Help us around our food forest while immersing yourself in creativity, local culture, and nature in the Massif Central, France

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  • Last activity: 28 Feb 2024



 Min stay requested: at least a week



  • Description


    In 2020 we bought a piece of land with a house full of overdue maintenance. Near the beautiful Gorges de la Sioule, overlooking the sleeping volcanoes of Le Massif Central. Instead of mowing the knee-high grass, we let the countless herbs grow and started planting edible shrubs, trees and plants. This is how the idea for our project was born: a research lab for foraging in the broadest sense of the word. We would like to share with workawayers the traditional rural life of the Auvergne we discovered while living here. And offer the possibility to interact with people who know the local wisdom of foraging and other endangered crafts.

    On our terrain we are developing a food forest, a kitchen garden and a perennial vegetable garden. Next to this, we started renovating a small wine farm near our house and are transforming the wooded terrain into a second food forest. It is our aim to make this place off grid, to enable experiencing a more sustainable and simple rural life. In the future we want to organize residencies here for artists and researchers, culinary explorations, tiny concerts and wild picking expeditions. Our plans are focused on inviting and attracting people who work collaboratively and community based. We are furthermore interested in creatives who work with food and nature. For this we can draw on a network of local and international artists and artisans that we have built up in the past years.
    We would love to invite workawayers to be part of our adventure and network, while helping around both houses with gardening, constructing, cooking and eating together.

    We are: Frederiek, a PhD candidate and (remote) theory teacher at an art academy in the Netherlands. With gardening as a hobby and a fascination for gastronomy, I discovered foraging as an activity and as a metaphor for research. And William, who owned an events company and produced marketing campaigns. We develop the project together with our son Antoine (9yrs), our little inventor.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Staying with us means being embedded in creativity, local culture, and nature. We can show you around to the rivers, spas, local markets, festivals, galleries, permaculture projects, the best hiking routes etc.

    We would love to collaboratively exchange and share various food cultures. In a lot of countries all over the world, foraging and the use of perennial or wild plants are common, like here in the Auvergne. While tending, planting, harvesting, foraging, cooking and above all eating together, we would like to share our knowledge around perennials and food with people who want to help us in and around the houses. We would also like to share other knowledge on art and diverse crafts while providing connections with local people, cultural initiatives, biological farmers, and a network of food forests.

    We transformed the barn of the future gite into a living room, studio and stage. This space, as well as the land are perfect to meet and relax, eat, create and make music together.

    We found an old shed with a traditional bread oven in it next to our future gite, which we will renovate. We look forward to using it with workawayers and then learning how to use it to bake bread and pizzas.

    It is possible to improve your English.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    The idea is that Workawayers who stay in the future gite, will have the place to themselves. We will work together on various tasks, but it is also possible to work on your own, at your own pace. We can hang out in the afternoon, evenings, and arrange tasklists for the following day.

    Projects we are looking for help with this summer include..

    Help with creating a food forest: preparing the land by removing brambles, clearing the forest from dead branches etc.
    Making an irrigation system
    Work in the greenhouse, kitchen garden and the perennial vegetable garden.
    Cutting and stacking firewood
    Feeding and caring for chickens

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent
    German: Intermediate
    French: Intermediate

    This host offers a language exchange
    Frederiek is lecturer and speaks English fluently. We both took French courses however we'd like to improve our French. Moreover we're curious to learn from other cultures and languages.

  • Accommodation


    A two bedroom gite with a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom, suitable for one person, a couple to a family. Also, there is a studio and workspace available. In the summer we have a tent available.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The surrounding area
    The short version: space, tranquility, rough nature.

    Here you have a view of the vast (wine) valleys of the Allier and the peaks of the Massif Central: the ski resort of Super-Besse and the volcanic mountain range around the Puy de Dôme to the distant foothills of the Alps.

    The biggest secret of central France: the Gorges de la Sioule. This gorge with spectacular rock formations is a must for sports enthusiasts and nature lovers and leads you via Château Rocher and the Romanesque bridge at Menat past Château Chouvigny and Viaduc de Rouzat. La Sioule is the cleanest river in France. Canoeing, swimming, hiking, paragliding: everything is possible. For those who dare: the Via Ferrata is a spectacular climbing course over the granite rocks of the gorge. Slightly less intense but very worthwhile is the climbing amusement park Accro Sioule at 10 minutes.

    Vibrant cities Vichy and Clermont-Ferrand (candidate EU Capital of Culture) can be found within an hour. For groceries and weekly markets, you can go to Bellenaves, Ébreuil, Gannat or St-Eloy-les-Mines. Charroux, visible from the gîte, is in the top 10 of the most beautiful French villages. Along the way you pass castles and a monumental viaduct by Gustave Eiffel.

  • 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

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have a good WIFI-connection and you can create a 4G-hotspot in the gite.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We have plenty of place for campervans with nice views on the hills and mountains.

  • 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: 661388336828

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