Become a 2023 Thoreau College Summer Fellow!

Thoreau College is seeking up to 5 young people interested in helping us keep Thoreau College, Thoreau’s Garden, and the Driftless Folk School beautiful and growing during the summer months.  In return for helping with a variety of tasks,  Summer Fellows live free of charge in a Thoreau College residence house, with access to produce from the farm and gardens and the opportunity to participate in ongoing classes and events.  This is a great opportunity for a young person looking for an affordable and interesting way to get involved with agriculture and life at Thoreau College way during the summer months.

Grape Harvest

Program Dates:

June 9 – August 18, 2023.  Arrival and departure dates are flexible.  Positions in the program will be filled on a first-come, first served basis.


Free of charge.  This is a work-trade arrangement.


Summer Fellows are expected to contribute at least 20 hrs. of labor per week under the guidance and direction of Thoreau College staff.  Some likely labor activities include:

  • Gardening and vineyard work
  • Greenhouse work and plant care
  • Harvesting, canning, and preserving garden produce
  • Haymaking
  • Staffing Farmer’s Market booth and retail garden center
  • Tending sheep, pigs, and chickens
  • Facilities maintenance – painting, cleaning, refinishing, basic repairs
  • Lawn and yard care
  • Service work with local partner organizations
  • Participation in planning and preparation for Fall Semester program
  • Support for Driftless Folk School classes and Thoreau College events, including the 2nd Viroqua Shakespeare Festival (see below)

Housing and Compensation:

In return for their service, Summer Fellows will have a private room the Thoreau House for the summer, sharing the house with up to 4 other Summer Fellows.  They have access to eggs, meat, and produce from Thoreau College farm and gardens (when available).  Summer Fellows are also invited to participate in classes offered by the Driftless Folk School, as space allows.  Book discussion groups, canoeing and hiking outings, and other activities are also a typical part of summer at Thoreau College.

Viroqua Shakespeare Festival ~ June 23-25:

The 2nd Annual Viroqua Shakespeare Festival is happening this June, when The Jones Classical Theatre Company will produce Shakespeare’s most popular and beloved comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream! Love, magic, music, and humour will fill the air as a mix of professional artists from New York, Chicago, and Orlando and local artists from Viroqua will come together to perform this classic work. Pre-show festivities and original play readings put on by local artists and community members will also be featured at the festival!  Performances and festivities take place outdoors on the Thoreau College Main Campus.

A Midsummer Night's Dream