Important: Please read this through carefully before contacting me. Thanks!
Why: Why are we doing this? Because we want to live sustainably, improve the soil and land, and be more in touch with Mother Earth. I, Chong Kee in particular, want to grow my food as much as possible, and I want to leave a legacy of at least this small parcel of land so that it will always be a permaculture homestead or even an international community for people after me. If I’m lucky I might be able to do even more, but achieving this will already make me happy.
The farm: Our 16-acre farm is located on the shores of Lake Labish. We just started to convert it into a permaculture food forest. This is the Third year of our farming adventure for my husband and I. There is a sizable vegetable plot and a nascent (and expanding) orchard with about 20 fruit and nut trees.
The Work: Work includes lots of weeding and heavy shoveling, making compost, spraying with compost tea, planting, harvesting, etc. We expect you to work 5 days a week and 5 hours each day. Typically this would mean 9am – 12noon, and 2pm – 4pm. The closer it is to summer, the earlier in the morning and the later in the afternoon we start work to avoid the heat. We work as a team here and help each other out. We have a short powwow before the day begins to plan the work ahead and a short debrief at dinner to go over the work done and lessons learned. We can’t always be working next to you as we may have other things that need doing. If you have any questions please look for me, Chong Kee, who is the main contact person during your stay.
Food: Diet is healthy organic with one meal per day consisting of animal protein (most likely, egg, chicken, or fish), and the other meal being vegetarian. Cuisine style is mainly Asian (Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indian) with a smattering of American and European cooking. We eat what we grow as much as possible. If you are a strict vegetarian we will try to have both meals be vegetarian some of the time, and make a bean stew for you at other times when we eat meat. If you prefer to buy your own grocery and cook your own meal due to special dietary requirements (e.g., gluten intolerance, etc), please let me know and I’ll set aside some space in the fridge for you.
Breakfast is at your own time. We usually provide bread, butter, jam, oatmeal, and sometimes cereal, milk, tea, and fresh fruits. We don’t drink coffee. If you are here when the hens are laying at full steam, there will also be eggs for breakfast. Otherwise (fall and winter time), please do not eat the eggs on your own. They are reserved for the hosts although quite often, when I manage to save up a few, I will use them to make a dish for everyone. Lunch is usually around noon and dinner around 6pm and eaten together. I am the cook but if you enjoy cooking and would like to volunteer cooking a meal or two, please let me know because we love to try new cuisines.
If you are hungry outside of meal times, please help yourself to the bread, butter, and jam. Please refrain from raiding the fridge and pantry.
Transport: Our farm is accessible only by car. We can pick you up at the Salem train station if you don’t have a car. Languages: English and Mandarin.
Local sights: Best local sight is probably Silver Fall. It is rated as one of the best national park in Oregon. Willamette Mission State Park is just down the road and is a great place for walks and picnics.
Who we are looking for: We are looking for wwoofers who are fit and truly interested in doing farm work. Permaculture knowledge and farm experience a big plus. We do almost everything without machinery so you must enjoy hard work outdoors or you will not like it here. If you are into being self-reliant, healthy living and getting off fossil fuel then you’ll fit right in. We accept newbies if you are eager to learn and able to receive feedback.
WWOOFers welcome in spring, summer and autumn. You will have your own room with a queen bed and attached full bath room. If you prefer to camp, you are welcomed to pick any spot on the farm as long as it does not damage the crops or disturb the neighbors.
When you contact us, please make sure to include the following information about yourself:
1. Confirm that you are fit and able to do heavy farm work like shoveling dirt 5 hours a day, and lifting 50 lbs bags.
2. What other skills you may have, e.g., carpentry, etc.
3. Describe your farming experience and future plans.
4. Let us know the approximate date you plan to come and how long you would like to stay.
We usually only take one wwoofer at a time unless there is more than enough work for two.
Full disclosure: I am a classical pianist and will be practicing on the piano for several hours everyday. We are also a gay couple in our fifties. We both lived in cities most of our lives but have decided to become self-sufficient by growing our own food and sharing this process with other like-minded people. Everyone is welcomed but we will prioritize acceptance of LGBT folks, especially LGBT people of color as one of us is a gay Asian man.
You will learn about permaculture and regenerative agriculture. We have a grand piano and both of us are classical pianists so if you are a musician, we can make music together. You will also learn about cultural issues facing gay relationship if you care to: we are a bi-national gay couple: one of us immigrated to the US from Asia, another is American born gay white man. And a lot about Chinese culture as one of us has a PhD in Chinese literature. Or about maths and science as another of us has degrees in mathematics and biology.
Farm tasks will change depending on seasons. Current (Spring & Summer 2019) tasks list includes: weeding, building compost piles, brewing and spraying compost tea, planting trees, tending to vegetable plots and orchard, etc.
You own room with attached private bathroom and a queen bed. You will live on a 16 acre farm with a lot of open land and animals such as hawks, coyotes, raccoons, etc.
We rarely eat red meat, and generally eat organic. At least one meal per day is vegetarian. Chicken, Turkey and seafood are main sources of protein. Cuisine styles are usually Chinese, Thai, Indian and sometimes Italian (pasta).
You're welcomed to use our grand piano.
This is a great jumping off point to explore the Pacific North West. Local sights include waterfall, hiking, the cascades mountains, etc.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week