Our place is a bio-intensive micro vegetable farm that was started in 2009. Our vision is to create a productive and viable farm that regenerates soil and ecosystems, while developing a community hub for regenerative learning and sharing.
Kristine and Thorsten are the main farmers - Kristine is responsible for the production, Thorsten for projects around the farm. Our team includes three wonderful kids (a toddler, a pre-schooler and a 7-year-old) that help us with everything. We love cooking and eating - often a zero-mile farmers diet (whatever is there, lots of it!). We love bonfires, hiking, activities, and evenings at near-by Sauble Beach.
Thorsten and Kristine both enjoy the bridge between professional consultant work, teaching, community, and getting our hands dirty with really dirty work! Our property includes a small Aikido/Yoga dojo that we enjoyed together before our children made it impossible to sneak out together - Thorsten has taught small groups for several years. Before, Kristine & Thorsten had enjoyed years of dancing and started teaching Argentine Tango in Owen Sound - something that we had to give up when our kids were born :-P
We produce over 50 different vegetables on approx. 1.5 acres and have a little bit of livestock (sheep, chicken, dog & cat), with the respective tasks of making manure and practice grazing, entertain children and provide eggs, scare off animals and love children, and devour rodents around the house. We recently adopted no-till organic production practices to protect and regenerate our soil, which has quickly helped us to build resilience to weather variability. The property has around 20 acres of pasture and hay fields, and we also enjoy almost 80 acres of natural area with many trails. We sells locally as a CSA, to restaurants, and a local farmer cooperative that we were instrumental in founding.
For several years, our farm is also hosting group activities - farmer workshops, gardening courses, Aikido and tango lessons. We participate in C.R.A.F.T. farm education. For a few years, we have established a partnership with an outdoors education company who host summer day camps for children. This partnership was so successful that we are now starting a continuous, private "Farm & Forest school" that offers project-based and emergent education to children between four and 12 years of age. Furthermore, we host an online rental that has remained somewhat disconnected from our other activities - something we want to change!
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Help with Eco Projects
New to WorkAwayers, we hope for guests who enjoy co-living with our staff, our interns, and who enjoy a lifestyle that reconnects with our planet's rhythm.
Travellers can learn from both farmers about regenerative food systems, cutting-edge organic vegetable production practices (including some bad and the ugly ;-), ecological restoration of farmland, climate resilience, and community education. With the new forest & farm school, we are now focusing more on community spaces and let permaculture design principles lead us - a process that requires patience, and some procrastination and open-endedness. Your inclination will make a difference about where this place is going first.
Culturally, we are immigrants from Germany. We believe that regenerative living requires an enabling and coherent lifestyle based on skills, sharing, and focus. With three young kids and a farm, we follow a fairly strict daily schedule ourselves - we can only harvest what we plant & tend! We have much shorter work hours than most other farms I know of, and cultivate an efficient but relaxed work rhythm. This leaves us room for family, community, beach evenings, joined meals, other interests, and fun. Visitors value and learn from our focus, our parenting and farming approach!
The main reason for inviting WorkAwayers is that we are expanding and consolidating our community focus and infrastructure for children summer camps, farm dinners, and sweat lodges that happen on the back of the property. We have a longer list of projects and it depends on the skill and interest of our guests, on weather conditions and seasonal urgency, and on what projects are waiting to be finished because others started them. And if it is your inclination, you can do a project with our children. We gladly meet you with your interests, dreams, and skills.
None of the WorkAway tasks are involved in our commercial market garden activities. All WorkAway tasks are focused on community aspects of our farm, and our family. We have different types of tasks:
- AROUND THE HOUSE & CHILD CARE
There are many ongoing tasks: taking care of our poultry (our kids expanded the diversity during COVID), child care for our toddler, tending our house garden, minor repairs.
- BUILDING PROJECTS
This year, we still plan to build a Sauna, an outdoor bathroom for the trailer, and some more fencing repairs. Oh, and if the quails hatch that my son is incubating, we need another cage! Eventually, we will upgrade porch for an outdoor kitchen, paint a wall including a mural, build a screened gazebo in the back of the woods for meditation, contemplation and gathering. We have a pretty good workshop with tools!
- ECOLOGICAL MAINTENANCE & UPGRADES
We are always doing these - this includes maintaining field edges (machete, moving brushes), trail maintenance and new trails, removing invasive species, planting native plants, moving mulch, building bird houses and bat houses, and many more.
- AN EDUCATIONAL PERMACULTURE GARDEN
We are developing and implementing an educational permaculture garden. Our vision is that this garden can, in the future, be used to educate children of different age groups around nature awareness, gardening & food skills.
As farmers, our life is partly driven by what weather demands and allows. There are some seasonal tasks where we need all hands on deck. We take the liberty to shift people to other tasks based on our judgment. We cannot micro manage our visitors, so we expect a basic level of independence and maturity (e.g. knowing when to ask for help/advise, ability to clean up once task is finished).
Travellers, volunteers generally live in our walk-in basement of our house, which also has a separate entrance. It has three bedrooms, a bathroom, a basic kitchenette. Guests can also use our beautiful porch, BBQ, bonfire, and some bikes.
There are 3km of trails and a considerable amount of wildlife on the property. You may find yourself sharing a pathway with a skunk or porcupine, encounter snakes, frogs, turtles, deer, a black bear, sandhill cranes, and a Grey horned owl, with many birds coming and going. And there are regular bear tracks in our wood - so take along a friend or our dog Nelly!
Transportation to town or Sauble Beach is not easy and requires a car, or fairly dedicated biking (1 hour one way!). We can occasionally arrange trips, but if you expect to move a lot, please bring your car. Other volunteers have joined to rent a car over a weekend - and were very happy with that.
Food - We provide some food to volunteers (seasonal veggies from the garden, certified organic dry goods like beans, chick peas, flours, etc). The rest you will need to buy yourself. You can order online and we pick it up for you once a week, or you join us once a week for shopping. Generally, volunteers eat together, while we eat with our children only except for morning break (10:30-11am) and occasional BBQ dinners.
Our farm is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Ontario at the entrance to Bruce Peninsula, only 15 min drive from Ontario's longest beach ("Sauble beach"), close to the Bruce Trail, and less than an hour away from the Bruce Peninsula National Park ... just google this with Image Search and you will be quite impressed.
The main difficulty here is transportation. We recommend that travellers coordinate once they are here, eventually share a rural taxi or rental car, which is not cheap but affordable if shared. We can also pick up and drop off individuals from Owen Sound and help people at times to get around, within reason - with three young kids our time resources are limited.
We do know all other WorkAway hosts in this area (Cheers to Pat & Emma, Grant & Julie, and Megan!), plus a large pool of other farmers who always have something on the go. So get connected and we connect you on!
Couple final notes. We'd love if you are visiting us because you like the intentions we are putting out into the world and want to learn and develop with us. If you are simply looking for a place to hang out and play video, please look elsewhere. Lastly, we are a welcoming community that has created a space for all kinds of humans. Gay, straight, white, brown, trans, fluid, atheist, Euro, Asian, Indian, South American, African, spiritual, eccentric, somewhat boring - are all welcome here. If you identify as hard right politically, think everyone needs to convert to your religion, have racist beliefs, or are a proud Trump supporter, please find somewhere else to go (I hear Mars is nice).
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have a "fast Satellite internet" - with some limitations to streaming due to data plan limits. We have hosted a resident graphic designer already, and she was OK with the situation.
We have an area with an outhouse and outside water. We cannot handle waste water so you'd have to deal with that separately.
More than two
Maximum 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. Flexibility (e.g. work a full day, take another off)..