We have hosted hundreds of interns/WWOOFers over the years and worked with some truly outstanding folks.
We typically like to host a couple of people from late February thru early April, two or three April-July, three or four August-October, and one or two in November. In our ideal world, we have a couple of people who want to spend an entire season with us. Longer term stays like this have the most educational opportunities. We tend to get quite a lot of applications, and although experience is great we are mostly looking for people with good communication skills, a solid work ethic, and a genuine interest in our work. We put a lot of energy into our program, and want to find folks who want to respond in kind.
We are a community devoted to conservation, educational and social outreach-as such, your education will be vast and varied. In addition to a season of organic/biodynamic gardening education, you may also have the opportunity to study: natural building; food preservation (canning, drying, fermentation); conservation practices (riparian planting etc); wildcrafting and native plant ID; pruning; poultry care; permaculture design, layout, implementation; homesteading skills (landscaping, wood harvest, off grid water systems, etc); crafts (soapmaking, brewing and vinting, woodworking, sewing, any fiber related craft like spinning, dyeing, knitting, weaving, and more); herbalism; events management; seed saving/processing/packaging; CSA and produce marketing, and much more. You may have the opportunity to receive consensus and NVC training, and learn facilitation/mediation techniques if you wish. We also do a lot of fun things here-there are several large festivals/gatherings planned (music and educational) and plenty of social gatherings, events, parties, creek swimming, hiking, and more.
We are very near the North Cascades National Park as well as the Mount Baker National Park. The farm is about 45 minutes from Mount Vernon (nearest train station), an hour from Bellingham, and about 2 hours from Seattle or Vancouver BC. There is a local bus stop in walking distance, and many opportunities to catch a ride to the nearest train/Greyhound station for city adventures. We typically follow a 5 day on/two day off work schedule although that does vary with the weather and days off don’t usually occur on Sat/Sun. There are many opportunities locally for hiking and other adventures.
We are looking for a hard worker, who is able to hear and follow instructions with attention to detail. We want someone who is naturally productive in their work, and who is interested in learning more methods to be efficient in all endeavors. We would like someone who places a high value on communication and eschews drama. Above all, we want someone who is passionate about learning all that we have to offer, someone who truly wants to be here rather than someone who is passing the time because they have nowhere else to go or be. This person should be ready and interested in learning what we have to offer.
We are are located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Of our 105 acres, about 15 acres is “developed”. The remaining acreage is 2nd growth forest, or replant. We have a very lovely wood, with some of the largest trees in the area. The farm also consists of about 1/4 mile of creek frontage as well as acreage on the opposite side of the creek. The front 65 acres was once home to a blueberry farm, and we have nearly an acre of 90+ year old blueberry bushes (trees!).
We have a fruit orchard, a sauna, ducks, an old barn, a large organic garden, play area, and other outbuildings. We currently have over an acre in annual food production. We also have an 1/4th acre forest garden, and a large variety of perennial plants and fruit trees or shrubs scattered around the farm totaling over an acre. Additionally, we have a large commercial greenhouse and 1/2 acre of blueberries currently in production as u-pick and fresh market. There is another 1/2 acre blueberry field which is currently undergoing restoration. We are continuing to install perennial varieties in the forest garden and have plans for a raspberry orchard.
The farm has a variety of building projects currently underway. One of our members is a Master Builder who has experience in a wide range of construction techniques including post and beam, “green” building, timber frame, and more. You may find some of his work at www.robertgoforth.blogspot.com We are working on a barn addition which will serves as our community “multi-purpose room” and school house, finishing up on a new cabin project, remodeling the community house bathroom, and a variety of other projects in which WWOOFers may participate.
Additionally, we do quite a bit of food preservation (drying, canning, etc), homebrewing, wildcrafting (a wide variety of seasonal plants, berries, mushrooms), and other “rural” activities such as processing wool for spinning, soap making, and more.
Accommodations vary. We can always offer tent space or provide a tent but are also be able to offer other housing (cabin, room in community house, converted school bus, or trailer)-the last three are the most likely options for the 2015 season. WWOOFErs have access to their own pantry and cooking area, with several shared community meals each week.
In general we ask for 32 hours of labor per week. We have a wide range of work opportunities available and will try to match interest with activities when possible. We can offer transportation to and from the train or bus station for pick-up and drop-off. We can accommodate many dietary issues, as many of our members are vegan/gluten free. Our farm and community consists of 4 private households and a community house (which has private bedrooms upstairs). This is particularly helpful for visitors who might feel more comfortable using community space rather than sharing private living quarters. At the community house, there is a living room, kitchen, traditional bathtub/shower/composting toilet. Alternative options include sauna, solar camp shower, heating water for an outdoor tub, sponge baths, creek bathing. We also have a washer and dryer available, a sauna, a community office and themed library (homesteading, herbalism, gardening, permaculture, environmental studies, anarchism etc), and more.
One unique thing about our farm is that we focus on education rather than profit. We host WWOOFers not to help us earn a living but rather as an educational outreach program. We offer a small CSA for part of each season, the income of which provides about 50% of the WWOOF/Intern expense budget. During your stay, you are likely to work on a variety educational outreach programs including workshops, events, food bank gardens, and our seed distribution project.
We can book directly, but we typically book through sites such as WWOOF, HelpX, or Workaway. Please feel free to visit those sites to check out reviews of our program.