About Us


Canelo Project Work-Trade Position

We are seeking an experienced couple to join our team at the Canelo Project for the year.
This is not a structured apprenticeship but is an opportunity to learn natural building and other crafts while working.

Due to high demand, applications for this position are now closed

This is a new position at the Canelo Project, which will strive to implement a mix of help-needed with an opportunity for learning.

We are looking for those with practical or hands-on skills, such as gardening, landscaping, or building who are capable of helping with general property maintenance as well as assisting with volunteers and visitors.

This role will include an average of 40 hours per week, which can be divided between the couple, flexibly, depending on their situation. We are open to couples that have part time or remote work.

Accommodation and a small food stipend will be included. There will also be opportunities to attend Canelo Project workshops on a space basis as well as to work and learn with us on natural building and other projects throughout the year.

The position begins either March or July 2023. 

About Us

Canelo is a family home on a 40-acre property, located in Southeastern Arizona, 1-1/2 hours from Tucson. For the past 30 years we have developed and taught natural building techniques, including straw bale and earthen plastering. Our family currently consists of 7 people. We typically host 5-6 workshops per year with guests, smaller groups and work-exchange people throughout the year. 

There is a strawbale cottage with small kitchen and bathhouse available for the couple to live in.

Benito Steen and his wife Amy will be primary directors and guides for the work. When they are away for certain periods the couple will be tasked with independent and self-directed projects. 

Examples of tasks

  • Grass mowing around buildings: We live in heavy grasslands and require mowing for pathways and fire prevention 
  • Landscaping: We have multiple ornamental spaces and bamboo areas that need to be managed. These spaces often need assistance with irrigation and watering. Other restoration work may include building gabions and retaining walls.
  • Working in our vegetable garden: We have a large established organic vegetable garden and need help with planting, maintenance, harvesting, weeding, compost and soil management.
  • Cleaning up work spaces and guesthouses: we have many work spaces and shops that need constant cleaning and organizing. In our busy periods assistance with cleaning guesthouses may be required.
  • General maintenance on buildings: small tasks such as painting and replacing shades or screens.
  • Assisting in building projects: We have a wide variety of craft and building projects including earthen building, carpentry and metal working. You will be working alongside us to help finish projects and this is where you can learn other building and craft methods by doing.

Example of one week at Canelo (average 40 hours per week – shared between couple) 


Time allotted per week

  • Grass mowing around buildings


  • Landscaping, pruning and tidying our native desert gardens


  • Working in our vegetable garden and composting systems


  • Cleaning up work spaces and guesthouses as needed


  • General maintenance on buildings 


  • Assisting in building projects


Desired/Useful skills:

  • Physical landscaping experience; or
  • Experience working on organic vegetable gardens or farms; or
  • Building or practical hands-on skills
  • High standard of work ethic and accountability
  • Ability to complete essential tasks and problem solve 
  • Willingness to work hard and eagerness to learn
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills and ability to work independently
  • Ability to work both independently and with groups 
  • Preference for being in a community 
  • Flexibility within a work plan
  • Interest in learning sustainable practices, crafts and growing own food

Expectations & Requirements

  • Commit to 10 months living at the Canelo Project
  • Be a community member within our family, and yet are responsible for taking care of own needs including meals
  • Notice must be given for time away and coordinated with our schedules
  • Must love working outside and able to tolerate desert climates while doing physical work
  • We live in a rural location where you would need to have a car 

Benefits & Compensation 

  • Accommodation provided: the couple will live in our small, cozy strawbale cottage, across the wash from our work areas. It is a one bedroom studio with a small kitchen, a bathhouse with a shower and an outhouse with a composting bucket toilet (which you must be comfortable emptying).
  • Attend our Canelo Project natural building workshops: Couple will have access to at least 3 of our workshops during the year. The space may have to be shared between the couple, if both want to attend. These may include: Timber Framing, Strawbale and Natural Plastering workshops. 
  • Monthly food allowance:  We will provide the couple with a food stipend per month and occasional shared community meals. 
  • Learning experience: While this is not a structured internship, the couple will have a chance to learn more about our methods of sustainable building practices that use natural materials as well as other crafts we can share. We hope to cater to specific areas of interest as well.
  • Be based in place: Opportunity to live and work on a beautiful property surrounded by forest land and become a part of our family and working team.
To apply, please send your resumes and the following application form to caneloproject@gmail.com.