Small market garden in beautiful inland valley of Mendocino County. With three and a half residences on the property, there are usually about seven people on the land at a time, with two or three primarily focused on ag production. Come help out with two and a half acres of mixed market production fruits and vegetables. We don't use any chemical fertilizers/pesticides/etc., but aren't certified organic with the USDA. We also raise pastured heritage-breed hogs, have a small orchard, and a lot of general land maintenance to help out with. Largest crops are amazing melons, pumpkins, winter squash, and brassicas, with all sorts of other stuff mixed in depending on the season.
While food production is a huge portion of the work currently being done on the farm, the farm operation is also very focused on issues of local food access/affordability in the surrounding area. We're five minutes from Russian River swimming holes in either direction, fifteen minutes from the much larger Eel River, an hour plus from Lake Pillsbury, and still only twenty minutes to the town of Ukiah or two hours from SF Bay Area.
Help with Eco project
Learn from years of trying to make farming viable on a small scale and even smaller budget. Potter Valley is an incredibly fertile valley with an amazing climate for ag production, particularly in regards to watermelons, muskmelons, cantaloupes, etc. The people of Potter are also an incredibly unique breed, annually playing host to the first rodeo of the western circuit, while also thoroughly rooted in the culture of back-to-the-lander "hippie-redneck" lifestyles that started transplanting here about forty years ago. Working on one of few remaining mixed production vegetable gardens in the valley, you will likely be exposed to a good mix of the community one way or another.
While the farm is far from dialed in and running at full capacity, every year seems to get a little smoother and production has finally picked up where we definitely need more hands in the field and energy for side projects to improve the land. While we don't subscribe to any particular style of farming, you can pick up tips on everything from crop rotation fundamentals, pros and cons of different irrigation systems, methods for season extension, tractor work/maintenance, orchard maintenance, building projects on a budget, the challenges of living semi-off grid, heritage-breed pork production, etc.
This host offers accommodation and payment.
Looking for twenty to twenty-five hours of work per person per week, with a split between work with fruit/veggies and hours spent on general land maintenance and improvement projects. Hours are flexible if you want to take day or weekend trips, with clear communication being the only requirement in regards to time on/off. Early-risers are appreciated but all inquiries welcome.
Much of the farm work changes with seasons but almost always includes the transplanting, watering, harvesting, weeding, etc. which you would expect on a small farm. We can compensate for all the veggie/ag work, but also expect some of the hours done each to be spent helping with general maintenance/improvement of the land in exchange for use of the facilities and pork, eggs, fruits and veggies from the farm.
Five years into veggie and pork production things are definitely still sorting themselves out so projects are always changing.
Most likely a tent until further notice.... There are two houses and one apartment that are occupied on the property and a separate area where the farm workers reside. Currently this includes a one room semi-glorified shack that the farm manager lives in and a converted 1958 Greyhound bus that is occupied by a workawayer who has lived on the farm off-and-on since last Summer. Either or both of these may open up, or, more likely, other rooms or sleeping decks may be constructed in hopes of continuously being able to comfortably house a few workawayers at a time. Until then any newcomers will be in a tent with access to a shower and bathroom in one of the houses on the property.
There is also a semi-finished shaded area with outdoor seating and a in-progress outdoor kitchen area with a offset pantry that is shared by those working on the farm. The kitchen includes a propane camp stove, a propane griddle, and space to prep and enjoy food. You will have access to all the veggies you want depending on the season, plenty of pork, and usually some array of meat/egg options that we trade for at the farmers market or with neighbors that produce one thing or another. Expect to make your own food but shared meals happen often depending on who is around and what our schedules are like.
Potter Valley is an incredible place, and it's no mistake this farm is located right along one of the valley's main arteries. Spring to Fall is probably when we need most help and it is most comfortable to live the semi-roughing it lifestyle that comes with trying to get a farm up and running in a nationwide environment where so many small farms have been driven out of business. If a small farm can make it anywhere, this close-knit community with deep agricultural roots definitely has great potential.
Without actually ever posting the farm on the workaway site, we have already had four workaway members come to the farm and stay anywhere from a month and a half to almost half a year or so. The difference having extra hands around makes has been incredible and we hope to pay it back by showing more workawayers why this place is so special to us.
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
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