Hi! We are a permaculture farm, organic and focusing on the Fukuoka method and perennial agriculture. We are a cooperative of six families who are mostly self sufficient subsistence farmers and produce essential oils and soaps as a side business.
We live in a village of roughly 74 households in southern Gorkha district, central Nepal. We are looking for volunteers to help us with a number of tasks.
- Cooperative Business: We have started a small village business with 5 members with a range of projects, including steam-distilling wild mugwort (Artemisia indica) for essential oil, oyster & eventually shitake mushrooms, organic orange orchards and a small fruit tree nursery, and various products for a farmer’s market stand (soap, pickles, herbal teas, small amounts of village coffee…). Our business is very young (about a year old), and very small (5 people). We have not yet reached a point where we are financially supporting all members sufficiently from the income. We need help in these beginning stages to keep projects maintained and to start new projects. Ideas & exchanges are most welcome! As well as volunteers with particular skillsets like building, business, agriculture, etc. Our young village cooperative members are excited to meet new people, share & learn, and look forward to the cultural exchange aspects of hosting volunteers as well.
- Organic Farming: There are 3 out of the 5 members in our business cooperative farming full-time with their families. This is another reason we need people, when there is not business work, there is farm work! All of the agriculture is organic. Bikash specializes in organic oranges, banana, coffee, black cardamom, dragon fruit, and other citrus. Rojan and his family maintain a large vegetable garden and farm their terraces in a traditional grain rotation of corn and millet. They are also currently experimenting with growin rice. Maki specializes in perennial vegetables & grains and Fukuoka-style natural farming of terraces, and wild orchard techniques with his orange, avocado, and miscellaneous fruit & nut trees. All are working towards self-sufficiency with food, but with water shortages as a challenge in this area, this goal has not been reached yet. All need assistance during various season in their fields and orchards, as well as look forward to working with people interested and engaged in sustainable agriculture….sharing ideas, experiences, and working together.
All of us involved with the cooperative are very passionate about organic, subsistence-scale agriculture, and about making village life in Nepal a financially viable option for young Nepali people.
Volunteers that come to us stay in the communal homestay in our village. Five families (the families of our cooperative business members) work together to host volunteers in a central space, which makes it easy for both the hosts and volunteers. Our village is a bit spread out geographically, and English is very limited in the 5 family’s homes, so individual homestays (one person in each house) are a bit difficult for both parties. We built a communal space, centrally located between all 5 family homes, and within the main village area. The families take turns cooking, bringing vegetables from the garden, and staying with volunteers in the communal space. During the day, volunteers work with the cooperative members or in family’s fields/garden/orchards, always with the group. The daily fee of 500 Rupees per day is split evenly among the families for the costs of food (vegetables come from our gardens, but rice, potatoes, eggs, oil, flour, etc. must be purchased), and to help cover the expenses families contributed to build the communal space.
When you stay and work with us, you are able to experience the traditional aspects of village life, including traditional farming techniques, local herbal medicinal knowledge, village celebrations, traditional lifestyle, home-cooked organic meals….as well as the modern aspect of the projects we are building, like new ways to grow food, to generate income without village members having to work in the city or abroad, and a working style and lifestyle in which everyone works cooperatively, shares responsibility, and builds multi-dimensional relationships. Our farms & small cooperative are located in Patiswara Village, a Gurung village in southern Gorkha district. We are at 1400m elevation, and have views of the surrounding hills and valleys (on clear mornings, great views of the Himalayas). Village life here is peaceful, with plenty of interaction with neighbors. We always have a variety of small projects going on at one time, in all seasons.
Help with Eco project
Volunteers working with us will learn about what it takes to live a subsistence lifestyle, to run a small cooperative & business. They will see how we grow our food, how we create income from our village business, and live off the grid. They will see how a village community model operates from the inside. We hope to inspire people to do the same!
Living in the village will also expose travelers to rural life in Nepal, in the beautiful foothills of the Himalayas. Because of geographic isolation, much of Nepal's farming techniques are still very traditional. For example, plowing by ox, and all of the traditional tools used for farming are still made in the villages. Traditional knowledge of village self-sustainability is still strong and people's livelihoods depend on it. Nepal's mid-hills are an extremely unique place to learn about agriculture and subsistence living.
Please message us with any questions at all and we look forward to meeting you!
What we are looking for in volunteers: Because of the time required from Kathmandu to travel to Patiswara (6hrs), and somewhat difficult travel up the mountain to the village, we prioritize working with volunteers who can stay for a week or more. Volunteering can be in the fields and everything we do is by hand...and may include digging, weeding, cutting back vegetation in the orchards, making seed balls, threshing, harvesting, etc. Cooperative business work may include helping to build structures, prepare mushroom cultivation areas, helping to carry mugwort from growing areas to the distilling unit, packaging business products, deshelling coffee, etc. Some of the work is physically demanding, but we don't intend to break our backs or yours! We work at a reasonable pace, and would never ask our volunteers to do more than they feel comfortable. On average, volunteers can expect to work about 4-5 hours per day, but if you would like to do more or less, you can just let us know. We are flexible.
English, Nepali, Japanese
Volunteers will stay in the communal homestay space, which includes 2 houses, each with three beds inside. There is a spring with water nearby to do laundry, and to bring water for showers in the enclosed space, as well as toilet. We keep the spaces clean, you will have an area to charge electrical devices, no internet, but if you have a Nepali cell phone number you will be able to use internet through cellular data. We have some guitars, and music & creative projects are much encouraged! The goal is also to step out of your comfort zone a little bit and really experience village life up in the mountains with us. Eating schedule will usually look like: tea & snack at 7am, full rice/lentils/veggies at 11 am, then 7pm full meal. All meals will be eaten as a family from the communal cooking area. Our drinking water comes from the mountain spring. Meals will include organic vegetables from the gardens and will be mostly vegetarian. Vegetarian & vegan diets are easily met, just let us know.
The way to reach us is to take a bus from Kathmandu (from Kalunki) towards Pokhara, and get off in Chumkhola (3hrs). Cross the bridge and take the bus there (everyday at 3pm, except during the monsoon), up the mountain 3 hours to our village. We will meet you at the bus stop. During the monsoon we can make arrangements to get you up the mountain once you reach Chumkhola, either by walking (3-4 hours) or in a friend's vehicle. Talk with us specifically about dates.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteer‘s stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.