Join my mom and I as we live and work on our 13 acre permaculture homestead. We are located on a quiet, dirt road in Shutesbury, MA only a short 3 mile bike ride from the center of Amherst. On one side of our road is the house as well as 2 acres of mostly lawn space (with a small kitchen garden and several perennial flower beds). Directly opposite the house stands the solar panel covered animal barn. Here we house laying hens, ducks, three sheep, two draft horses, one livestock guardian dog and three pregnant goats (set to kid out in early spring!). These animals have free range within a 10 acre fenced in pasture. North of the pasture is an outdoor riding ring, our large no-till annual vegetable garden, a collection of fruit and nut trees as well as berry bushes/shrubs. A constantly flowing stream edges these 11 acres (pasture+garden space).
Our mission on this land is to be almost entirely self sustaining, living off the land in a way that regenerates the life in the soil and, simultaneously, produces little to no waste. We are also trying to create a space for others to learn homesteading skills. This education will take the form of formal workshops (free for interns!) and work exchange.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Travellers will benefit from living and working on a homestead that embodies the permaculture philosophy of surviving (and thriving!) off the land while at the same time improving the health of the natural ecosystem. Volunteers will learn strategies to catch and store natural energy, grow their own food, create healthy soil life and recycle EVERYTHING back into the farm system.
More specifically volunteers will have the opportunity to acquire hard skills in the following areas:
1. Farm machine use and maintenance (Kubota tractor, cub cadet mower, electric chainsaw...etc)
2. Food preservation (canning, drying, fermentation, root cellar storage...etc)
3. Animal care and management (goat, sheep, horse, chicken, duck and dog)
4. Cooking (learn to make tasty use of our garden veggies, homegrown eggs and goat cheese! We also make grind our own grain and make our own bread)
5. No-till gardening (sheet mulching, broad forking, composting, seed starting, pest management...etc)
In addition, longer term volunteers will have time to tackle their own eco-projects on the farm. Help us set up a rainwater catchment system off our barn roof! Install our hydraulic ram in the nearby stream and help us irrigate the garden! Propose your own project and make it happen!
Beyond what volunteers will learn on our particular farm there are also many opportunities to learn about permaculture and homesteading at farms in our local community. The Pioneer Valley is a regenerative agriculture hub. In their free time volunteers are encouraged to visit nearby nearby gems such as Laughing Dog Farm, Wildside Cottage and Gardens, Paradise Lot, Sirius Community, Triplebrook Farm and many other permaculture sites. The area outside of the farm also offers travellers many opportunities to develop mushroom foraging skills. My mom is an expert and loves to explore the surrounding woods for forest edibles.
My mom and I need help with a wide variety of farm chores. These will include animal care (clipping goat hooves, scooping horse manure, milking goats, feeding all animals...etc), gardening, cooking, tree pruning, food processing and preservation, harvesting..etc
Chinese and English
We have several options for accomodation. In the house we have a guest room and a sleeping loft. Outside we have a large pop-up camper trailer with two queen sized beds. We also have a comfy tent that can be set up on the ground or converted into a hammock tent. Meals will be prepared and eaten in the house. Cooking will be a rotating chore.
Our area offers lots to do in a volunteer's free time! There are numerous nearby town centers offering yummy food, shopping, live music and other events. Amherst, Northampton, Greenfield, Turners, Montague and Shelburne Falls are especially worth visiting. Volunteers can also take time to explore the local nature. There are plenty of hiking trails and swimming holes many of which are within walking distance from our farm. We have three bikes (one of which is electric!) and two cars available for transportation.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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