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Arques
All Year: March-September
Area (ha): 10
Persons: 1 - 2 people usually
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 6212
Country: France

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Last Updated: June 4, 2017

Bonjour and Hello,

We are a family of 5 (plus a very friendly dog, 2 cats, 15 assorted hens and young cockerels!) with 3 boys (15,13,9) who moved from the UK to this amazing spot in the Aude in 2007. We live in a former bergerie situated amidst beautiful wooded hills 3km from the small village of Arques on the edge of the Corbieres hills.

We grow a lot of our own vegetables and herbs and some of our own fruit. We are experimenting with different natural cultivation techniques to find ones that work best here and working with a variety of mulching materials.
We have a small organic market garden the produce of which we sell locally in the village and to the local primary school. We also exchange produce with friends.
Much of our land is marginal and needs help to become capable of providing good healthy crops. After 9 years of growing here the improvements are showing themselves through some yummie-tasting veggies.
We have a polytunnel which in winter is full of salads while in the summer we have sweet and chilli peppers, cucumbers,aubergines etc.
Outside in the field we grow a mixture of veggies including potatoes,courgettes,onions, tomatoes,salads, beans,beetroot and carrots also some currants,raspberries and strawberries.

We have planted a small fruit and nut orchard (a long-awaited dream for us)and the seeing the trees blossom and begin to bear fruit and nuts is wonderful.

In the mixed woodland one of our projects(when we are not busy with vegetable growing) involves clearing small paths to create trails for our visitors(and ourselves!) to wander through and enjoy the peace and beauty of the forest and spring fed stream; We are gradually removing the plantation pine in order to encourage regeneration of the native broad-leaved trees.
We have many other ongoing projects including;improving our rainwater harvesting, storage and irrigation system; and building compost toilets. We would also like to plant more fruit and nut trees and to work on a design for our forest garden. During the spring and summer months however work in the vegetable gardens take priority. Be prepared to spend time weeding and to work early mornings or evenings weather depending.

We are looking for helpxers who will share in our enthusiasm for life and work here. Helpxers who are motivated, love the great outdoors and can enjoy working hard (some of our jobs are physically demanding).An interest in growing food sustainably and naturally is a must. You need to be prepared to work on your own at times and be happy to live as part of our family.

There is great walking in the area, and we can lend you bikes for exploring the extensive network of forest trails. There is a swimming lake about 3km away, as well as hot springs 20 mins drive away.

We ask for 5 hours work a day /5 days a week. In return we offer own room in house(with small en-suite) and shared meals which are vegetarian or vegan. (though we are not a vegan household) We all share the chores.We bake most of our own bread and meals are made from our own or local seasonal produce whenever possible.Inventive cooks welcome!

We are are quite isolated here, but we can collect you from Couiza (train station/bus stop) We usually suggest a 2 or 3 week stay ( happiness review after one week !) as this gives us long enough to achieve a good working routine.

Looking forward to meeting you...
Ivan and Klair

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