***UPDATE: Now seeking helpers for 2020 season - April or May through September/October, one to three weeks is our average stay, longer stays are negotiable***
OUR HELPERS: We learn something about life from each of our helpers and we *love* that! While we often work side by side with our helpers, we prefer someone who is capable of working on their own or with minimal supervision, is self-motivated (someone who sees something needs done and jumps in and does it), and has a fair degree of independence.
OUR URBAN FARM: Located just a few hours West of Chicago in the heartland of the United States, ours is an organic, urban culinary herb and veg farm that is constantly changing and evolving. Much help is needed in creating vertical grow space and building new raised beds or repairing existing ones.
We grow organic herbs, edible blossoms, fruits, veg and greens. We sell to local upscale restaurants and provide food for our own table. We also enjoy foraging wild foods in season, such as mushrooms, herbs, berries, greens and medicinals. There is a microgreens grow station inside to keep the fresh food going in the off season.
NUMBER OF HELPERS: We can accommodate a single person or couple (no young children).
2020 WORK will consist of clearing and preparing beds for planting, transplanting seedlings, starting seed, hauling compost, caring for indoor microgreens, reinforcing current raised beds, converting traditional gardens into raised beds, weeding, mulching, assisting with restaurant deliveries and occasional markets, building natural plant supports, delivering donations to the local food pantry, assisting with foraging (hunting wild foods), herb and veg harvest & preservation, miscellaneous household and yard chores, and occasionally painting. We've a small flock of chickens and enjoy fresh eggs daily. We will forage as weather and time permit until the harvest slows sometime in October and after frost. Autumn work consists of final harvests & preserving food, preparing the gardens for winter, foraging, winterizing the home and growing spaces, painting and general day to day chores.
There is always plenty of time for play and exploration!
Please note that our schedule is varied and fluid depending on weather, our other work schedules, and what is growing or in season. If you wish to have a fixed schedule, please notify us upon arrival and we will do our best to accommodate.
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY - just a willingness to work & learn about our herb business and home & do it with a positive attitude. We appreciate our helpers to be self-motivated and 21 or older.
ABOUT US: We are a happily married couple who enjoy the outdoors, trout fishing, live music & theatre (we have a house full of musical instruments), good conversation, camping, foraging, and spontaneous adventures as well as a fair measure of quiet time. I'll be happy to take you hunting for mushrooms and other wild foods. Matt has studied tracking with Tom Brown and has an active interest in reading & is always learning new things. He also speaks French and a bit of Spanish and is great at helping with English language. I am a singer, songwriter, guitarist, artist and theatre director but can get a bit scattered. Matt works at a lovely restaurant and also works in the gardens/farm, I work at a fine dining restaurant a couple nights a week and direct plays here and there.
We both love travel & adventure and believe in living life to its fullest with a balance between play and hard work. We enjoy going to off-the-beaten-path places on the weekends for open mics and local music jam sessions, and love exploring new foods & small communities together - your always welcome to be part of these adventures! Weeknights are somewhat low key, so we do tend to keep things quiet in the main part of the house those nights.
We keep to ourselves at times, so you can have as much privacy as you need, but we also love meeting our helpers, hanging out around the fire and hearing their stories. We'll find a good balance. Happy to take you to some of our favorite places, walk the nature trails and more if you're interested.
THE HOUSE: is a big old box of a place built in 1905. We are still working on some renovation and there are several odds & ends that need to be finished or re-done if someone is handy with tools, painting, plaster, wiring, or things of that nature. It is nothing fancy but it is home...
HELPER LODGING: basic but comfortable private room in our home on the second story (our room is on the main floor)including cable television, one double bed with bedding, numerous books, ample storage/closet and shelf space, free wifi, simple radio with iPod docking station, a few toiletries provided if needed, window air conditioner for the hot months. Full bath across the hall (shared with us for bathing only, but we have our own toilet room downstairs).
WORK & MEALS: An average of 3-5 hours a day Monday thru Friday (determined by weather, host & helper) and occasional Saturday work, would be required in exchange for room and meals and adventures in the woods, maybe guitar lessons, language help, and garden know-how. For the most part, your evenings and weekends are free and we rarely do any work at all on Sunday. You'll be well-fed but still have access to food for snacking as I sometimes lose track of a real "schedule". You will be on your own for breakfast but the food will be provided so you can prepare what you like. Can cater to vegetarian diets, but would need help with food prep and special food items if you are vegan.
PETS: We prefer that you bring no pets with you. We would consider special circumstances, however.
TRANSPORTATION: We live close to public transportation, would be happy to show you the area or transport you. We have bicycles you are welcome to use and we can pick you up at the local airport (Cedar Rapids) or bus station. Cheapest bus from Chicago will be Megabus into Iowa City, IA where we will gladly pick you up.
****NO SMOKERS OR DRUG USE*** We have no problem with a drink now and then, but we ask that if you tend to party quite often or drink daily that you choose another host. Kimberli has asthma and cannot be around cigarette smoke.
We have had helpers from France, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, England and many places in the US. We are even blessed to have had several of our former helpers return to visit or stay with us and hope more decide to do so!