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Missoula
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 100
Persons: 20
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 28432
Region: Mountain

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Last Updated: July 14, 2017

Work exchange for LAND or PDC & other EDUCATION CREDITS!
The lab as we call it is actually two pieces of land: “base camp” which has a few buildings on it already, and “the laboratory,” which started as bare timber land.
Here at the lab we envision all kinds of “farmer laboratory” innovations and experiments taking place here, such as wofatis, willow feeders (compost toilets), hugelkultur, polyculture food systems integrated with holistic management-style animal systems, a different style of community, aquaculture, and earthworks for privacy, water retention and frost protection. The ultimate goal is the least toxins possible. Base camp and the lab will have differing levels of what and where plastics, paint or other toxins will be allowed.
The lab is surrounded by beautiful mountain views and expansive coniferous forests and nearly a thousand acres of federal Bureau of Land Management land. The lab is truly surrounded by beauty!
Base camp and the lab were just purchased in 2013. We are starting perennial food systems from seed as well as planting a lot of animal graze to help support the holistic animal systems that are planned for the future.

Innovations at the lab include being at the forefront of rocket mass heater technology development. We are also working on developing new environmentally friendly building techniques like multi-purpose skiddable structures as well as the wofati, which is an earth-bermed natural structure which uses little to no energy to heat or cool.
At the lab there is no tobacco, no marijuana, and no excessive drinking (alcohol is allowed, drunkenness is not). Currently, we also discourage people from bringing pets to wheaton labs.

Some things you may discover while volunteering with us;
-living in community with like-minded permies
-opportunities for shared meals
-learning skills from hands-on experience
-meeting some of the leading minds in permaculture and other related fields, such as Ernie and Erica Wisner, Thomas Elpel, and maybe even Willie Smits
-the opportunity to see if joining the ant village (renting land) or boots program to express your artistic vision in seed and soil would work for you.
private access to large patches of forest service land
maybe you will get to drive an electric vehicle, a 4wd electric vehicle, a tractor, an excavator, a big kenworth dump truck, a fire truck, learn to drive something towing a trailer … backwards … etc.
there is a very good chance that if you are here a while, you will experience

the merging of being a lumberjack and a gardener
building furniture from green wood
natural building techniques
working with cob
gardening
harvesting food and cooking
carve a wooden spoon
fermenting foods
sharpening tools
how to use a rocket mass heater
build hugelkultur
dry stack rocks
use and care of solar power

The bootcamp theme has come to Wheaton Labs and we are welcoming Help-X'ers to join our “Boots” program! Boots are volunteers who kick up some dirt and help keep the farm projects moving along in exchange for food staples, a place to sleep AND educational credits OR land! You have the opportunity to come to the labs, stay for varied lengths of time, and see what permaculture and homesteading are like first hand. In keeping with bootcamps the world over, this is not a spa visit, or a relaxing retreat. There are other programs at the Lab for that. This is serious work stuff. Please read the entire description before writing us with questions.

The bootcamp at Wheaton Labs has many layers, and many outcomes. You can come for a couple of weeks, to just dip your toes in and see what it’s all about, gather some experiences, and work your butt partly off. Or you can come for longer periods, get more experiences, perhaps a course, and work your butt completely off.

Minimum volunteer commitment is two weeks. Volunteers who are only interested in food & lodging are expected to work 4-5 hours per day 5 days per week. Volunteers intending to work-trade for education credits or land will be expected to put in 8 hours of work a day 5 days per week. Work-trade hours for education credits varies according to the length and cost of each workshop/course and all commitment hours must be completed before the course start date to recieve the education credit.
And then there is the opportunity to put in some serious time, some seriously hard work, and end up with your own little slice of paradise: the Boots to Roots, deep roots program. This is a win-win situation: Paul needs help at his place, and you want to learn, experience, and eventually have a place to call homestead. You work hard, you get land. Brilliant.
Boots often
Build for future boots:

– more food systems
– more bunks
– more beauty
– more fun things

Build basic skills:

– using a variety of rocket mass heaters
– harvesting wood for building, burning, hugelkultur, mulch, etc.
– building furniture and structures from roundwood
– building fences
– building with cob
– earthworks, ponds, hugelkultur
– permaculture gardening
– cooking
– cooking with wood fired stuff
– wildcrafting
– solving homesteading issues
– scything
Volunteers will be working as a closely supervised/guided group. Work may include gardening, building junk pole fencing, felling and peeling logs for use in round wood timber framing, using chainsaws and/or the tractor to clear new roadways, carpentry, building with cob/strawbales, or other tasks depending on need.
In the bootcamp, basic food staples are provided, along with a bunk or place to pitch a tent. 8 hours of work is expected 5 days a week. For all this hard work, there is a payout after 21 months of one acre with prepaid lifetime rent. If you are interested check out this link for more info–
https://permies.com/t/59706/permaculture-bootcamp-boots-roots

EDUCATION
Every year we host a permaculture design course. This year’s PDC will be Sunday, May 28th through Saturday June 10th, 2017. It will have a strong focus on homesteading, and students will come away with a better understanding the design part of the process.
If you are interested in work-trading for next years PDC or ATC course, we ask seven weeks of volunteering to take just one course (PDC or ATC) and eleven weeks to take both courses. 1 week counts at 8hours/day 5days/week.
All work trade hours (336 for one, 528 for both) must be completed before the courses begins.

Type of accommodation
Camping/tent platforms
Communal house with kitchen, bathroom and laundry (1x per week) facilities available.
Outdoor wood heated showers available in the warmer months!
Accommodations vary depending on current gappers and residents – please ask. In the summer there is always camping and in the winter we have a few other options.
Basic food staples are provided and Help-X'ers are to cook and clean up as a group.

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