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Menton
All Year: on and off all year
Area (ha): 1.25 + 1.25 ha forest
Persons: 2 to 5
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 23433
Country: France

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Last Updated: June 17, 2019

Please do read the profile carefully.
We are looking for:
* 1 helper urgently from now until mid July, and 1 for the first half of July. 2 helpers needed in September.
*an experienced vegetable grower/market gardener for a stay of 1-3 months, to plan and prepare the next 2 seasons.
* Someone with practical experience in forest gardens and permaculture in warm temperate to sub-tropical climates would be useful to really get our project going.
*Other specialist skills we are looking for at the moment include fencing, repairing dry stone walls, building a new chicken house.

We prefer to take helpers who are available for longer stays and the minimum time helping here really is a full two weeks : 1 to 3 helpers in the vegetable garden, and to help with clearing the undergrowth in 1 ha of forest.

This is a working garden and we are often very busy, so to enjoy their stay here helpers need to be (or learn to be) really observant, good at listening and registering instructions about how to complete a task.
In all seasons we need help with the careful harvesting of vegetables, leaves and edible flowers for our restaurant clients + help with sowing, planting, watering, weeding and clearing areas which haven't been cultivated recently.
There are two people working in the garden apart from the helpxers.

A major ongoing project for 2019 is to create a long fruiting hedge and to establish our first permaculture 'plant communities' around existing trees (avocado and mango for example).

We run a certified organic market garden. We sell our produce direct, to local restaurants and through other systems like La Ruche qui Dit Oui (called the Food Assembly in English) and Pourdebon which are both internet platforms, and at the local markets in Menton and just over the frontier at Bordighera in Italy. In 2014 we were among the first 100 producers in the country selected by the College Culinaire de France as a Producteur Artisanal de Qualité. Market gardening is combined with an exotic fruit orchard and a botanic garden of New Zealand trees planted as small natural-style forests. We are moving towards permaculture and agroforestry, and already practise polyculture with lots of companion planting.
We have given a home to three hives for bees which come from the much colder climate of north-east France.
I am very happy to explain the techniques we use, to visit the New Zealand plantations with you, and to answer any questions about the garden. However you do need to ask the questions to get me started as I am aware that some people are much more interested than others.

Our year: This year we hope to have time to rebuild a 'fox-proof' chicken run (which will include the beehives).
Menton is virtually frost free and it is usually pleasant working outside even in the middle of winter. From end November through January/February we pick clementines, mandarins and avocados, and sell our winter crops. However after the very hard winter and snow we had last winter we have hardly any avocados this year. Each winter we also prepare new areas for planting using no-dig and raised bed techniques.
Until the end of October we sow, plant, weed, water, pick and deliver our crops (generally about 25 different crops are ready for harvest at one time).
Other work includes building new raised beds, taking in areas of the land which have not been cleaned and planted for some years, sowing green manure crops, repairing dry stone walls, building and strengthening fences (and finding new ways) to keep out the badger and the wild boar, creating compost and mulch, cutting firewood and clearing the undergrowth in the forest.
The garden is terraced on 32 levels and you need to be fit to work here. It is a beautiful site on the frontier with Italy, see photo which shows an empty-looking space in the centre with the forest above. This photo was taken in 1999 before I arrived to restore the land and start the garden.

In the garden we speak French, English, some Italian (if your priority is learning the French language this is really not the right place for you as the languages get mixed up!).
Accommodation is in the house, single or double room, bathroom, laundry. Occasionally helpxers need to share a room.
Wi-fi access is available for your own computer/phone. I do not lend my computer.
It is only 10 minutes walk down to the sea, and 20 minutes to the centre of town. There are buses and trains nearby to explore the Alpes Maritimes and Italy. And we can collect you on arrival at the nearest train or bus station.
Please note that:
• you are asked not to apply unless you like to do or share the cooking and do the dishes, can accept being part of a team, like working out of doors, have some real gardening experience and adequate health/travel insurance (or Carte Vitale for residents of France).
• from June to August inclusive we start work at 0600. In September at 0630. The rest of the year at 0730.
• the house and garden are no-smoking areas, but it is OK to smoke on the kitchen terrace as long as you leave no traces. There is an extreme risk of fire all summer.
• the whole property is a no-drugs area.
• the terrain is steep and there is open water in deep reservoirs. It is really not suitable for families with children.
• you need to provide your own mosquito and sun protection (although we supply anti-mosquito plugs in the bedrooms and candles for the terrace where we eat).
• you must have comprehensive travel insurance which covers your activity here as a volunteer.
•Tell us if you have a valid driving licence, have already been driving in Europe, and are willing to help with deliveries.

Your help is asked for about 25 hours a week, but it can be a bit more when we are really busy, or if there is a crisis. If you come here please be prepared to participate in and enjoy the life of the garden. Extra help can be compensated by time off, so please don't apply if you risk being one of the very few who say "I've done my hours" when we are desperately trying to get something finished ...

reviews (29)
Helper: Min yeok Too Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Malaysia Date: September 18, 2018
It was very wonderful that I'd spent 6 weeks at Jardin des Antipodes, Menton.... view complete review

Helper: Andres Clavier Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Canada Date: April 17, 2018
Stayed at Jardin des Antipodes and it was great!, the best thing about it is ... view complete review

Helper: Janet and Carlos Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: United States Date: November 17, 2017
We had a wonderful experience at Alexandra's place! The work was very interes... view complete review

Helper: Ella Marshall Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: United Kingdom Date: August 22, 2017
Alexandra's place is gorgeous, its a totally abundant site with species that ... view complete review

Helper: Erola Colon Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Spain Date: June 27, 2017
I spend 2 weeks here two years ago and it was absolutely a great experience! ... view complete review

Helper: Elizabeth Antipas Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Australia Date: June 22, 2017
I extended stay one week to stay 3 in total may 2017. This is a unique place ... view complete review

Helper: André and Rebekka Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Portugal Date: April 5, 2017
We spent two weeks here. Our main objective was to learn about organic and pe... view complete review

Helper: Sapphire and Damon Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: New Zealand Date: March 5, 2017
The time we spent with Alexandra at her property Jardin des Antipodes in Ment... view complete review

Helper: Amir Hotter-yishay Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Canada Date: January 12, 2017
Davi and I would highly recommend here to absolutely any prospective helpers ... view complete review

Helper: Eoin Madigan Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Ireland Date: October 1, 2016
If you're too lazy to read 5 paragraphs: This helpx will allow you to get... view complete review

Helper: Postoyalkova Yulia Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: France Date: September 3, 2016
I spent 2 weeks in Alexandra´s farm on August 2016. That was absolutly grea... view complete review

Helper: Rio and Alex Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: United Kingdom Date: June 9, 2016
We spent 4 weeks with Alexandra and had a very positive experience! The work... view complete review

Helper: Amy and James Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Australia Date: May 18, 2016
I stayed with Alexandra for three weeks and it was lovely. Menton is easy to ... view complete review

Helper: Miranda Webster Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: New Zealand Date: May 15, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed the two weeks I spent last summer working in Alexandra's... view complete review

Helper: Sylvie McCreanor Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: New Zealand Date: August 25, 2015
My cousin and I stayed for two weeks in Alexandra's home beneath the dramatic... view complete review

Helper: Paul and Venessa Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: United States Date: July 9, 2015
We had an incredible experience at Alexandra's house, a time we will never fo... view complete review

Helper: Paul and Venessa Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: United States Date: July 9, 2015
We had an incredible experience at Alexandra's house, a time we will never fo... view complete review

Helper: Ignacio and Alberto Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Spain Date: May 27, 2015
Sorry for the late review! We stayed last summer for about two weeks. It was ... view complete review

Helper: Anne Eijnwachter Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Netherlands Date: February 21, 2015
My first Helpx experience and it turned out to be wonderful! I stayed three w... view complete review

Helper: Natalia Solar Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Chile Date: February 12, 2015
I worked with Alexandra for 3 weeks. I felt compltely at home at day 2. Abou... view complete review

Helper: Julia Schmid Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Germany Date: October 31, 2014
I just come from Menton, where I spent two very nice and interesting weeks wi... view complete review

Helper: Tereza and Jan Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Czech Republic Date: September 12, 2014
We enjoyed the stay in Menton very much! Alexandra is a great and interesting... view complete review

Helper: Shelby Woods Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: United States Date: July 8, 2014
Hands down, the best part of HelpX'ing here was the location. Everything else... view complete review

Helper: Herve DISY Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: France Date: May 21, 2014
I spent a very pleasant stay at Menton and the gardener is original and beaut... view complete review

Helper: Mario San Martin Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Spain Date: March 3, 2014
I spent about 20 days in Menton and the experience was really good! Alexandra... view complete review

Helper: Gabrielle Johnson Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Australia Date: February 9, 2014
I spent 2 and a half weeks in January in the garden and had a great experienc... view complete review

Helper: Stephanie Noel Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: France Date: January 7, 2014
beautiful place, nice gardeners, private bedroom and own bathroom, good food.... view complete review

Helper: Natalia and Nicola Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Argentina Date: December 20, 2013
We've been 2 weeks working at the Jardin Des Antipodes. Alexandra was an exce... view complete review

Helper: Freya Berwick Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Australia Date: August 22, 2013
I spent a little over three weeks in Menton, during August, working in the ga... view complete review

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