expected.

      Apprenticeship dues are $400/month April through November, and $500/month December through March. This amount is intended to cover the basics such as a private place to sleep, food, basic utilities, Internet access, use of laundry facilities, and storage. For each month completed, apprentices earn one credit. Apprentices who hold three or more credits can apply for recognition as Assistant Stewards. Assistant Stewards who earn twenty-four credits can apply for recognition as a Steward (stakeholder) of the non-profit corporation that owns and operates Windward.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 71