Summer time in Melbourne :) So nice. A lot happening on the farm! So we could do with some help growing the crops and keeping the weeds under control. We are now establishing a wide range of summer crops: sowing seeds and planting seedlings. A mountain of onions and garlic to process for market!
I am a young farmer called Paul in my 30s that is currently operating a market garden on 16 acres in the Keilor valley, just 22km from the Melbourne CBD! I grow seasonal vegetables organically, and I supply them to various restaurants and retailers in Melbourne, as well as holding stalls at farmers' markets on the weekend. I've been farming here for almost 5 years now, and am implementing and experimenting with various methods of farming.
The beautiful Maribyrnong River runs along the border of the property, and there are many cockatoos here too! There are a few farmhands that work on various days throughout the week, so there is always someone to learn from and have a cuppa with. We rise early in the morning and eat a hearty farm lunch together. As you can imagine, there is a plethora of beautiful organically grown vegetables to eat for our meals! People who have stayed enjoy cooking with such fresh vegetables.
Accommodation is quite basic on the farm, in an old shed converted into an apartment or a cosy caravan. We use a bush bucket shower and compost toilet. Soon we will have a bell tent by the river. The bus stop is a short walk up the hill, and using the bus and the train you can connect with Melbourne independently on your days off. This is super handy and means less isolation. The internet is accessible via hotspot for emails, for big downloads though you will have to stroll down to one of the two local libraries. (We can't get broadband internet here in the valley, yet...)
I ask volunteers to work five days, stopping at lunch each day. However, there are also lots of books to read during your down-time, under the trees by the river :) We recently bought a few board games too, have installed a projector in the shed for movie nights and a ceiling suspended day bed. Farm work is quite physical so these activities help to balance life here :)
DIY and building projects
You can meet young farmers.
I need help with the day-to-day farming tasks, such as picking to fill orders, planting, weeding, whipper-snipping etc. Any skills welcome to help make this farm a better place.
The current sleeping arrangement is in a clean and cosy (but basic) caravan within an open shed. Rustic apartment style sleeping space in the main shed too, with a bucket shower to use and a kitchen.
The farm is located near a train station and a bus stop that can take you straight into Melbourne (approximately 40 mins away). There is also a local library you can visit - the internet is better there, it can be a a little bit slow here on the property.
Generally, I am an early riser and early to bed kind of person, as there is so much to do on the farm each day. You'll probably find that you too will want to go to bed pretty early yourself!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week