Hello! We are a mixed organic farm operating since 2004 and producing mostly seed crops, Spring and Fall vegetable starts, soft fruit plants, and some native plant species.
The farm is home to two children under the age of 15, so volunteers who are 'kid friendly' work best for us. In addition to the plant nursery and seed gardens, we also have a flock of 90 egg chickens, who are an important part of our mixed farming practice. The farm is also home to 2 friendly cats and 2 nice dogs. There is high speed wifi on the farm.
Our preference is for helpers who will stay a minimum of 4 weeks and ideally longer as it takes a lot of time to train someone to work well in the greenhouses and gardens and with our seed crops. Our work is varied, and can involve helping to get the garden ready for seasonal changes and crops, doing farm clean-up tasks, growing and processing seed crops, weeding and transplanting, some carpentry and general maintenance, packaging our seeds, and propagating fruit plants.
In North America, in the past 100 years we have lost 90% of our apple varieties, and 94% of our food seed varieties. I suspect that this statistic is quite similar throughout the Western world, and sadly with the expansion of 'green revolution' agriculture in southern countries this trend of genetic and cultural loss is increasing world wide. By coming and learning about the unique requirements of growing and saving seeds with us, you can become part of the solution to this very significant issue. Seeds are the foundation of most of our global food chain - yet when was the last time you thought about this, and how many people do you know who can actually grow and save seeds...? Well, you will be able to after your time with us! :-) Our preference is for volunteers who will take the learning that they do with us and apply this in their life, ideally as practicing farmers or in the field of agriculture. If you are intending on becoming a farmer, we can also show you our bookkeeping, organic certification record keeping, and seed crop record keeping as these are very important aspects of running a successful farm.
We are also working on a number of building projects this year, so some help from someone who already has carpentry experience would also be very appreciated! Our seed processing building has been under construction now for 3 years and we would dearly love to have it completed so we are not drying and processing the 230+ seed crops that we grow and process here in every tiny corner of our home and outbuildings!!!
Please note that we cannot host anyone here at the farm who is a smoker, even if you smoke occasionally. Tobacco mosaic virus is a very serious (non-treatable) seed-borne disease that is common in commercially-grown tobacco products, and that is not removed by washing with soap, including from clothing. As a seed farm, this is a disease that we very much want to avoid contracting, as it would possibly mean the end of our heirloom tomato seed production.
If you are interested in improving your English, and can stay with us longer than 4 weeks, there may be an opportunity for you to volunteer on a regular basis with the classes at our local Montessori and public elementary and middle schools. Native French speakers are particularly appreciated by the schools. Anyone who would like to do this must bring a recent criminal record check from their home country, and we can be flexible on your farm commitment to facilitate this additional volunteer opportunity that benefits our local schools.
DIY and building projects
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
We take our hosting responsibilities very seriously and will discuss with you what your goals and hopes for your exchange with us will be. Since we are a professional working farm with a seed business that we are developing, we do ask that our helpers work Monday-Friday, and we promise that you will learn a great deal, enjoy good company and be well fed while during your stay with us. We can help you with your English, teach you farming and food-growing skills, and ensure that you experience and explore the beautiful area that we live in here. If someone stays with us longer than 4 weeks we are happy to be flexible on what days you do your work trade hours and jobs.
At the farm our regular jobs are looking after the seed crops (annual and perennial), egg hens, weeding, transplanting and propagating. We also do a lot of seed saving, soil building, and general farm maintenance. Bigger projects we are working on include constructing a seed processing house.
Our helper accommodation is a 5th wheel motorhome, which is quiet and private, with wifi, sleeping loft and sitting area. We share laundry facilities and kitchen in the main house, and a very nice (i.e. well maintained and pleasant!) cedar composting toilet that is conveniently located. On a personal level we are non-smokers who enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle.
We are located in beautiful rural Metchosin, approximately 30 minutes from downtown Victoria by car and an hour by bus, and near extensive cycling trails and nice beaches, lakes and hikes. We provide bicycles (and helmets) for helper use and are happy to give you lots of ideas of places to visit and things to do while you are with us!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week