All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 4
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 18949
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Last Updated: June 21, 2019
Experiment with Self-Sufficiency on a Small Eco Farm in Brakel, Belgium.
~ ABOUT US ~
We're an educational non-profit that wants to inspire people to become less dependent on fossil fuels by taking life into their own hands. We do this with a number of ecological projects and by creating a place where we can share knowledge through workshops and activities.
- We bake sourdough bread in a wood-fired masonry oven for locals.
- From time to time we organise workshops about baking bread, working with clay, making and using natural paints, and building rocket stoves.
- And there are regular activities here, such as the quarterly Repair Cafť at which people help each other with repairs, and the monthly Pizzeria where locals meet, and enjoy delicious pizzas from our oven.
This is a place where you have the opportunity to try new things, experiment, and learn about living in a more simple, sustainable and self-sufficient way. Therefore you can learn a lot here, about all sorts of things: from what it takes to grow your own food to preserving the harvest, and from making natural paint with cheese to building rocket stoves. But it`s important that you yourself take initiatives to learn things. See it as a library, where you go to study; not a school, where you go to be taught.
Good English is required.
~ RESIDENTS ~
People and animals youíll find here: the owners, Ine and Dirk, and their two young daughters, Hazel (10) and Sienna (8); a fluctuating number of volunteers (a family with 2 young children aged 4 and 20 months is currently living and volunteering on the farm, for the winter); two dogs and two cats; a handful of chickens and sheep; and a somewhat "plump" horse. :D
~ HELP NEEDED ~
A big part of the general day to day work consists of gardening (planting, weeding, scything, harvesting, mulching and caring for plants), and other jobs that are part of this way of life, such as managing the firewood. During autumn/winter time the work mainly consists in forest work (collecting wood and chopping it, planting trees, ...),getting the garden ready for the Spring, spending time with the kids, digging a trench in the field and maintaining the place (cooking, compost toilets, ...).
Depending on your interests and when youíre here, there may also be the possibility to get involved with / learn about:
- animal care
- crafting and selling artisanal products (woodworking, wool-spinning, basketry, etc.)
- food conservation (making jams and chutneys, pickling, fermenting, drying)
- engaging the kids in activities on their level
- ecological construction methods
- building rocket stoves and mass heaters
- marketing and communication
- baking sourdough bread
- and plenty of other stuff!
~ ACCOMMODATION ~
The food on the farm is:
- seasonal (example: during summer the amount of fruit and veggies from the garden is abundant and we preserve things so that we can enjoy some summer treats in winter as well),
- local (example: no coffee, but plenty of herbs around for making tea),
- mostly vegetarian and low on milk products (but we have chickens for eggs).
We mostly have unprocessed products: we buy grains and legumes, and grow fruit, veggies and herbs. Itís up to volunteers to turn these into meals, bread spreads (jam, hummus, pesto, veggie p‚tť, etc.), and other tasty things like pickles or sauerkraut.
Typically, there is only one hot meal per day: dinner, in the evening. For breakfast and lunch we usually eat our own homemade bread.
There is no hot shower. There is a curtain in the kitchen to create a little private space where you can wash with a bucket of water. And thereís an outdoor shower with cold water.
Often only the kitchen is heated. The sleeping area is not. But we have plenty of blankets and warm water bottles for wintertime.
The wood-fired stove in the kitchen is heated once or twice per day for cooking and/or warmth. During this time it is possible to heat water for drinking and washing, which then can also be put into thermoses for later use.
When itís warm outside and the sun is shining the solar cooker can also be used to heat water.
You will more than likely have to share a room with other volunteers (depending on how many there are). Though, of course, you will have your own bed and some space for keeping your things. If more privacy is desired a curtain can probably we hung around your corner of the room. We also have a few tents for you to sleep in, when the weather allows it. (Bedding is available here.)
- We only invite non-smokers
- There is wifi and a simple laptop
- Compost toilets only
- The dogs lick our plates and cooking pots after meals. We still clean them ourselves afterwards in warm, soapy water, of course! But the dogs first remove greasy food remains and such. Itís an eco thing :P
- we ask volunteers to stay for a minimum of two weeks.
~ LOCATION ~
The Flemish Ardennes is one of the most beautiful regions in Flanders, with a hilly and often surprising landscape.
The place is easily reached with public transportation. A 10 min walk will take you to a bus stop, which will take you to a train station, which can take you directly to Brussels and Gent.