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All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 4.5
Persons: 1-3
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 5033
Region: Vancouver Island

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Last Updated: February 5, 2020

Dear Helpers,

We are a mixed certified organic farm operating since 2004 and producing mostly seed crops, Spring and Fall vegetable starts, soft fruit plants, and a variety of native plants.

We also grow garden produce for our household, but do not sell this. We now have 260 different seeds that we are growing, including a kale, 2 tomatoes and 35+ new potato varieties that we have bred and selected here - very exciting. We have even created 2 new apple varieties!

Our preference is for helpers who will stay a minimum of 4-6 weeks as it takes a lot of our time to train someone to work well with these seed crops in the greenhouses and gardens. The farm also has a nicer feel when folks stay for longer and we all get to know each other, as well as how to share our communal spaces. If you are a helper who has some farming experience, or who is passionate about working with plants, and you will apply the learning that you do here in your own future farming we'd love to hear from you! Training and seed education/experience for future farmers is a key part of why we host volunteers here, as this education can be hard or expensive for future farmers to find.

The farm is home to two children under the age of 16, so volunteers who are 'kid friendly' work best for us. In addition to the plant nursery and seed gardens, we also have egg chickens, and sometimes pigs, turkeys and ducks.

We are located in beautiful rural Metchosin, approximately 30 minutes from downtown Victoria by car and an hour by bus, and near extensive cycling trails and nice beaches, lakes and hikes. We provide bicycles (and helmets) for helper use and take our hosting responsibilities seriously so we'll help you plan what you may want to visit while staying with us, learning about growing seed plants and sometimes improving your English. :-)

Our helper accommodation is a camper or a motorhome, which are comfortable and quiet. Please note that these are private bedroom spaces only, and that we all share laundry, kitchen and bathroom facilities. The whole farm crew works from 8:30 AM-1:30 PM Monday - Friday, and helpers make their own meals except for the shared farm lunch on work days. On a personal level we are non-smokers who enjoy a mainly vegetarian diet and an active and healthy lifestyle.

Since we are a professional working farm with a seed business that we are developing, we do ask that our helpers work Monday-Friday. If helpers stay longer than 1 month with us then we can be flexible about the work days and hours.

At Metchosin Farm, we feel that the work we are doing stewarding seed varieties and breeding new food plants is very important. In North America for example, in the past 100 years we have lost 90% of our apple varieties, and 94% of our food seed varieties! I suspect that this statistic is quite similar throughout the Western world as the UNFAO estimates a 75% global loss of food seeds during this same time period. Sadly, with the expansion of 'green revolution' agriculture in southern countries this trend of genetic and cultural loss is increasing world wide. By coming and learning about seed saving and plant propagation with us, you can become part of the solution to this very significant issue. Seeds are the foundation of our entire global food chain - yet when was the last time you thought about this, and how many people do you know who can save seeds...? Taking this knowledge forward in your life does not mean that you have to be a commercial farmer - even a small back yard garden can produce a lot of food and you can propagate and share food plants almost anywhere that you are living.

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE CANNOT HOST ANYONE HERE AT THE FARM WHO IS A TOBACCO SMOKER, even if you smoke occasionally. Tobacco mosaic virus is a very serious (non-treatable) seed-borne disease that is very stable, can last 50 years (!) in the soil with no host, is common in commercially-grown tobacco products, and is not removed by washing with soap, including from clothing. As a seed farm, this is a disease that we very much want to avoid contracting, as it would possibly mean the end of our heirloom tomato seed production as well as growing potatoes (we are breeding new varieties), eggplant and peppers.

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