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Hi lovers of the outdoors, of good food, or sustainable food growing! We are looking for some enthusiastic folks who love to work outdoors together. "We" are Babette and Mark.
We are in our fourth season at our beautiful, permaculture homestead. In 2019, we started from scratch with just 36 acres of fields and woods. Today, thanks to many amazing Workaway visitors, friends, and family, we have two comfy garden homes for Workawayers to stay, a common house with a shared bathroom and kitchen, a flock of heirloom sheep and lambs, chickens, fields of vegetables, berry bushes, and baby nut trees. Our homestead is in the artsy, progressive Connecticut River Valley with a good supply of funky cafés, fun little shops and galleries, music venues, and little villages/towns within biking distance. There are also some lovely swimming places in the area. We are located 2 hours from Boston, and 3 hours from New York City. This is not a working farm.
We do a lot of fun projects and if you come stay with us you are likely to be introduced to any number of skills. You might take the sheep and lambs out to pasture in the morning; collect eggs in the evening; make mounds for a three-sister garden; coppice some firewood; pick blueberries and mushrooms; shovel wood chips; or learn to use a scythe. Babette especially takes pride in teaching guests some simple construction skills. This year (2023) we will be doing some interesting building projects like constructing a chicken tractor, and a summer-barn for sheep.
If you stay with us you will get to stay either in the Meadow Garden House with a corner view overlooking well, a meadow (!), the Strawbale House, made entirely of natural building materials, or, if things are very busy, a semi-glamping tent (real mattress, electricity, wifi). You'll have a shared kitchen and a shared bathroom with compost toilet. We will provide you with healthy, often local and fresh, food and can usually accommodate special requests ("I really love chicken soup or granola bars", "I am vegetarian"). If we are around and what we're cooking fits your diet, we will love to share dinner with you (often a couple of nights a week), and we usually share lunch on workdays. You are welcome to enjoy alcohol in moderation, but we do not provide alcoholic beverages as part of the exchange. Of course we have high-speed internet and wifi to keep in touch with the wider world around us!
This is a great opportunity to be a part of building a permaculture food forest from the ground up!
CoVid-19. Mark and Babette are both vaccinated and require any workawayers to have completed their full round of vaccine doses at least two weeks before arrival. Let’s keep everyone in the community safe and healthy!
Types of help and learning opportunitiesHelp with Eco ProjectsGardeningDIY and building projectsFarmstay helpHelp with Computers/ Internet
UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities
We promise you will learn a lot about regenerative, natural farming techniques. In a broad sense, you will learn how we grow food and wool using minimal off-farm inputs and fossil fuels. Specifically, you'll learn how to take care of farm animals, grow vegetables, plant nuts and fruits, get local firewood, grow mushrooms, build things using simple tools and materials - in short, the broad spectrum of skills of a multi-use, diverse farm. We are really proud of how much people tell us they learned here and how much they enjoyed it. :)
We do all our cooking from scratch with mostly local ingredients; we minimize our trash by reducing and recycling; our house run on solar for heating, lighting, car charging etc. plus other carbon-reducing features, so this is also an opportunity to learn about green building and retrofitting.
Also, if you are not from the United States, you will learn about the American culture with us - and if you are shy about English, we speak German, French, Dutch and if necessary a smattering of Spanish.
If you are traveling by yourself, we would like to ask you to help a total of 20 hours per week; spread over 2-5 days, and this could include some days of animal chores (one to two hours). If you are two or more people traveling together and staying together in one of our garden houses, we ask each person to contribute 16 hours a week.
We'll be working together - with Babette or, with one of the other work-aways or interns. In 2023, our projects at the homestead include: daily care of the chicken flock; rotating our sheep through the pastures; planting companion plants (a polyculture) around our nut trees and berry bushes; building a chicken tractor and a summer barn for the sheep; putting in a well; planting trees and berries. We also appreciate support keeping our social media presence lively and engaging.
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.
The accommodations will be your very own a garden house - either in the Meadow Garden House with a corner view overlooking well, a meadow (!), or in the Strawbale House, made entirely of natural building materials, or (over-flow situation) a Vervor semi-glamping tent. There is one shared bathroom (shower with hot water and composting toilet).
What else ...
Mark and I like to have people around, and we've always enjoyed visitors or the people who stayed and worked with us in the past four years. We don't expect help cleaning up our junk, but we do expect everyone to clean up after themselves, and to help clean up when we've eaten together.
At the farm, we have bikes for guests and people frequently use these to explore the area. Nearby are the lovely Bookmill (well-known and loved second hand bookstore) and the Lady Killigrew cafe; the towns of Greenfield and Turners Falls are a bike ride away, and the area offers lots of quiet roads and forest for biking or hiking. We also have a swimming hole nearby. If you have a car, you will find lots of great hiking and camping in the area, as well as the lovely towns of Amherst, Northampton, and more.
A little more information
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Can host digital nomads
Yes we have wifi.
Space for parking camper vans
There is lots of flat space where a campervan could be stationed for a limited time.
How many Workawayers can stay?
More than two
20 hours per week spread over 3-5 days
The work only took up
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Accuracy of profile:
The work only took up
They do a great job of communicating
Paul was running the Boston Marathon and made it in the super time of 2:58! Congrats Paul! Hermine totally loves animals and gave lots of extra hugs and attention to our dog; made sure our barn cat was settling in well;
We spent almost a month with Babette on the farm, helping with the animals (the cutest newborn lambs and happy chickens) and construction projects: a cute farm stand and the foundations of a strawbale studio.
We also had the opportunity to stay at their nice house near Boston which was incredibly handy for
Babette is a woman with big goals and we have helped her achieve them with some small projects on the farm. we have had flexibility of decision and autonomy of work. she has taught us that we are capable of doing more things than we thought. she has a very nice community of workawayers and we have been able to meet a
In our case, we decided that it would be best to give them a big
Joseph was an amazing workawayer! He is super respectful, worked hard, has a good sense of humor, and was a very insightful and interesting person to talk with about the world, religion, and life in general. Joseph has a really good sense of who he is, and that makes him easy-going and really nice to be around. We miss him already!
We worked 2 full days