Ready to help on a dynamic, sustainability focused project in the beautiful countryside of Kyoto?
We are a (small) working organic farm and a member of the sustainability focused community in Kyoto.
Our ideal volunteer:
- loves the outdoors
- is definitely not afraid of getting dirty
- is prepared to do physical work in the outdoors, under rain or hot sun
- is open minded and flexible
- is easy going, but willing to work hard and pay attention to detail
Please make sure to tell us if you have any of the following because we love this!
- experience farming or gardening
- experience in construction
- very strong Japanese/English skills (translation level)
- experience cooking with veggies that are bruised or beginning to spoil. Ability to cook vegan is great.
- video editing experience for documentaries
VOLUNTEER NUMBERS AND LENGTH OF STAY
We normally don't accept couples or friends traveling together. We also usually ask volunteers to please stay one month. Our farm is busy and things run a lot smoother if you can stay for a bit of time :)
However, in this time of crisis (COVID-19) we are more flexible. So we are open to all applications from serious minded volunteers.
If you have special skills (carpentry, translation, renewable energy, natural building) please contact us and we may be able to make an exception for a shorter stay. Please note that we have an emphasis on skills- so if you have degrees and certificates for bio-engineering but can't actually build anything that doesn't count as a skill ;) sorry.
We prefer a volunteer that is comfortable sharing the one room volunteer cabin with a member of the opposite sex/gender.
MORE ABOUT FARMING ACTIVITIES:
We compost leaves, kitchen scraps and animal manure to fertilise the soil. We also use epsom salts, bone meal, 油粕, perlite, くん炭、eggshells and potash. For insects we use manual labour, spray with BT (a natural bacteria), homemade insecticidal soap and other organic applications.
We harvest vegetables from May until December with varieties including but not limited to the list below.
Spinach, komatsuna, radishes, turnips, baby leaf salad mix, beets, carrots, peas, beans, head lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, Yacon, purple potato, eggplant, peanuts, zucchini, summer squash, winter squash (kabocha, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, hubbard), tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, herbs (dill, basil, chervil, italian parsley), onion, Chinese cabbage, cabbage and daikon.
MORE ABOUT THE PEOPLE
Chuck , the founder and farmer is from America. He has been in Japan 21 years, is married with one son. He lives in Kyoto teaching English to pay for his farming efforts and family. He hopes to make his farming project his main job within 5 years.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Sorry if it takes some time to respond. The farm is really busy and Chuck is also balancing other jobs so sometimes there is not much time.
MORE ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION:
Our mission is to revive farmland and rural areas through organic farming and educational events. We are striving to bring back the traditional food system to restore the food system, health and environment of Japan.
But we are far from reaching that goal! We are also humans and still learning how to be sustainable in our own lives. We have very limited resources and often have to make due with what we have. We are constantly trying to improve and to make ourselves more sustainable too...but we have hopes for sure :)
More about volunteering with us:
If you want to make a great first impression, please message us telling us:
1. How would you be a good addition to our team? We are still at a beginning stage, so while we are confident you will benefit from volunteering with us, we also search for volunteers that can bring something beneficial to our project too.
2. When you are interested in staying with us
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Computers/ Internet
As a volunteer, you'll have an opportunity to experience the countryside of Japan. As mentioned, Kutsuki, is beautiful. There is a clean and refreshing river you can swim in, forests with hiking, and it is always several degrees cooler than Kyoto.
Since Chuck has been teaching in Kyoto for 20 years, he can also give you some tips on art, music and other events in Kyoto when you pass through.
Enjoy some clean air and peace after bustling Japan. This is also a great opportunity to learn about agriculture in Japan and what the Sustainability scene is like here.
Please note this is not the best workaway for Japanese language practice (although we can accommodate Japanese volunteers of course).
This is a working organic farm! This work involves the pretty standard: weeding, harvesting, watering, planting, organic control of pests and disease, compost fun, and maintaining the farm (putting up fencing and trellises).
You don't need experience in this stuff, but you do need to have a developed interest and some experience growing veggies or plants would be good.
In Kutsuki, Chuck has a little house that is essentially dedicated to his farming project. We are sometimes making improvements to the house. We are also often fixing fences and creating other infrastructure for farming.
Help with Eco Project/Other:
Our farm is not just about growing vegetables. Chuck is passionate about creating a more sustainable Kyoto. Occasionally Chuck runs tours to bring people to the farm and earn some extra money. Assistance with the tours can include meal preparation and clean up, helping on hikes and so on. If you feel you have some skills/ideas you can bring to the table regarding this, please feel free to send us a message.
Volunteer accommodation will be in Kutsuki at the little house by the farm ("the clubhouse" as we call it). Kutsuki is about 1.5 hours north of Kyoto by car.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Transportation will be provided between Kyoto and the farm when you arrive and leave. Chuck only drives to Kutsuki on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so transportation to the farm/Kyoto can only be provided on those days.*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️
Volunteers live at the farm alone. There are neighbours though, and during the summer Kyotoites sometimes escape the city by coming up to this region. So you won't feel totally isolated.
Chuck lives in Kyoto and comes up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Occasionally other Kyoto based volunteers come up as well.
During the weekends/days off, you may be able to come to Kyoto. But it's not guaranteed. It will depend on if the crops need watering and if recently the monkeys have been breaking into the farm...please discuss it with us.
The farm is accessible by public transport, but it's not very cheap and can take maybe 2 hours. You can try hitchhiking though!
The house is right across the road from the clear, refreshing river that you can swim in. The house is equipped with a flush toilet, toaster, microwave, gas cooker, rice cooker, fridge/freezer, washing machine and hot bath. The water heater is partially wood-fire powered and takes at least an hour to heat the water. Hot water is only available in the bathroom (not the kitchen). The house is heated by a wood stove.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️All of the sinks from the house drain into the river. This means that we are responsible for not putting any harmful chemicals down the sinks. Because of this, we use eco friendly soap for the dishes and laundry. We also please ask volunteers to bring eco friendly soaps and toothpastes. Your conscience will feel a lot better when you are looking at/swimming in the river in front of/beside the house*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️
This is a legitimate house, but a legitimate country house. That means some people may consider it 'basic', and big bugs do come inside ! We are constantly working to make the house nicer, however interested workawayers should be comfortable with camping-bungalow vibe accommodations.
3 meals a day will be provided, but you will cook almost all of them yourself. We will provide you with enough of the staple foods: rice, pasta, bread, vegetables (not from the farm unfortunately) beans, tofu, bananas, canola oil, seasonings, coffee, tea, sugar and milk (soy or regular). Other items should be purchased separately, and arrangements may be made to do so with Chuck with enough notice. There is also a supermarket in town that you can go to on your day off.
Because Kutsuki is in the rural countryside, we don't have a wifi router :( Sorry about that. However if you’re interested in getting a SIM card or renting a cell phone, you can get a 3G/4G signal up there. Check with us to confirm your provider gets a signal (DOCOMO is the recommended provider).
Kutsuki is in the mountains ! This means it is always a bit cooler than Kyoto. In spring and autumn you’ll probably want to bring warm clothes (there is still snow on the ground at the beginning of April).
The clubhouse is your place to stay but it becomes a shared space when other volunteers are present or during other events and tours. Please treat the space with respect, we have a detailed list of how things work in the clubhouse which we will go over with you upon arrival.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Please note there are venomous snakes in the area. Although being bit is rare, it is still a risk. We suggest volunteers work in boots and pants for the most safety, but this is your own choice. We have some boots and work clothes you can use, but we cannot guarantee their size nor condition so you might want to byo. You definitely need to bring your own rain jacket/pants though!
Send a message if you have any questions! Please excuse any delays in response as we are a very small, purely volunteer team.
When you message us, please include a link to a song or a quote you like to prove that you read our whole profile ;) Thanks!
Maximum 25 hours a week, 2 days off
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