BEFORE FURTHER READING:
Please check the calendar on our profile to see the hosting information before you send me a message or an email, thanks! We don’t host more than 8 volunteers at the same time, as I want to spend enough time to get to know you better, to be able to answer your questions and follow your work.
No less than 2 weeks of volunteering, as we do not think the farm is just simply a tourism spot or hostel for a traveler's short stay; and we think it’s the minimum time for the volunteers who wish to know the different aspects of the farm and local society at a relatively deep level.
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”– Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
Hi, my name is Lin, the volunteer manager of our farm. After graduating from university I have decided to live and work on my uncle's farm since I have always enjoyed my summer and winter holiday time here. I am now the coordinator of the volunteer project.
The farm belongs to our big family and is located in a small town called Jiuling, half an hour drive from Mianyang city, Sichuan province, China. The farm is more than 300 hectares; we raise more than 5000 pigs, raise 700 chickens, and cultivate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. We employ more than 100 local workers that help us in the transformation from an industrial farm into an ecological farm. We also do a lot of work on restoring the local environment, because we believe that harmony between humanity and nature is the key to realize sustainable development of both agriculture and the human society. Our goal is to recycle all resources from the farm and give back to the environment to create a healthy and happy ecosystem.
The farm is being transformed very quickly at the moment. Some new projects are being done and others are still being designed. The beginning of 2017 is the start of eco-tourism in the farm: we wish this farm to be a place where people from the city can get close to nature and realize how important it is to respect it. Two buildings are being built; but after these, we won’t build anything with concrete anymore, as we want to be more and more ecological. That’s also why we need volunteers from all around the world to teach us their way of living and working ecologically.
So what exactly do we wish this place to be?
We wish for the farm to be a place where me and my family try our best to improve the quality of farming, a place where everyone learn from natureand respect it, a window through which people from other countries can come to know more about this country from a different perspective, a place where cultures, ideas and thoughts meet ! In order to achieve these goals, we host volunteers for them to share their thoughts about our farm, and help us to improve it in their own way.
We are truly happy to host volunteers every year from different parts of the world. I want to show every volunteer the true Chinese way of life and create an environment where they feel part of my family. I am looking forward to exchanging ideas and culture with each other, and creating a long-term friendship :)
To live together in harmony, we created some basic rules that everyone has to follow so that volunteers can fit easily in our family, even with the differences of culture and age. These rules are, for example:
- No noise around the family houses after 10PM (because people going to bed)
- You’re free to use everything you want in the farm, but use them responsibly and ecologically: switch off the lights when you leave a place, don’t put the airconditionning too hot/cold, don’t waste food and drinks…
- Clean your own dishes and house
- We expect you to start helping at least at 9AM
Those are very basic rules that most of you know in theory but sometimes, some people don’t do them by themselves; that’s why we had to establish them. If you think you’re not able to follow them, please don’t contact us.
We really want volunteers and our family to live happily together on the farm, so by coming here, you would agree to respect the others and be motivated!
Our PHILOSOPHY :
We believe the motivation should come from inside you. That’s why we won’t rush you or force you to do any works. We think that if you come to this farm in the countryside of Sichuan, it’s to learn Chinese traditions and farming methods, help us with your knowledge or imagination, and spend time with our family. That’s why this farm is also called “Freedom Farm” among volunteers, as you would be free to do anything you want. We hope you’ll fit in our family and that you’ll enjoy spending time here with us.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested in joining us!
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
There is a lot to do on our vast farm, and you can choose to try any kind of task. Just feel free to let me know what you want to try.
There are three types of volunteering you could do.
Everyday maintenance jobs are needed to be done. For example:
- Cleaning the common areas
- Trash hunting (collect garbage which cannot be composted in the soils)
- Sometimes cooking dinner for all the volunteers and members of the family
- Gardening jobs: watering flowers and lawns, weeding…
- And a lot of other tasks!
(2) Creative projects
You have a special skill that can be useful for the farm. For example:
- website programming
- carpenters and wood workers, iron workers…
- permaculture building and design
- artists (painters, musicians, photographers..!)
If you think you have a special skill like these ones, you can tell me about it and we can organize a special project for you. For example, our website has been made by a volunteer; several houses on the farm have been designed by volunteers…
You’re also very welcome to take your time in the farm to spot the things that can be improved, according to you, or things that you think you could make yourself. For example, volunteers built some furniture in the volunteer house because they wanted to have more space to put their belongings; another volunteer built a pizza place made with earth…
You are also free to do anything you want to make the farm more beautiful: paintings, nice structures, re-use old stuffs to make them pretty…
(3) Volunteering with the workers
We have a lot of workers who work every day at the farm. Volunteers have the opportunity to learn about animal care and traditional farming methods and food producing. The kinds of things you can learn depend of the season. For example:
- Spring: take care of grape trees, vegetables and fruit trees planting…
- Summer: grapes harvesting, wine making…
- Automn: sweet potatoes and pumpkins harvesting, sweet potato noodles making…
- Winter: sausages and beacon making…
You also can spend time with the pigs keepers and learn how to take care of pigs, or with the chefs in the canteen to learn how to cook Chinese food, or with the builders to learn about construction…
If you want to volunteer with the workers, feel free to come to me and I will organize your help days with the local workers.
Either you come to the farm with a very accurate idea of what you want to do and learn, or you want to try several jobs and find what you like most. Ifyou don’t have an accurate idea when you arrive, you can start with maintenance help, while thinking about what could be improved according to you, or something you could do yourself. If you don’t want to have your own project, it’s also okay, and you can carry on with maintenance help or help the volunteers who are working with their projects.
Chinese Mandarin , Sichuan dialect, English
Volunteers stay at a traditional straw house. The straw house is managed by the volunteers themselves, which means that this is your free space!
In front of the straw house there is a big pond with fish, and we have made space for outdoor furniture to enjoy when the sun is shining.
A bigger volunteer house is being built at the moment and will be finished during 2017. But until then, be ready to share the cozy straw house with the 2 bedrooms (4 beds/room) and a living room.
In the kitchen you will find the best Wifi connection. Furthermore, we have a computer, fax, a scanner, and a printer on the farm which can all be used by the volunteers for free.
You would primarily enjoy your meals in the canteen where volunteers, family members and workers enjoy their meals cooked by two Chinese chefs. When the opportunity arises, volunteers and my family will eat together in the family kitchen. And of course if you would like to learn some Chinese cooking skills, you are more than welcome to join my mum when she cooks for us - she is a very good cook!
We have our own basketball field located just beside the kitchen. In addition, we have built a pool and our own football field. After work we usually do some sports like swimming, tennis, basketball, football, table tennis, camping, boating, biking, fishing, yoga, etc.
From time to time we arrange and organize small trips around the village and town for volunteers. There are local sights like a sleeping Buddha temple or a Poetry town, Qing Lian (the poet Li Bai’s birthplace). You can also go to downtown Mianyang. We can organize barbecue dinner, movie nights, fire camps, hotpot dinner…
We also would like every volunteer to make a quick presentation about his country, or his hometown, in English, for us and the other volunteers to learn about the culture (food, landscapes, customs…).
In short, please make yourself at home here - that is what we expect!
First of all, I highly agree with the opinion on workaway.info's webpage stating that "Workaway.info is NOT set up to provide cheap labor." No, we do not consider the relationship between the volunteers and my family as a regular employment with just accommodation/food in return. We see our volunteers as a part of our family, we work and live together on the farm, and we hope that the volunteers will feel like they are a part of the farm and our family.
The average volunteering hours are minimum 4h per day: if we all take a day off for a trip around or if you choose to take a day off, you should work more the day before or after. Volunteers can choose any day off if you have some other plans like buying tickets, visa arrangements or going on your own trips, etc. We can arrange visa extensions with the local government if needed.
HOW TO REACH OUR FARM:
For an international flight, Chengdu international airport is the best choice since that is the nearest international airport to our place. You need to take a train from Chengdu to Mianyang city (18 for normal; 45 for fast train) then take number 60 city bus (2 yuan) and get off at its final stop, which is a big bus station in Mianyang called Ping Zhen. Then buy a ticket to Jiuling town (7 yuan) and call me/send me a message when you’re in Jiuling so that I can pick you up.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Average 4h per day
Photos of the farm and volunteers