As of April 19, 2018 we are looking for volunteers mid-April and through the rest of the year. We request a minimum 2 month commitment. Depending on arrivals and departures we can house 1 couple and 3 female volunteers or 5 female volunteers at a time. We like to get a mixed group of volunteers - some with experience in animal care taking, vegetable gardening, weed eating and/or general on-site farm living or working. If there are folks out there with all of the experience that is even more awesome. We don't expect experts - we know that part of why you are coming to the farm is to get more in depth knowledge but having some experience or exposure means that you have a true interest in the types of things we do here on the farm and that will make everyone's overall experience much more meaningful.
Our 4 and 1/2 acre organic farm is located in Kealakekua on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. Our primary mission on the farm is the Animal Sanctuary. We also have greenhouses in which we grow vegetables and loofahs ( for personal/farm use). And we still have 800 or so coffee trees. To help us with our organic fertilizing and weeding we have geese, sheep, and goats. We have multitudes of chickens and roosters to assist with insect patrol as well as providing eggs. We have a whole host of other 2 & 4 legged, furred, haired, feathered, or scaled friends who also share our farm so anyone volunteering on the farm MUST LOVE CRITTERS! Our farm really is a sanctuary for animals. (all of the larger animals are rescues- we are a 501 3(c)). Everyone who comes to the farm, enjoys the animals best of all - you will learn much about their emotional and social lives and we hope you will take this knowledge back out into the world with you to make the world a better place for all creatures.
In terms of the coffee, we were a vertically integrated farm - we grow, we process, package, and sell it ourselves. Our coffee was truly soil to cup. However, with the arrival of a rescue herd of 17 sheep in January 2017 who have essentially taken over the coffee land, until we find a better solution for their pasture land, our coffee enterprise is essentially sidelined. We can teach folks about coffee but we no longer actively commercially grow/market it.
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All year - We have geese, sheep, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, and a whole flotilla (50 or so) chickens and roosters. We need help feeding/caretaking the critters in the mornings and evenings.
All year - we live in the tropics in the Kona coffee belt. We get lots of rain and sunshine. It is not only perfect for growing coffee but weeds as well. We do a lot of weeding. We are organic so we mow, weed eat, and hand weed. A lot. Some days involve up to 2 hours of weed eating or cane/California grass removal. It can be challenging.
All year - we have a greenhouse where we grow vegetables for farm occupants to eat. This involves daily watering, monitoring for bugs, weeding....and of course, harvesting and eating what you grow.
Having prior experience with one of the following is a must: weed eaters or vegetable gardening or animal care (preferably farm animals). Our ideal group consists of persons with one or more of these different experiences. Animals are always the priority, though, regardless of the experience/skill sets you bring to the farm.
Female program participants have sleeping accommodations in a spacious loft area on the second floor of the carport. For a couple, there is a rehabilitated 8x15 ft trailer for sleeping quarters. In the Gathering Place there is a kitchenette and provisioned pantry, dining area, and two large sofas to accommodate everyone. . There is no live TV but we have a monitor and many, many movies. There is also a separate alcove with a day bed sofa and more of the library as well as a desk. There is an outside bathroom (lantern lit) with a hot shower about 100 feet from "The Gathering Place" which does have electricity. The "Gathering Place" is a shared public space in that when we give tours our guests are invited to The Gathering Place. So it must be kept "show ready" at all times. Neat and clean!! Our program participants also have their own outdoor grilling and dining area. The 4 1/2 acre farm is completely fenced; we have an alert alarm system and 8 dogs which are even better than the mechanical alarm so volunteers can feel totally safe. The food we provide is vegetarian - this includes dairy. We generally cook 2 breakfasts weekly (Vegan) for our volunteers and provide a pantry (Vegan) so volunteers can then prepare the rest of their workday meals on their own.
We are located 1/10 of a mile above the main road which circles the entire island so bus transportation is readily available for days off and activities abound. Swimming, snorkeling, and hiking are probably the most popular activities but if you interested in immersing yourself in the culture and diversity of Hawaii, this island is a great destination. We will also provide transportation into town weekly for any items you may need/want. We look forward to sharing our knowledge of organic farming, animal care and about this unique community.
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Program participants wanting to improve their English language skills will have ample opportunity to do so. - The Big Island is one of the most wonderfully diverse (we have 11 of the planet's 13 climate zones; immigrants from many diverse backgrounds settled here and are settling here still) and interesting islands on the planet. Did I mention beautiful as well?
Program participants will learn the challenges of being organic and trying to be as sustainable and responsible stewards of the planet as we can be. Program participants have the opportunity to grow food that they can then consume. And most importantly, they will learn how to share the planet with a wonderful array of critters- most of which, no one else wanted - which is unbelievable when you get to see and interact with them. And we hope that our volunteers go back into the world and share the knowledge and love of animals they get here with others - to make the world a better place for all of us - furred, feathered, haired, and fleshed.
5 hours per day (sometimes 4 in the morning & 1 in the evening) 5 days a week