About Permaculture Sydney Institute (PSI)
Permaculture Sydney Institute (PSI) is a non-profit organisation that promotes permaculture and sustainable living. We are currently developing a permaculture demonstration farm that we need help with. The PSI farm is 22 acres, nestled in the beautiful Macdonald Valley, two hours northwest of Sydney in the Hawkesbury region. It is rural and remote.
The farm is in its early stages of development and so there are many projects that need to be done and to choose from. Currently we are constructing vegetable gardens, animal enclosures, food forests, swales, forests, tree systems and earthworks and water systems. Apart from developing the PSI Farm, PSI also provides a number of other services, including educational courses and workshops, a local food box system, community consultation and design services, on-line shopping for permaculture books and local farm products, and ongoing permaculture design and maintenance
As hosts, you will find us to be friendly, flexible and fun. We are an older couple and restricted with some activities hence really needing your help. We very much look forward to welcoming you soon. Give us a call if you wish to know more.
Your hosts, Penny and Geoffrey.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
What you will get
PSI has been hosting work exchangers for many years now and has always had excellent reviews. Apart from an enjoyable experience with us you will remember the rest of your life, you will learn new skills and knowledge about a range of things especially permaculture. You will also have time for rest and recreation in the a beautiful Australian bush and you will be able to improve your English if you are not a native speaker.
Volunteers will be able to gain several cultural experiences, mainly:
- Farming lore and permaculture principles
- Interaction with leading international permaculture experts
- An extensive library of local history and farming
- Interactions with local community
- History of first settlers
- Indigenous history in the valley
What we need.
We are a busy organisation, really needing help from committed helpers with practical skills such as: building; carpentry; landscaping; stone masonry; gardening; animal care and general handyman and maintenance. Filming, promotion, social media and marketing skills would also assist the cause. It would be a bonus if you also have permaculture knowledge or experience but it is not strictly necessary.
What we expect
We are looking for easy going, flexible and committed people with skills and a good work ethic who are not frightened to work or get their hands dirty.
We expect workers to help out for 20 to 25 hours per week, excluding tea breaks and meals, the exact hours determined by the choice of heavy work (building and construction work, fencing, stone-work, cementing, landscaping and so on) and light work (gardening, domestic work, animal care, garden and grounds maintenance, carpentry and so on). We realise that some prefer heavy, some light, and some a mix. The hours can be distributed against the days of the week and times of day in any suitable pattern.
You need to self-start and complete your projects and be able to work alone on some occasions. You need to be able to handle the peace, quiet and sometimes isolation of the country and to be fairly fit and drug free.
Apart from your committed projects here we expect you to share some common everyday tasks such as setting the table for dinner, loading and unloading the dishwasher, clearing the table after dinner, cleaning up after yourself. We also expect you to thoroughly clean your room before you leave us.
Length of stay
We prefer a two-week minimum stay here but are open to longer term stays. We can also pick you up and return you to Sydney if and when required.
What we give
We welcome work exchange guests and want to provide you with an enjoyable stay. We enjoy the cultural exchange and sharing of skills, knowledge and experiences. You will be treated as part of the family here and we will look after you well. We provide you with your own comfortable private room with ensuite and healthy, fulfilling food for all your meals. PSI is currently based at Country Retreat (an adjoining property) where we all stay. The facilities are excellent (4 star hotel grade standard) and include a swimming pool, pool table, movie room, extensive grounds and more. Free on-site zumba classes are also offered twice a week. There is WIFI and phone and an extensive library.
Finally, we highly recommend having access to a car if you wish to take day trips exploring the surrounds.
A 30min drive takes you to Wiseman's Ferry (Hawkesbury River) where water skiing, fishing, boating, camping facilities and more are available. Rivers surround the area and are good for swimming in, and spotting local wildlife. There are two famous pubs in St. Albans (Settlers Arms, Fickle Wombat) a 15 minute drive from us, which have live music and where locals jam with home made instruments. There are many walking, horse/mountainbike/motorbike tracks to explore, through 2 national parks and a world heritage site (Part of the Blue Mountains Heritage Area). For food/shopping needs there are carpooling options with locals.
The closest beach 1.5-2 hours away (Central Coast).
Please note there is no mobile reception, but we do have wireless internet and a landline. Please keep in mind this is a remote retreat that offers opportunity for peace and quiet.
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