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Located in a canyon at the foothills East of San Diego, 30 minutes from the beaches, 20 minutes from downtown, but secluded and surrounded by a county park… the sanctuary is a new, privately owned farm. Our goal is to demonstrate water-efficient gardening in a semi-arid climate. Rather than to maximize yield, we want to demonstrate a method that minimizes waste and effort: a methodology of low-maintenance permaculture. Come participate and learn how proper planning and thinking outside the box can result in abundance while being manageable for those still trying to maintain a professional career and participate in the modern lifestyle.
The sanctuary is in its early phase of development and provides an ideal opportunity for those wanting to learn how to take hobby gardening to the next level. You will learn how to landscape for cheap (or free), how to build water-retaining earth works, how to plan your planting for minimal effort and maximum yield and how to farm in ways that are sustainable in a more challenging climate.
Open to locals for one-off participation or for travelers wanting to have an experience of 1 to 4 weeks, we will provide you with comfortable accommodation.
Though healthy, gourmet dishes will often be cooked and shared together, you will be expected to occasionally make your own meals using the produce and kitchens provided (both indoor and outdoor).
Activities will be co-directed by the owner and an expert local gardener and will include:
– Planting & Gardening
– Drip systems installing
– Wood and metal construction & maintenance
– Education and demonstration of comfortable off-grid living
Although 4 to 6 hours of zealous participation are expected 5 days a week, the sanctuary is not just about long days of hard work. We have our own private hiking trail, bouldering, sport climbing, a slack line, smoker BBQ and an attitude of enjoying life and finding the balance between productivity and healthy living for the body and soul.
For those interested, an occasional Ashtanga yoga instruction is available.
The property is a 30 minutes drive from downtown and the beaches. If our schedules align, I might be able to pick you up directly at the airport. More likely, with advance notice, I can pick you up at the Santee Town Center station. The tram departs from from SD downtown, not far from the airport from which you can get a bus. Trains run rather late, but you should check the schedules to be sure. Also good to know is that the cost of a Lyft or Uber from Santee to the farm is only about $10 to $15.
I drive to town and the beaches at least a couple times a week. Although I can't always promise a ride back, there is also public transportation to Santee from where I can pick you up. San Diego also features many electric scooters and cycles you can find and hire with an app on your phone.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
San Diego is a multi-cultural city with many distinct neightborhoods and beaches. You can borrow a surf board and catch some waves, learn acro-yoga at the park, enjoy the farmers markets or one of the many museums in Balboa park or the world famous zoo. You can also learn rock climbing from the owner who has climbed around the world, including up the Nose of El Capitan.
The owner has lived on 3 continents and traveled to two dozens countries. Bilingual in French and English, familiar with German and Spanish. Just being here is a cultural experience. Learn about off-grid living, traveling and lifestyle design: how to balance making a living with the freedom to explore your passions for the outdoors and creative arts.
Most of the help here is done outdoors, centered around gardening, construction and maintenance.
Gardening: from landscaping with trees to cultivating small scale crops, from tilling a new area to planting and harvesting in the main garden section, from creating water retaining earthworks to nursing seedlings: there is a large variety of tasks for all types of people and preferences.
Construction: from building a cement berm to redirect runoff water into the garden and on the construction of a house, to building creative art projects for burning man or a deck in the garden: there is a lot of room and plenty of ideas to work on. Come learn or hone your skills for wood work, masonry, welding and more.
Maintenance: from changing the oil on vehicles to fixing old tools and adding comfort customizations to the living spaces: there are many little fun crafts to be done, involving electric work, plumbing and mechanics.
The owner will provide direction for all of these projects while still giving you room to express your creativity.
Fluent in English & French, conversational in Spanish and German
There is room in the class-A motorhome for a couple people as well as more private accommodation in the custom built adventure van (come experience vanlife!). We also provide space and gear for tent camping, or room for you to park your own rig.
No indoor toilets are provided; however, there is a clean outhouse.
Participation will be organized in 2-week session.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
4 hours a day, 5 days a week
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