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Get inspired by our new permaculture - food forest project in the German countryside, close to Bonn/Köln: surrounded by 300-year-old trees, this place is full of spirituality! With our new project, we want to inspire young people to become self-sufficient and work on sustainability.
We are searching for some help in September: somebody who is really inspired by permaculture and loves gardening, animals and children! And, not unimportant, knowledge of English is a must!
In our recently ecologically renovated German "Fachwerkhaus" (consisting of cob and wood), which was previously owned by a German artist, we welcome people from all over the world to work with us and create a better world!
We - my husband Sven (German) and myself Ellen (Belgian) and our two lovely daughters (5 and 13 years old) - have been living abroad for a long time (from 1998 until 2017, with long-term stays (more than 3 years) in Bolivia, Peru, Kenya, and Senegal). We finally settled in Germany in 2017 and found our "dream house" in the countryside, close to Bonn and Köln, in 2018, and after a profound renovation process, we moved inside the house in August 2020 (so very recently). Myself, I am a social worker & cultural anthropologist and my husband is a political scientist - we both have a PhD. We both care about our environment and love animals. At the moment, we have one dog, 4 cats, 1 rooster, 8 chickens and many chicks (more than 20), 3 walking ducks, 2 goats - all of these are helping us in our ecological garden.
Our place is surrounded by forest. The landscape of Oberberg is very beautiful. Our own terrain has 4 hectares (which is big for this neighbourhood) and consists mainly of forest with very old oak and beech trees (many are 200-300 years old), a fenced field for the goats, and plenty of garden space. We practice permaculture and we want to expand the natural forest and design in our garden and at the forest borders, FOOD FOREST. There are also four small ponds which after some work could again become homes for trout and great places for us to have a swim.
We have plenty of work in the forest and (vegetable) garden (chopping wood, weeding, planting, etc.). People who have already experience in permaculture/food forest are more than welcome to share their ideas with us! Regarding the gardening work in the summer of 2022, we are looking for one/two workawayers to help us with the vegetable garden based on permaculture (sowing/planting and making more raised beds/vermicomposting and hügelkultur) and some forest work (collecting wood, chopping and storing wood). We also need to clear the many brambles in the fenced field for the animals. On an everyday basis, we need help with feeding the animals, walking with the dog, cooking, cleaning, and now and then taking care of our own children.
Along with the work in the garden/forest, we organize during Easter/Summer/Autumn (not during Winter) FOREST LANGUAGE CAMPS for local children. As there is a general lack of opportunities for local children to practice foreign languages and share different cultural customs, we created a place where they can learn and practice speaking these other languages, while playing in the forest and taking care of the animals. We are especially looking for NATIVE speakers in French, English, and Spanish (and maybe one day also Russian!) for our Forest Language Camps with local children. The native speakers should have an interest/in or have experience in wilderness pedagogic and permaculture in order to be able to come and join us for the Forest Language Camp! In 2023, the English camps will take place during the Easter Holidays, at the end of May (long weekend) and in June/July 2023 (2 weeks), and during some weekends in August and September. Besides the Forest Language Camp, we organize workshops on Saturdays on a monthly basis for our "Permaculture Kids" (break during the summer holidays). Together with the children, we design our own garden; start sewing and planting, and play in the forest.
IN GENERAL, we are a FAMILY and love to be surrounded by people who love nature and have a big interest in permaculture and food forests; enthusiastic people who want to be part of our family and who see themselves as open-minded, colourful, spiritual, creative, easy going, rainbow people. We are looking for those who see the beauty of life and mostly, in the smile of young children. Skilled people in handicrafts/wilderness/ outdoor activities; yoga/shinrin yoku (forest bathing) practitioners and craftsmen are also more than welcome! Are you getting curious? Come and visit us soon!!!
Main topics: organic, permaculture, food forest, teaching, vegan, mindfulness, yoga, wilderness pedagogy, forest bathing, animal care, and family life.
Types of help and learning opportunitiesArt ProjectsLanguage practiceHelp with Eco ProjectsTeachingGardeningDIY and building projectsAnimal CareFarmstay helpBabysitting and creative playCreating/ Cooking family mealsHelp around the houseGeneral MaintenanceHelp with Computers/ Internet
UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities
At our place, you are invited to try new things, explore your own personal interests and learn about living in a more sustainable and self-sufficient way. Since we have been living in different cultural settings for more than 15 years, we might share with you our different experiences. You might learn from us what is culturally appropriated and expected from you when you go and live in different settings, which might help you in the future when you plan to go and travel around the globe. At our small farm, we might teach you all sorts of things: from what it takes to make your own food to preserving the harvest. It is just important that you take yourself initiatives to learn things!
Projects involving children
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
About the work, we like to find out your special skills and preferences in order to make them as useful as possible in our project. At the end, what matters, is that you are motivated to work! We are certain that one or more activities of our project makes you curious enough to explore! However, we are looking for people who are able to work on their own, who are not scared to make themselves dirty and who are used to work with their hands.
A big part of the general day to day work consists of gardening/maintaining the land, feeding the animals and managing the firewood. Be aware that this requires a good physical condition. We usually start the work at 9:00am in winter time (in summer time at 8:00am) and might be ready at 2-3pm (with one lunch break), keeping half an hour/one hour left for the dog and feeding the animals at the early evening.
Our garden is maintained by the principles of permaculture. We love the wild growth of all sorts of plants and herbs, but the growing of nettles, wild brambles and the wild grow of maple seedlings at certain areas are controlled tough. As we do not use herbicides, these are picked by hand (gloves) . During autumn/winter time, the work mainly consists in forest work (collecting wood, chopping wood, etc.), planting trees and getting the garden ready for spring. During spring, we start preparing the vegetable garden (principles of permaculture): planting, sawing, weeding, etc. and organise the Food Forest. During summer, we continue to take care of the plants/trees (irrigation, weeding, planting) and can start to harvest and organise food conservation (making jams and chutneys, fermenting, drying, etc.). We could also need a hand with making the ponds suitable for fish again and/or fixing some leakages.
Besides general maintenance, we need your help in the preparation and organisation of FOREST LANGUAGE CAMPS for local children. Our first English Language Camp took place in July 2020. For these camps, we are especially looking for NATIVE speakers in French, English and Spanish (and maybe one day also Russian!). The native speakers should have an interest/or have experience in wilderness pedagogic and permaculture in order to be able to come and join us for the Forest Language Camp! We will be a team of 2 to 3 workawayers and myself as the coordinator. During a period of two to three weeks, we will intensively work together. The first week, we get to know each other while doing garden work. The second week, next to garden work, we will work in small teams to prepare the content of the language camps and the material needed for the camp. The last week, we will organise fun activities in order to practice English with the ten local children. I
Depending on your personal interest, there may also be the possibility to get involved with/learn about:
- animal care
- baking our daily (sourdough) bread and own yoghurt
- engaging our children in activities on their level/age
- DIY projects
- Making a compost toilet
If you are a carpenter or a skilled handwork, you definitely can help with:
- Making ecological huts in the forest for the children
- making our own pizza oven and outdoor kitchen
If you enjoy working with wood carvings and be creative, you are also invited to continue the 70 year old tradition of turning wood into pieces of art and displaying them on the terrain. Or if you ever fancied building a tree house for the kids, be our guest!
At the moment, we are renting out our Tiny House to weekend/week tourists. Visitors of this region are invited to stay with us to enjoy the beauty of this place. Whenever we have tourists staying with us, workawayers are invited to be tolerant and respect visitors' need of silence.
If you are eager to get to know us and our project, share with us your personal stories and background and convince us why you want to stay with us. Workawayers who write us standardised E-mails (i.e. the same mail that is sent to different hosts) are usually rejected. Be aware as well that we do not take long-term workawayers/ people who want to to live with us for a year or longer.
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.
FOOD: home-made, organic and vegan/ayurvedic cooking. Eating healthy is very important to us. We eat together and take turns in cooking/cleaning the dishes/table. The kitchen is a communal place and everybody is asked to keep it clean (also on your free days). You are also asked to cook a special dish twice a week (not within the 5 workaway-hours).
HEATING AND ELECTRICITY: there is a central heating system (provided from our own forest wood) - and several stoves that are used during winter time. You won't be cold in the house but we expect visitors to respect some basic rules (during the night and when you are out of the apartment, the heating is on low). We also expect visitors no to exaggerate the electricity/water use as we want to save energy and in this way, reduce our footprint .
ONE OR MORE WORKAWAYERS: when there is more than one workawayer, the apartment might be shared with others. Please be flexible during summer times!
A. The brand-new apartment with central heating
- one big room with one double bed and one bunk bed
- one smaller room with one bunk bed
- private bathroom but shared when there is another workawayer
or B. Bring your own tent/caravan if the weather allows it (only during summer)
or C: The Tiny House (own bathroom and kitchen, one bunk bed downstairs and one double bed upstairs)
INTERNET ACCESS: We do not use W-lan in the house (to avoid EMF) but internet access is provided in the apartment, Tiny House and in the main house.
HABITS: We only invite NON-smokers to our place. People who are addicted to mobile phones, computer games and television are not invited. Only moderate drinking habits are tolerated as we do not like the energy of drunken people among us on a daily basis. Also no use of drugs.
What else ...
We live about 55km away from Bonn and Köln. From Bonn/Köln to Siegburg or Hennef, then take local Bus to Waldbröl.
Places to visit:
our place is surrounded by beautiful nature, nice walking trails and a number of historical buildings (Homburg Castle) and caves (Stalactite cave in Wiehl) to visit. There is a wonderful Open-air museum in Lindlar, open air swimming pools or lakes and a nearby wonderful Nature Reserve 'Panarbora'.
It is definitely not the place to be for party people and people who love going to cities every day, but nature lovers will be inspired by our place!
A little more information
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Can host digital nomads
We do not use W-lan (or Wi-Fi) in the house (to avoid EMF) but internet access is provided through cable broadband in the Tiny House and in the main house.
Space for parking camper vans
This host can provide space for campervans.
Can possibly accept pets
We only accept middle-aged, older female (sterilised) dogs so that our young border collie can learn from the older one. Dogs who run after/hunt chickens, goats, etc. are not helpful at our farm as the chickens and sometimes the goats, walk freely in our garden. If the relationship between the dogs does not work out well, then it will be difficult to stay at ours.
How many Workawayers can stay?
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
Would love to come back
These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.
Accuracy of profile:
Would love to come back
Daily I fed the animals and took care of the gardening and had 2 days off per week.
Since day 1, I felt welcomed by the family, the back apartment is comfortable, and the farm is amazing, perfect to connect with nature.
As time passed by, I learned more about vegetarian
The family are so beautiful, they are very interesting with many great stories to tell. I loved spending time with them together as well as individually and you instantly feel like a part of the family as soon as you arrive. The days with them are quite
Let me start from the beginning: Ivan, you have a very special place in our heart! When you arrived in July
I was arriving by bike and I can vividly remember that I was a bit nervous, but this vanished
Ellen, Sven, Layra and Aylani are all wonderful humans, and it was refreshing to see a family that lives so sustainably, and with a lot of connection to the nature and people that stay with them.
My days began with walking amongst the fields with Ibo the
We had the pleasure to meet such a wonderful, lovely couple (from 25 Oct until 22 Nov 2021)! Our intention was to set up a language camp together but that was a challenge as we had no German School holidays at the time they were here. So we ended up with doing all kinds
They welcomed me into there house with kindness, willing to share there life with me.
I felt very welcome.
Ellen and Sven helped me with the bus, covid test...
They have two girls that are super cute, Layra the oldest one is really easy to speak with, and Aylani is easy to play with and
This was my first solo volunteer experience and there is no better place I could have landed. Ellen and the whole family welcomed me from day one as one of their own. I really enjoyed the family's company and the conversations we had. They helped me in any way they could and it was a pleasure for me to
We had many beautiful conversations and I liked it that they love good, organic food and freshly cooked meals as much as I do :D
Le travail n'est pas assommant. Au contraire c'était amusant de donner à manger aux animaux le matin, de fabriquer des petites serres pour le potager, d'attacher des portes vélo dans la grange, de coller des revêtements en liège sur les
they are lovely family living in a beautiful renovated house with land and woodlands.
our accomodation was great and cosy, we had our own little house outside which was very good for us.
we worked outside doing mainly gardening and helping to do some more raise beds for
We could shared a lot of moments,
Sven and Ellen, and also their daughters Layra and Aylani, were very open, very interested in us, and had a lot of crazy stories and interesting perspectives to share about living in many different
J'ai fait un peu de travail extérieur et j'ai gardé la petite dernière quelques demi-journées mais