Come and learn about permaculture, a truly sustainable farming system! The farm is built around permaculture principles, which ensure that the farm is run in a way that enriches the soil rather than depleting it, uses water wisely and integrates all the farm systems so that they work together. An example is that our pigs are given an area to dig out each year, which we then turn into garden, food forest or grain-growing. Pigs love nothing more than to dig, so they do what they like to do best and have a great life, meanwhile "ploughing" the area for us and manuring it as they go. It's a win-win for the pigs, the future gardens and the farmer (except when she is chasing them because they have escaped!)There is currently one farmer at our Farm. In her "other" life, Lynn is also a university professor, which means lots of books at the farm. There are almost two full bookcases devoted to permaculture, farming and gardening which workers are encouraged to look at. The farmhouse itself is a community space with lots of comfy armchairs and sofas where people can sit and chat (when not outside on the cool patio), play music or read.
We have two summer long helpers and so we are looking for short term stays of a single or couple, stays of two weeks work best for us. Accommodation will be in our cabin in the woods, with access to the house. Work will mostly involve working in the gardens (weeding and planting) and some animal work (letting them out in the morning, feeding and watering and shutting them in at night). A large part of our diet is the animals and eggs we raise on the farm, for this reason we are unable to accommodate vegans.
There are often people from different cultures staying on the farm, so cultural exchange frequently takes place in the fields and over the dinner table. The Cowichan Valley, where the farm is located, is an area full of experimental agriculture of all kinds. There are many young farmers here specializing in organic forms of farming, and we get to visit with these farmers on Saturdays, at the busy local farmers' market and sometimes at their farms as well A good cross-section of Canada's diverse cultures is visible in Duncan, which is also called the City of Totems thanks to the presence of a large and active indigenous community in the area. Plus the farm is not far from Victoria, the capital city of BC, which is a wonderful place to visit with its rich history and gorgeous waterfront and harbours.
At our Farm we integrate livestock, gardens and food forests so that they work harmoniously together as much as possible. Work includes animal care such as feeding and watering the sheep and pigs each morning and evening, and feeding and watering and opening or closing up the ducks, chickens, turkeys and rabbits. There is planting, weeding and harvesting in the gardens and food forests. There is constant discussion about why we do what we do and the way we do it. Questions and curiosity are always welcome! We also like to experiment with new things, so new ideas are particularly welcome.
English, a very little German and French
Accommodation would be in either a cabin in the woods, an RV also in the woods, or a room in the main farmhouse. Meals are prepared and eaten in the farmhouse, and we often plan the farm day over breakfast or during dinner. There is a large outdoor patio for sitting and enjoying the view of the mountains. Food is primarily organic. During the summer, much of it is from the farm or from other local farms. We eat locally and organically whenever possible. Food is often cooked by the hosts, but it is fun to try different cuisines cooked by the workers sometimes. There is fresh, home-baked bread almost every day.
Our farm sits at the bottom of Mount Richards which has great hiking trails. There are woodland and bluff trails on the farm, with fantastic views from the bluffs which feature a lot of unique local flora. There are several other mountains in the area that are good hiking destinations. There is a lake and river nearby for swimming. Excursions into town occur every Saturday when we attend (or sometimes sell at) the local Farmers' Market, but also occur at other times. There are bikes available for exploring the surrounding area. There the totems to see in Duncan, or the village of Chemainus, also nearby, which has many buildings covered in murals (plus really fantastic ice-cream parlours!). It is a favourite destination of tourists to Vancouver Island. There are wineries and breweries to visit, restaurants that specialize in farm-to-table menus, and, throughout July, continuous music in an outdoor venue in downtown Duncan.
We love to have musicians visiting us on the farm, and, if we have people with instruments staying here, there are entire afternoons and evenings of music jamming. The farm stay is most fun when we have people from different parts of the world sharing their cultures and languages. This past winter, for example, we had a Mexican, a French Canadian and two Germans here for 2 months, and we all learned a little of each other's languages and foods and holiday customs. There are card and board games for lazy, hot evenings and often ice cream floats to cool down with. While farm work can be hard and sometimes physically demanding, we spend a lot of time relaxing and having fun when the day is over. If you are lucky, you might see a deer up close, maybe even a beaver or heron in the marsh. At night the owls will hoot and frogs sing you to sleep.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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