Joel and I are both world travelers who bought our beautiful farm on Orcas Island in March of 2015. As well as being farmers, Joel is a ships Captain for Greenpeace, and has worked on some incredibly interesting projects. I am an interior and structural designer that specializes in green sustainable building, as well as a singer. Joel speaks English and Spanish fluently. Our farm manager Chelsea has a wide experience in permaculture, as well as several other types of farming. She will be teaching a season long curriculum.
The Farm, has been farmed in organic practices for the last 50 years. The farm has a reputation for wonderful water and soil, and one of the best “always warm” locations on the Orcas Island. At 78 acres, this is a mix of 23+ beautiful agricultural acres, with the remainder in lovely forested hillsides. We have 61 fruit and nut trees, they are mostly a mix of heirloom pears and apples, as well as figs and hazelnuts, there are 26 grape vines, two greenhouses, a historic fruit barn, two ponds, and a large market garden. We have chickens, ducks, geese and heritage pigs.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Helping with Tourists
Travelers can learn about organic farming, and permaculture in the Pacific North West, growing food, sustainability, building, community, and the ecosystems and environment of the San Juan Islands. Workaway-ers can also be taught a hands-on monthly curriculum April through October, as well as opportunities to learn basic plumbing, carpentry, trail making, and woodlot management throughout the season.
Although we are a working farm, Workaway folk will be tasked with land care aspects that involve taking care of the 80 acre property in an ecologically mindful way, and not doing 'farm work' associated with the business.
In addition, they can learn about sustainable agronomy practices such as hot composting, compost tea, foliar feeding, rotational grazing, and cover cropping.
Morning meetings with the farm manager and lunchtime provide time to plan the day’s work and explore ‘classroom topics’ that support the land. These topics will be expanded during ‘farm project days’ and during weekly farm team dinners. volunteers can keep a journal, be provided with monthly packets on classroom topics and have access to library and farm books.
Workaway-ers will be expected to help in several areas: jobs might include helping to build an sauna, and volunteer farm camp area, working on building farm structures, fencing, cleaning out and restoring some outbuildings, creating camping spots and platforms. Volunteers will help with blackberry, scotch broom, and noxious weed removal, firewood cutting and stacking, as well as pond, trail and road maintenance etc. You will be expected to help 5 hours a day, five days a week, in exchange for accommodation, food, and weekly educational programs.
Through our application process, we want to understand you, and what you are interested in learning, and work with you to help you grow your skill set.
Volunteer Exchange: You will be expected to help five hours a day, five days a week, in exchange for accommodation and food.
Meals: We will provide food for meals from the farm. Cooking is done on a rotational basis. We plan to meet up and eat a group breakfast once a week.
Pets: Because of our livestock, no pets please.
Recommended Gear: Clothing/shoes – depending on the seasonal weather you will want, farm boots, gum boots, nitrile gloves for fine garden work and also leather gloves for less precise pricklier work. Layers of clothing are encouraged, and rain gear can be necessary. The weather here can swing dramatically in a day. It can spit rain, drizzle, and the ground can get soggy, and then it can get really hot during the summer. A sun or rain hat is handy! You may want to swim in the pond or ocean during the summer.
Insurance: Please have travel and health insurance.
The perfect Workaway-er fit for the farm will be hardworking and enthusiastic, dedicated to food sustainability, and agricultural rural life. You’ll be able to follow directions and communicate well with others. You will have honed your goals, are serious about learning.
Thank you, and all the best on your Workaway travels!
Accommodations: We have beautiful tent sites in a lovely area that is accessed by it’s own road. We do have a few extra tents, but hope that you’ll bring your own, as well as sleeping pads and whatever you’ll need to be comfortable. If you have a van or RV, we do have space, but do not have hook-ups for them.
The toilets are composting and the showers are solar showers, as well as the shower house. There is spotty wifi in the farm camp area, depending on your carrier - T-Mobile has the best coverage in our area.
Orcas Island and the rest of the San Juan Islands are beautiful places to explore. Ferry service between the islands is frequent and bikes and boats are wonderful ways to explore them.
Transportation: Workawayers are responsible for their own transportation costs on and off the island. The farm is located about a mile from the Washington State Ferry landing in Orcas, WA.
How to get here: There are daily float plane and tarmac flights from Seattle and Bellingham. You can fly into either Seattle WA, or Bellingham WA and then take a separate flight to Eastsound WA on Orcas Island. Or, there is a shuttle bus to the ferry from both airports –
The airlines that fly to Eastsound, WA are Kenmore Air, and San Juan Air.
If you are driving, here is the link to the Ferry:
We highly recommend getting reservations in advance, the summer crossings can get completely full. There is an island taxi in the summer months, as well as ride share stops. We encourage bicycle use!
From the Orcas Chamber ~ “Pick your pleasure on Orcas Island. It’s a magical mix of arts and culture, lush forests, placid lakes and endless outdoor possibilities. Charming villages of Olga, Deer Harbor, Westsound and Orcas Village dot the island as centers of culture, art and cuisine. Relax and enjoy the island’s quality sampling of restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and museums.
For a dose of the great outdoors, hop aboard a whale watching and wildlife tour. Rent a kayak and see the island paddling along its shores, or jump on a bike and cruise the countryside. Hike the rugged old growth trails of the 5,000-acre Moran State Park to see the expansive marine vistas from the summit of Mount Constitution. On your way, watch for soaring bald eagles, wild deer, fox, rabbits or more than 250 species of birds that can be seen here throughout the year."
This is our second Spring on the farm. We are new to having volunteers, although Joel has them in his work much more often. We are a happy connected couple in our mid-lives. We look forward to sharing the beauty of this place we chose to live. We are interested in the health of the environment. We have a deep appreciation and love of nature.
We look forward to meeting you!
All the best,
Annie, Joel & Chelsea
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day,max 5 days a week