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

  • United States
  • Favourited 141 times
  • Last activity: 27 Mar 2023



 Min stay requested: 1 month or more



  • 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

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    General Maintenance
  • 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 skill development for 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 practices and 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: We observe ecological/green building practices and provide training in areas such as straw bale construction, timber frame, mortise and tenon, incorporation of repurposed 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 20 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 basic necessities listed above, that security is also a primary birthright. Everyone deserves to live in an environment free from 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 year WorkAwayers can look forward to projects such as:

    Planting seedlings and preparing the spring garden -March-May
    Poultry care and incubation -March/April
    Natural Beekeeping -March-June
    Crop rotation and intensive cover cropping -April/May
    Natural and salvaged building/landscaping -April-June
    Crop management: pest identification, compost teas -June-Aug
    Pasture raised turkeys -June-Sept
    Photovoltaic solar system 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 suitable for an individual or partners. The other is a wooden cabin with enough space to accommodate a small family. Cabins are equipped 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 included in regular farm-to-table lunches. 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

Host ref number: 511915911748

Feedback (4)



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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (4.3)

Communication: (5.0)

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