Homesteading and Seed Saving on the South Shore of Nova Scotia- Canada



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 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description


    We are now accepting workaway interest for the season! June-October, variable lengths of stay. We welcome your interest, read on for our farm's description!

    Our Farm is small family farm tucked away on a dead-end gravel road on the South Shore of Nova Scotia-- 10 km to downtown Bridgewater, 20 km to Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, or LaHave, 25 km to beaches, and less than 100 km to Halifax. We have 20 acres of fertile soil on a gently sloping drumlin hillside, 200 acres of forests and wetlands to explore, and frontage on a pristine spring fed lake. Wildlife is abundant, though kept from the main farm area by our trusty farm dog, and includes ospreys (nesting within view of the field), owls, loons, eagles, songbirds, deer, raccoons, porcupines, pheasants, wood cocks, coyotes, rabbits, and the occasional roaming bear or bobcat.

    There are 12 old apple trees, countless wild apples, and wild blueberries in the field, and we are in the process of establishing a diverse perennial crop system of fruit, berries, nuts, and herbs. We have around 2 acres in cultivation for annual vegetable and grain crops (1 acre fenced), and a 20'x48' greenhouse. The heritage post and beam barn is useable although currently under renovation and we have a couple of outbuildings. There is ample tenting space, as well as our 28' camper bus and 17' travel trailer prioritized for long term workstayers/apprentices.

    Our primary commercial product is ecologically grown vegetable, grain, herb & flower seeds- we currently maintain approx. 200 varieties which we sell through our website, retail locally, and wholesale to a regional seed company. We grow a homestead-scale vegetable garden, selling excess produce to a local cafe. We also raise ducks (eggs and meat) and in some years pigs for home use.

    We have been farming together for over 15 years in the northeastern U.S. and Nova Scotia, always according to organic principles and standards. We do not even use organic sprays unless absolutely needed, preferring cultural methods of pest control. We add generous amounts of organic matter to our soil, including composted manure, leaves, and seaweed we collect from the beach. We use fish/seaweed emulsion as fertilizer when needed, and inoculate plantings with a broad spectrum mychorizal inoculant.

    This is our farm’s 11th growing season; thoroughly entrenched in the start-up phase of a diversified operation, we are in the midst of numerous projects. Thus, we are accepting workawayers who have interest and capability in homestead/building tasks while keeping up on garden tasks. Interest and ability in childcare is also a bonus, as our children are 9, 3, and a new baby!

    Tasks include:

    - maintaining garden for seed production and homestead food

    - landscape maintenance such as mowing

    - maintaining/establishing perennial crop systems (nut, fruit, berry, and herbs)

    - barn renovation, specifically re-siding with cedar shingles and building root cellar

    - building maintenance, including painting the house and re-roofing the sheds

    - basic homestead tasks/chores (firewood, ducks, processing storage crops)

    Farm work also varies with the seasons:
    - June: Bed preparation, planting, & mulching.
    - July: Weed & pest management. Firewood cut, split, & stacked.
    - August: Garlic harvest & processing. Seed crop harvesting. Weed & pest management. Wild blueberry harvesting.
    - September: Seed crop harvesting & processing. Storage crop harvesting & preservation.
    - October: Seed crop harvesting & processing. Apple harvest & processing. Storage crop harvesting & preservation. Garden cleanup/bed preparation. Collection of seaweed. Garlic planting.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Babysitting and creative play
    Help around the house
    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

    We enjoy sharing cultural experiences with others and living in community. As we were farm volunteers and apprentices ourselves before buying our own land, we value being able to provide an opportunity for interested people to experience rural and rustic living at a homestead. We are happy to share our varied knowledge, skills, and experiences with workstayers.

    We do not rely on volunteer labour to run our homestead or farm business, but rather enjoy having willing extra hands to get more accomplished/faster. We have had very positive experiences with visitors that are a great fit for our situation, so happily continue to offer our farm as a host.

  • Help


    We are looking for 5 hours help per day for 5 days per week. Throughout the season, heavy physical work is a must- lifting, wheel-barrowing, shoveling, digging, raking, etc. We believe strongly in setting a pace that is both productive and healthy for body and mind, being present and mindful, and taking adequate breaks, but it must be understood that hard physical work is central to small-scale farming and will be a necessary central feature of the workstay experience. That being said, our farm experience includes varied tasks with lots of interesting things going on to learn from. Workawayers need to be self motivated and willing to integrate themselves into our lifestyle. And we have found that previous work experience is much less important than a person's work ethic, positive attitude, and general willingness to work hard outdoors. As a farm family with three children, volunteers willing and capable of child care is an asset.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Intermediate
    German: Beginner

  • Accommodation


    Workstayers can bring their own tent/borrow one of ours or stay in our cozy barn loft as available. Our 28' bus camper and 17' camper trailer are an option for longer stays. Board consists of farm raised veggies/fruit, eggs, and basic groceries (flour, rice, oil, pasta, etc). Workstayers without their own vehicle are welcome to come along on town trips to stock up on their favourite foods, or borrow a bike to ride to the local farm market/bakery 5 km down the road. We enjoy communal meals and usually incorporate one shared meal per day, with rotational cooking and cleaning up. As we are relaxed, easy-going people who prefer flexibility, we would rather allow everyone to feel in charge of feeding themselves/doing their own cooking chores, with the option to share family style meals when it suits everyone’s schedules and needs.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Our workstay opportunity is ideal for people who love to spend most of their time outdoors, enjoy physical work, have interest in living off the land, and are comfortable camping out. We work hard and enjoy relaxing by a campfire, playing music, and swimming in the lake. We have canoes to take out on the lake, and bicycles available to borrow for sightseeing. We are well connected socially with the active and growing rural community on the South Shore. In a "normal" year, there are frequent social events and concerts, and there are still plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities in the area.

  • 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

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 522719733768