All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 39
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 37426
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Last Updated: April 22, 2018
Do you want to help us start up our farm? We are a young couple Dan Halvard (33, from Norway) and Hanna (25, from England) and we need help with a wide range of things.
We live on our old farm in south Gudbrandsdalen, in the east of Norway, on a steep hillside with a wonderful view of the valley, all the way down to Lillehammer.
Our goal is to be self-sufficient, and for us that means producing as much of our own food and basic needs as possible, living simply, and working hard. We have chosen to run the farm without modern machinery like tractors, because we prefer peace and quiet, and contact with the land. We are both motivated by the urgency of finding sustainable ways of living on this planet, and living a healthy and fulfilling life. For us, this involves exploring the ways in which people used to live self-sufficiently and close to the land.
Dan Halvard is very interested in the pre-industrial Norwegian farming culture, and so wants to do as much farm work in the old Norwegian way as he can, in order to understand the old culture better and to keep the traditions alive.
Hanna is more concerned with finding a way of living that works with nature, rather than against it, and being responsible stewards of the land; thoughtful use of resources; care for the soil and biodiversity; creating rather than destroying.
We are looking for people who enjoy physical work, are interested in learning about self-sufficiency/ traditional farming/ food production/ organic farming/ low-impact living. Ideally we want people who can stay long term: several months or longer, but our minimum stay is three weeks. (3 weeks in the summer, 2 weeks in the winter)
Right now we have about 35 chickens (islandshøns and jærhøns); a working horse (Haukjon, fjording); two cows (Hornfagr and Auðhumbla, vestlandsk fjordfe), eight sheep (villsau) and a Norwegian Forest Cat called Gersemi and her two children Freki and Luna. Our farm isn't certified organic (because we dont sell food) but we farm organically,keeping in mind the health of the soil and the wider environment.
We grow our own grain, vegetables, eggs, meat and dairy.
Below is a general outline for what we will be working on at different times of the year:
All year: Taking care of the animals, fire wood making, dairy work
Nov- Apr: Making firewood, threshing grains (March: raising seedlings, preparing for spring)
Apr-May: Preparing garden; sowing and planting out seedlings; bringing out manure with the horse; preparing grain fields; sowing grains; fencing; preparing the hayfield.
June: gardening, harvesting and drying leaves for fodder, maintenance work
July: Hay work, gardening
August: Hay work, gardening, picking berries, and making jam, juice etc.
September: Harvesting grains, harvesting and preserving vegetables
October: Harvesting and preserving, butchering, clearing up for winter, renovation work around the farm
We also expect volunteers to help with the daily tasks like cooking and washing up. We try to share these jobs as equally as possible.
We cannot guarantee that you will get a variety of jobs when you are here. If you stay only for a month you will often have to do a lot of the same things. Generally, the longer you stay the more variation there will be.
We don't allow smoking on the farm. There are many reasons for this. Basically we see smoking as a destructive act, towards all life on this planet.
To work with us you have to have good English skills. Our experience with having people that speak poor English is that there are a lot of misunderstandings and a lot of extra time spent explaining things. It's also difficult to have good conversations and dicussions and just smalltalking all the time is not our thing. This is not the right farm to improve your English or Norwegian unless it's already on a good level on arrival.
We usually have several volunteers in the spring, summer and fall, and have only one or two in the winter.
This is a farm based on little machinery, most work is done by man and horsepower. We have chosen to do things in this way because we find life more enjoyable without unnessecary technology, and more satisfying to work with our own bodies, than rely on machines. This means that it's important that you are reasonably fit and are ready to work hard physically.
Since there are a lot of volunteers that don't read the host presentation, we would like you to write the word "Allfadr" in your private message/host request to us. In your request we want you to tell us about yourself and why you want to come to our farm.
We are very interested in handicrafts like tanning, spinning, weaving, sewing, dying (and other textile crafts) and woodworking and we’re always interested in sharing skills and knowledge. Unfortunately there is little time for handicrafts at the moment, because we are still starting up, and there are so many other things to do all the time.
We have two rooms you could stay in, one in the main house and one in the second house, both with wood burning stoves. If we have several volunteers, you may have to share a room. Our house is very old and has not been modernised so facilities may seem very basic to you! We have no fridge, no electric washing machine (only bike powered!), no shower (just a primitive one), no WC (just an outhouse/compost toilet). If you have to smell soapy/perfumy all the time this is not the place for you. Showering every day is not sustainable nor necessary in our opinion. We don't understand the modern culture where you have to camouflage your natural scent. We have plumbing, but we heat all our hot water on the wood stove. We live very simply, so you must be willing to do the same.
We have electricity in the main house, but not the second house.
We eat all our meals together with volunteers. As our goal is to be self-sufficient, we aim for most of our meals to be made from our own produce. We have porridge for breakfast, from our own grain, and for our evening meal it will often be a combination of vegetables and meat. We eat what the seasons give us, so in the summer there's always alot of salad and fresh veggies, in the autumn there's alot of everything, and in the winter we eat mainly grain, root vegetables and meat. We provide three meals a day, but not luxuries like tea, coffee and snacks. Unfortunately we cannot cater for special diets, since our diet is not really flexible. If you are vegetarian we can discuss it, depending on what time of year you want to come.
The bus connection is very limited here, so it’s difficult to get around: if you are looking for a base to explore the area, this probably isn't the best place for you.