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Hay River
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 100
Persons: 6
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 35253
Region: Northwest Territories

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Last Updated: March 22, 2020

*update March 21, 2020: Due to COVID-19, The Northwest Territories government has closed the borders to the territory, with exceptions for NWT residents. If you're currently in the NWT already or you're a NWT resident wanting to volunteer, we'd love to have you! Otherwise we unfortunately have to wait until the travel ban is lifted to accept new volunteers.

We operate the only not-for-profit farm school in the Northwest Teprritories, which is also the largest farm in the area. We are a Savory Hub with the Savory Institute. Our mission is to develop regenerative agriculture in Canada's north to provide economic and food security for the many poor, remote communities. We currently have 6 staff members, 4 live on-site (2 are seasonal) and 2 live off site. We are enthusiastlic about our work and love to share our knowledge with others as well as learn from others. The work itself is always changing depending on the season as well as farm priorities so you will have to be flexible, adaptable and able to work on your own as well as with others. You are likely to see the Northern Lights, wildlife, and opportunities of exploring are endless as we are surrounded on all sides by uninhabited boreal forest!

We practice Holistic Management, Permaculture, Planned Rotational Grazing, No-Till Gardening (although we do till in some situations), forest-raised pigs, etc. Currently we produce a wide variety of vegetables (greenhouse, geodome and gardens) and raise a large variety of animals for meat and milk. This includes: goats, cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, a yak and two geese, approximately 150 animals. We also have working dogs to help with the livestock. We kill and process our animals on-site as needed, following humane slaughter practices. This means there will almost certainly be our own vegetables and meat for helpers to eat. Otherwise we will purchase groceries for volunteers at the local grocery store.

Volunteers stay in our yurts, campers, wall tents or lofts depending on the season and availability. *Please note that these are spread all around the farm and could require a 1-10 minute walk from the main area. (Bring your own headlamp or flashlight). Accommodations are usually private in the warmer months and always shared in the colder seasons. Accomodation are rustic, some have electricity and other do not. Bathrooms (compost toilet and outhouses),the shower and laundry are shared and located in a seperate building.

Our farm is located in the traditional territory of the Katlodeeche First Nation, thus there are amazing opportunities to participate in a variety of cultural activities and events. These may include handgames, beading (Thursday evenings), traditional skills such as hide tanning, a wide variety of arts including making moccasins and mukluks, moosehair tufting, fish scale art, basket weaving etc.

Our property is bordered by the beautiful Hay River (which provides excellent swimming during the summer and fishing year round). 20 minutes to the south is Alexandra Falls, a huge waterfall. 20 minutes to the north is the Great Slave Lake, which has beautiful sandy beaches. In the springtime and summer there is lots to wild harvest including mushrooms, juniper berries, poplar buds, spruce gum and berries. In the winter it is great fun to snowshoe, skate or cross country ski.

In your time off you can explore anywhere you want (remember that you will be surrounded by forest!), you can go to the nearby town which is 15 minutes away (Hay River) which has groceries, restaurants, a bar, and a farmers market, you can go to see the local sights, etc. *Please note that you will often work on the weekends and have your days off during the week. We prefer stay that are at least 3 weeks in length and often have long term volunteers.

The Northwest Territories is one of the least populated areas in the world larger than France, Germany, and the UK combined, but has a total population of only 40,000 people! This in itself makes staying in the Northwest Territories a unique experience.

Volunteers will be required to work 5 hours a day for 5 days a week and the main activities will be:- animal care- help with building small stuctures- clearing land and building trails- cultivating/expanding garden- help with classes or students- help preparing food and cleaning up-organizing and tidy.

We host on-site classes at the farm which are attended by locals as well as many students travelling from VERY remote communities. Most students are able to stay on-site in our yurts so time is spend in getting accomidations ready, preparing snacks and meals and ensuring out of town students are able to sightsee and enjoy their surroundings in their time off. We also provide childcare for students as needed.

The farm is buzzing with activity and we are happy to welcome volunteers to join us!!

Please visit our facebook page for more pictures and feel free to get in touch for more information.

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