Tristan da Cunha is an eight-mile wide volcanic island in the South Atlantic. This British overseas territory has no restaurants, no hotels, and credit cards aren’t accepted anywhere. The government is looking for someone with fairly extensive farming knowledge to help jumpstart their agricultural sector, which – based on the job listing – is currently abysmal. There’s around 300 cattle and 500 sheep grazing on 1,000 acres of what is described as “poor” land, and potato production on family-run allotments. What they’re hoping for are orchards, more produce, and better livestock health and reproduction. Tristan da Cunha has a small agricultural department but lacks formal training in animal husbandry and crop development.
The islanders would like to rely a little less on outside sources for their food. Considering everything has to come by boat (there’s no airport there) and the trip takes a week from the closest mainland city, which is Cape Town, South Africa (more than 1,700 miles away), I’m sure they would love to provide for themselves as much as possible. Thankfully, there’s only 265 mouths to feed, mostly in the village of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, on the main island. There are three other islands that make up the territory – Nightangale, Gough, and the aptly named Inaccessible, but they don’t have permanent settlements. The islands’ main industry is lobster fishing, a little tourism, and selling coins and stamps. (I guess it’s cool in the stamp- and coin-collecting worlds to have items from the most isolated island in the world.) Their crawfish cannery was destroyed back in 1961 when the volcano erupted.
The ad, which was recently posted on the website of the National Farmers Union, an organization for British farmers, is nothing short of brutally honest, describing the island’s financial system as “problematic” and going on to state that more was needed to be done in order to ensure Tristan da Cunha’s financial independence and to stave off insolvency. They’re betting on building up their agricultural sector to help ensure that happens. No pressure. If you think you have what it takes to help these folks with everything from artificial insemination of livestock to arable crop rotation to greenhouse management, you should apply – but be forewarned that it’s a two-year commitment. On the upside, the islanders are described as “fun loving, friendly, kind and generous” and there’s a pub, cafe, dance hall, swimming pool, museum, and tourist center on the island to enjoy. And lots of fishing.