Help our permaculture farm with garden, eco-building, child-care in Vlaamse Ardennen, Brakel, Belgium




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 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description


    "Taste a different life."

    This is a small educational non-profit organization with a permaculture farm. We offer people the chance to experience a simple life in connection with nature. We believe this will inspire and motivate people to become less dependent on ending resources.
    For the neighborhood, we used to organize some activities. The most important one was the monthly pizza-party, at which we share our harvest and our products. For the moment, these activities are canceled due to corona.
    We used to sell sourdough bread, made in our wood-fired masonry oven. Now we only bake for ourselves, because we don't have a long-term bread volunteer. In the permaculture garden, we try to build up fertile soil with organic material from the surrounding. We grow almost all the vegetables we eat.
    The place is gradually built out by the volunteers, using low-tech ecological building techniques such as rocket-stove, clay from the land, wood from the forest, and homemade paint based on fresh cheese and flour (next to more traditional materials). The big transformations are already made, but from time to time there are still small projects undertaken.
    The project is run by the owners of the place (Ine, Dirk, Hazel (13) and Sienna (11)), helped by some long-term volunteers, amongst which one family with 5 kids aged 1 to 10. Sienna is homeschooled.
    The 4 ha domain has forest, orchard (meadow), and agricultural land. There are sheep, dogs, cats, chickens, a rabbit, and an old horse.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Most of the learning we have to offer is in the experience of everyday life close to nature.

    Depending on the Workawayers here there are sometimes group activities in the afternoons or evenings, like playing games, making art, recording movies, or simply chatting.

    Apart from that and what you need for the work, we have not really time to teach all of our skills, but the place and the opportunities (wood, wool, books, ...) are there to try things out. Of course, the longer you stay, the more learning opportunities will pass.

  • Help


    In spring we work mainly in the garden: weeding, mulching, planting, watering, ... Later in the season, we will be busy harvesting and processing vegetables and berries and bringing in the hay.

    You can help with childcare, entertainment of older kids and care for pets.

    Depending on your capacities and ongoing projects, there might be some eco-building work.

    Help with cooking is greatly appreciated.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    Volunteers sleep in a 'camping car' (tent-like, but of the ground). For the daily life, you share the kitchen of the former barn, separate from the house of the owners, with the 5-kids family. Most meals are shared (volunteers, family, owners), but sometimes the families eat separate if they feel the need.
    The accommodation is simple. Take into account that this kind of life takes a bit more time than in a house in the city. Compost toilets need to be emptied and sawdust supplies need to be filled. It takes more time to light a wood stove than it takes to turn on the gas. Vegetables need to be harvested and cleaned before you can start preparing dinner. Laundry needs to be hung, water kettles and hot water bottles need to be filled, etc.
    If you want to try/share this kind of life for a while, this is your project. If not, it might be frustrating.

    Our food is:
    - seasonal (so no cucumbers in April, eggs in December, or pumpkins in August),
    - local (so no coffee, chocolate, or peanut butter),
    - organic,
    - mostly vegetarian and low on milk products (but we have chickens for eggs and make some yogurt from milk of a local farmer).
    - we cook on a woodstove, as long as it's not too warm to do so

    We mostly have unprocessed products. We buy grains and legumes and grow fruit, veggies, and herbs. It’s up to volunteers to turn these into meals, bread spreads (jam, hummus, pesto, veggie pâté, etc.), and other tasty things like pickles or sauerkraut. We buy flour from a local mill using grain from local, organic farmers and bake sourdough bread with it.

    Typically, there are oats and sourdough bread with homemade jam for breakfast at eight, soup or salad and bread with homemade spreads for lunch at twelve, fruit or smoothy in the afternoon, and a cooked vegetarian meal for diner around six. In the season, there are, of course, always fruits and berries to be picked from the land.

    There is no hot shower. There’s an outdoor one with cold water. (Limited) hot water is available from the tap (solar heated) in the warm season and from the stove in the cold season, so you can wash with warm water from a bucket.

    All heating is done with home-made rocket -mass-wood stoves. Often only the kitchen is heated. The sleeping area is not. We have plenty of blankets and warm water bottles for wintertime.
    The stove in the kitchen is heated once or twice per day for cooking and/or warmth. During this time it is possible to heat water for drinking and washing, which then can also be put into thermoses for later use.
    When it’s warm outside and the sun is shining the solar cooker and electricity can also be used to heat water.

    You sleep in a 'camping car' (trailer unfolded to tent, of the ground), possibly shared with another volunteer. You can also bring your own tent.

    Other things
    - We only invite non-smokers.
    - There is wifi and a laptop.
    - Compost toilets only.
    - The dogs lick our plates after meals before we wash them.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The Flemish Ardennes is one of the most beautiful regions in Flanders, with a hilly and often surprising landscape.
    The place is easily reached with public transportation. Every hour, a 10 min walk will take you to a bus stop, which will take you to a train station, which can take you directly to Brussels and Gent.
    At four kilometers, there is a small town with shops, a swimming pool, and a library.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Van can be any size.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 13496985634c