Help at a non-profit farm and center for sustainable living in beautiful Southern Illinois, USA


United States

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 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description


    Located in Union County in beautiful Southern Illinois, our farm is a center for sustainable living. Since 1997, the farm has served as a model to support organic agriculture, eco-building, renewable energy, medicinal herbal production, community development and spiritual growth.

    The farm is a non-profit organization, offering internships and volunteer opportunities with hands-on training in the following areas: 1) sustainable organic agriculture, 2) renewable energy, 3) natural home building, 4) medicinal herbs, 5) natural and chemical-free beekeeping, 6) team building, 7) community development, and 8) expeditionary education. Custom coursework for learning sustainable skills are readily developed for our participants.

    What sustainable skills are you interested in learning/sharing?

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Farmstay help
    Help with Eco Projects
    Animal Care

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    As a non-profit organization, the farm's main function lies in the building of community. By welcoming out-of-state and international visitors, we are delighted to see how far that sense of community can extend!

    The farm offers training in the fulfillment of basic necessities: food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and security.

    Food: We grow over 30 types of vegetables, fruit, nuts, raise chickens for eggs, turkeys for meat and keep honey bees. The farm is Certified Naturally Grown. With the use of passive solar high tunnels, we are able to grow 12 months a year. Recognizing that the health of plants will reflect the health of the earth they are grown in, soil development is paramount. Supporting a thriving soil ecosystem is done through intensive cover cropping, composting, vermicomposting, crop rotation and natural erosion control methods. Through years of sustainable efforts toward the development of garden soils, we are grateful to be growing the healthiest food in the world!

    Clothing: Clothing exchanges and the support of local second hand stores provide affordable options. Efforts also include up-scaling used items, crafting and artisan creation of garments and textiles.

    Shelter: the farm observes ecological/green building practices and provides training in areas such as straw bale construction, timber frame, mortise and tenon, incorporation of salvaged materials, passive solar and photovoltaic solar energy. We house a fully functional wood shop that supports a wide range of creativity. Selective timber harvesting provides for the use of wood stoves to heat structures throughout the cold months.

    Education: The farm is an educational center for the training and understanding of sustainable living practices. We regularly host workshops, tours, field trips and visitors. We work with local homeschooling families and have maintained a regular "Farm Day" program over the past 15 years, serving to incorporate sustainable practices (gardening, caring for animals) directly into family curriculum. Professional development and on-the-job training is always in play as we strive to become more functional human beings. We look forward to sharing and learning alongside our workawayers!

    Security: We believe that in addition to the 5 basic necessities listed above, that security is also a primary birthright. Everyone deserves to live in an environment free of fear. By practicing sustainable living, developing healthy relationships and building trust, we can promote a community-based lifestyle that sheds the limitations and reactivity that come with fear.

    Because these basic birthrights are universal, the farm practices charity as a way of sharing the resources that we are so grateful to have at our disposal. Throughout the growing season, regular donations of produce are made to local soup kitchens and shelters. The farm also supports children, orphanages and schools in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries on the planet, through a local charitable organization.

  • Help


    This season we invite you to participate in:

    Jan/Feb: Interior design of the new nursery greenhouse: building tables, installing electric and plumbing
    Jan-March: Winter greenhouse/garden management
    Jan-April: Planting seedlings and preparing the spring garden
    March/April: Crop rotation and intensive cover cropping
    March/April: Poultry care and incubation
    March-June: Natural Beekeeping
    Solar panel installation: Coming this summer

  • Languages spoken

    Arabic: Fluent
    Bengali (Bangla): Fluent
    German: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent
    Japanese: Fluent
    Turkish: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    On site housing is provided in one of two beautiful rustic cabins. One is a straw-bale construction that keeps cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It has one bed and is ideal for one person or a partnership. The other is a wooden cabin with a loft space, suitable for small families. Cabins are equiped with cooking facilities but do not have electricity or plumbing. There is a clean outhouse adjacent to the cabins. Coolers and ice are used for storing food at the cabins.
    Electricity, refrigeration, laundry and showers are located on site. Internet access is readily available through personal hot-spot connection.

    Meals: Workawayers will be served farm-to-table lunches daily. Plenty of fresh organic produce, eggs, meat (if desired) and honey will be provided for breakfast and dinner preparation. Community dinners are also available throughout the week. Any supplemental groceries provided will all be non-GMO. We can provide all dietary needs for omnivores and vegetarians.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The farm is located in Southern Illinois, just 15 miles south of Carbondale and the Southern Illinois University campus. The Southern Illinois region provides a great diversity of outdoor recreation including: The Shawnee National Forest, state parks, lakes, hiking trails, rock climbing sites, natural beauty, and much more. Major cities, including St Louis are within driving distance.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Summer harvest
Summer garden
Dayempur Farm crew
Park District field trip
family grows together
young beekeepers harvest honey
processing turnips
harvesting lettuce
building greenhouse
canoeing at Dayempur Farm's Cache River
sweet potato harvest
harvesting peppers
tree frogs are welcome in the garden

Host ref number: 511915911748